Interviews with Alumnae: Gerisha Nadaraju

3 minute read

I currently work as a Product Operations Lead at TrueLayer (an open banking fintech startup) in London. TrueLayer was my first job post Oxford MBA and I joined the company more than two years ago as a Business Operations Analyst, when there were only 10 other employees. 

We’ve now grown to about 150 people and I’ve been able to experience first-hand what it’s like to scale rapidly! I’ve also been able to carve out my own career path within the business and am now building out a new function to support the global expansion of our products!

My background prior to the MBA was in accounting and investment finance at large corporates in South Africa. During the MBA, however, I focused on social impact and entrepreneurship as these were the two areas I was most passionate about (and the reason why I chose Saïd Business School!)

Two things during the MBA piqued my interest in fintech: 

  1. the GOTO (Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford) project topic, ‘The future of work’ 
  2. attending the very first fintech elective in London. 

Both of these opportunities opened my eyes to the innovation and impact possible in this space.

The reality is that making the jump from an experienced investment professional in South Africa to the first ops hire at a tech startup in London wasn’t easy…but it was possible! And the MBA definitely played its part in helping me get there.

Here are some tips for you (that helped me):

  • Do something that shows you’re passionate about the new industry/position you want to get into (e.g. internships, blogging, online courses, a side project etc). Merely saying you’re interested in changing career paths with a CV that’s impressive, but irrelevant, will not help. Even a month of something in the right direction is better than nothing.
  • Leverage the School alumni network –  I didn’t think I was a typical ‘networking’ type of person during the MBA, much preferring longer one-on-one conversations with people I felt a genuine connection to. When I was in job-searching mode, however, I reached out to Oxford Saïd alumni over LinkedIn whom I had met briefly or heard by participating in activities like MIINT and TedxOxford. It was amazing how responsive and helpful people were.
  • Be flexible and open to an opportunity that’s different from what you imagined. I hadn’t worked in or heard of ‘Biz Ops’ before landing my role. And what I ended up doing when I first joined was a bit of everything and anything: from finance to sales to marketing to strategy. I think this is where the generalist nature of an MBA can really be useful. I had also been narrowly focusing on well-known B2C fintech players, not realising how exciting B2B players who provide the infrastructure layer for the industry could be.

Good luck and feel free to ‘leverage the network’ and get in touch if you have any questions! I do get a lot of messages in my LinkedIn inbox but try my best to respond to all of them, knowing what it’s like being on the other side.