Stepping outside of my comfort zone allowed me to seize unexpected opportunities

4 minute read

Tell us a little about your career background?

Before MBA, I spent over six years in a global financial institution in Vancouver Canada in corporate banking. Currently, I am a Credit Manager at Apple in London.

Why was an Oxford MBA important to help you understand a global view of business where markets, trade and work are transforming at a rapid rate?

Throughout my MBA journey, I had the privilege of being surrounded by exceptional classmates and having access to top professors within the Oxford community. This enriching environment provided me with the opportunity to broaden my perspectives, enhance my soft skills and technical skills, and cultivate a valuable professional network. 

Interacting with such a diverse and accomplished cohort allowed me to develop a broader view of global business - which has been a critical component to my post-MBA role covering emerging markets.

Turning to your personal career journey, did you know where you wanted to head in your career before your MBA?

At the beginning of the MBA, I did not have a clear vision of what my career transition would entail. However, I was certain about my desire to shift industries, leveraging the skills I had cultivated in banking. Additionally, I sought a change in geography, aiming for exposure to Europe or emerging markets. 

To navigate this transition, I engaged in numerous conversations with classmates and industry professionals, seeking guidance on leveraging my skills and pivoting into a new field. I reached out to individuals who had successfully made similar transitions, learning from their experiences and challenges. Moreover, I dedicated time to expanding my technical skill set and familiarizing myself with new industries, laying the groundwork for a successful career transition.

How did the resources and opportunities of an Oxford Saïd education and career development assist you? 

I proactively engaged with career management early on, seeking guidance and support to navigate my career path. I also collaborated with finance industry experts, particularly for certain case preparation, and sharpened my skills and provided valuable insights. The career management team proved invaluable in addressing challenges I encountered along the way, offering personalized assistance and resources. Moreover, their support was instrumental during negotiations for job offers, ensuring favorable outcomes and opportunities for advancement.

The support from my classmates was truly remarkable, especially during pivotal moments like my interview rounds with Apple. A fellow classmate, who had prior experience working at the company, generously offered their guidance and insights throughout the process. Their valuable advice proved to be invaluable, providing me with a deeper understanding of what to expect and how to best position myself. It was truly incredible to have such a high level of support from within the Oxford community.   

Now you have taken your next career step, what recommendation would you give to incoming students embarking on their MBA programme? 

Be flexible  

Being flexible and open to unexpected opportunities has been a guiding principle throughout my career journey. While I never envisioned myself working for a leading tech company, I embraced the chance to combine my foundational skills with industry knowledge in a role that exceeded my initial expectations. Stepping outside of my comfort zone allowed me to seize unexpected opportunities and gain insight into the diverse array of possibilities available, particularly evident after exploring the evolving landscape of both finance and the tech industry.

Leverage your network  

Leveraging my network has been essential in navigating these transitions and exploring new avenues. Attending networking events and actively connecting with individuals has allowed me to expand my professional circle, while utilizing online platforms has facilitated valuable connections with alumni and industry professionals. Maintaining these relationships by expressing gratitude and keeping in touch has further enriched my network and opened doors to new opportunities.

Tailor your own experience  

Furthermore, tailoring my MBA experience to create a diverse skill set has been crucial in shaping my career trajectory. Recognizing the immersive nature of the MBA program, I strategically focused on activities and courses aligned with my goals, despite the absence of a clearly defined plan at the time. This involved continuing to prioritize finance while seeking additional exposure to the tech industry through initiatives such as joining the Seed Fund, competing in case competitions, and taking Fintech electives. 

By embracing these opportunities, I have been able to continually refine my skill set and position myself for success.

Oxford MBA