As a recent recipient of the Laidlaw Scholarship for the MBA program at Saïd Business School, I am eager to share my journey, particularly with women who, like me, come from diverse backgrounds. Initially, working for many years in a non-profit on a very specific cause made me feel like an outlier in the business school environment. However, learning more about the Laidlaw community and its scholars, I realized that despite our different backgrounds, there are common threads that unite us.
This blog is for anyone considering applying to the Laidlaw Scholarship, especially those from unique backgrounds - here's some inspiration for you to find connections with your own journey.
Pushing boundaries and taking risks
Whether it's launching your own enterprise, changing career paths, or stepping out of your comfort zone - the stories of scholars are diverse and inspiring. I shifted from a corporate consulting career to a lower-paying, non-profit role, which brought me closer to the work I wanted to do, though it required making tough choices. It's important to ask yourself: what risks have you taken to make your voice heard and to carve your unique path?
Demonstrating conviction and resilience
Next, it’s about demonstrating commitment to your cause. Scholars' stories include overcoming financial hurdles and societal expectations to forge ahead in their careers, and to make way into the prestigious MBA program at Oxford. I would ask you to reflect on your own journey of resilience and having your back especially when the system doesn’t work in your favour. Your journey to this point is a testament to your strength.
Building and seeking women leaders
The Laidlaw sisters, past, present, and the ones to come, show an unwavering commitment to building each other up as leaders. This community energizes and inspires me not to take my place at the table for granted, but to make room for more women. As you apply for the scholarship, consider the role of women as leaders in your life. Reflect on how you created opportunities for other women, the strong female figures who inspired you, or how you incorporated a gender perspective in your professional and personal life.
In my experience, these aspects have been visible in various forms among my fellow scholars. To the incoming cohort of women at Saïd Business School, I am excited to learn about your unique journeys, the risks you've taken, your resilience, and how you each embody leadership in your own way.