As a former psychology graduate who started her career in international institutions and later transitioned into the field of business consulting, I realized I needed to broaden my business skills beyond what I had acquired in my consulting projects. I recognized that to work at the intersection of sustainable policy and business, I needed to have a more comprehensive understanding of how businesses operate and how sustainability can make it to the corporate boardroom. Additionally, I felt that taking a year off to pursue further education and personal growth, to meet new people and expand my horizons was the right step for me at this point in my journey.
My journey towards pursuing an MBA began two years ago while I was working in Hong Kong. About a year later, I embarked on the GMAT preparation journey. In my search for the right business school, I aimed to find an institution that not only excelled in business education but also prioritized social values as a core part of its curriculum, going beyond mere marketing and PR. This vision became particularly clear after engaging in conversations with the admissions teams of several schools and attending their open days. I highly recommend all prospective candidates to attend these open days as they provide valuable insights into the essence and culture of the school. Additionally, interviews, although often nerve-wracking, should serve as a crucial opportunity to assess if the school is the right fit for you.
As for the selection process, my interview took place in February and shortly after, I received the acceptance email from the School. A few months later, I was thrilled to learn that I had been awarded the prestigious Laidlaw Scholarship. I distinctly remember feeling both honoured and overjoyed to be accepted into a world-renowned university and MBA program with a scholarship. As someone who opted to accept her offer only after the scholarship results were in, I had a three-month window to prepare my professional and personal life. One of the challenges during this period was navigating the Oxford housing market, which can be quite stress-inducing. However, I managed to find a suitable residence that was not only convenient but also close to the business school.
I started the programme in September and now, two months in, I can say that what fascinates me most about Oxford is its extraordinary intellectual ecosystem, one that transcends the boundaries of the Business School. Oxford seamlessly allows you to transition from a morning accounting class to a stimulating debate on climate change economics led by Dieter Helm, and then engage in a conversation with an artist at the King's Arms pub. This vibrant and diverse environment deeply resonates with me, especially given my background at the intersection of business and policy.
However, navigating the diverse array of events can be challenging, particularly when you must manage both academic and career pursuits. However, I am optimistic that I will soon discover the right balance.
In terms of my colleagues, I can say that the selection process has been exceptional and every person is someone you're eager to get to know better. The atmosphere within the cohort is incredibly welcoming, making it easy to find your place, regardless of your background. Whether it is Scottish dancing or Krav Maga, you'll always find someone engaging in activities that pique your interest.
Finally, I hope that, wherever you are in your MBA journey, you'll take the time to reflect on your priorities and goals and consider what is right for you. The pre-MBA experience offers a unique opportunity to ponder what you want to achieve in your life, the impact you wish to leave on your community and the world. Embrace this moment to its fullest and enjoy the entire process, from the application questions to the interviews and let it be a meaningful part of your personal and professional growth.