Top three pieces of advice for incoming MBA students

3 minute read

And just like that, the Oxford MBA class of 2022 is over halfway through the Hilary term.

This has been a life-changing year and, given the recent milestone, here follows some reflections on my journey to date.

The MBA class is vibrantly diverse and I am no exception. Growing up in a small Cumbrian village, north of the Lake District, my life was quite different. Many of my weekends were spent on a dairy farm, starting the day in the milking parlour before 5am.

Having completed my Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, combined with a year at Shell where I worked onshore and offshore in the North Sea, I made the decision to move to London to join global construction firm Multiplex, on their graduate programme. During my time there, I worked on the delivery of high-profile projects, including 22 Bishopsgate. But I had a growing desire to develop strong commercial acumen alongside my technical skills and experience. I felt it was the right time to pursue an MBA.

I kicked the year off by proposing to my now fiancée at the end of an exhilarating MBA launch, taking everyone – friends, family, and new classmates – by surprise. Right from the start, Oxford has been a whirlwind of remarkable experiences. A highlight has been the Asset Management Masterclass, an extracurricular course held at the School over an eight-week period. In each session, we were joined by industry practitioners from the buy-side and the sell-side with whom we were able to engage directly – asking the toughest questions. We were always provided with measured and astute answers. In our last session, the class was joined by leadership from Lone Pine, NEST, Oppenheimer & Co, and Industry Minds Research, where much of the discussion centred around shifting market dynamics.

As Co-Chair of the Real Estate Club, I take a leading role in organising guest speakers from industry, who shed expert insight and wisdom from their years of experience. Alongside my studies, club activities, extracurriculars and numerous college dinners, I am undertaking a term-time internship at Gresham House. As part of the sustainable infrastructure investment team, I am applying knowledge gained on the MBA alongside experience in industry: a prime example of the Oxford MBA’s ability to equip candidates with the tools to transition and accelerate their careers.

No matter how busy the weeks get, I find the time for coffee with my fellow classmates, whose diversity brings a wealth of invaluable perspectives from around the world in conversations that often focus on innovation, politics, economics and creating positive impact. The openness and collegiality of the class is a key strength of the MBA programme here at Oxford. I also keep a little time free for tennis; the coaching at the University sports centre is fantastic and adds yet another opportunity to meet Oxford students outside the School.

Looking back, I thought I would share my top three pieces of advice for incoming MBA candidates:

  1. View time as your most important resource – think hard about what you want to walk away with and prioritise accordingly (you can’t do everything!)
  2. Find the right mentor to provide the insight, advice and support necessary to achieve your goals.
  3. Make the most of any events to meet and get to know your classmates – you never what you might learn!

Looking ahead, I am excited to continue on with Hilary term as I start new modules in Business Finance Plus, Capitalism in Debate and kickstart the Entrepreneurial Project in recently formed teams. Trinity term will follow, which I am equally eager about; this is when I will start my chosen electives in Negotiations, Private Equity and Real Estate and Real Assets to name a few. I also hope to start rowing for my college next term, if time allows!