I have always been someone for whom pushing the boundaries of personal growth has been of utmost importance. Coming from a conservative family where my mother or women before her couldn’t go to college or have careers, I’m the first girl in my family to go to a top university abroad for higher education on scholarships. Growing up, I was often made to feel inferior to boys and this has made me passionate about gender equity. Even today, only about 21% of women in India contribute to the GDP (a number way lower than the US or China), this is something that I aim to change.
Professionally, I’ve consulted the top executives of Fortune 100 pharma companies on multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns across their US, Canada and EU markets. I am a poet, public speaker, runner, and mentor passionate about building greater gender equity through not just social impact projects but everyday corporate business decisions.
All of the above context has made me seek out an MBA with a focus on how to bring effective social impact. Given Oxford’s centuries-long legacy in social impact, it gave me the best opportunity for studying with not just fellow MBAs but historians, scientists, literature experts and a wide range of scholars from around the world making an impact on some of the biggest problems in our lives today. I have met amazing classmates already: a garbage recycling entrepreneur, a worldwide gender equity company founder, WHO/UN diplomats, somebody who represented their country in Olympics, and many more interesting folks including top strategists/ consultants/ bankers/ engineers from around the world!
I have been having conversations that have started widening my horizons even before I come to Oxford. A recent conversation that really surprised me was when a senior alum told me that the amount of work we did in two months at ZS (the consulting company where I worked) is difficult to do at a certain global public institution even in two years due to bureaucracy. This made me especially proud of the diplomats and social impact professionals who are still giving their best and making an impact by dedicatedly navigating through tough as nails bureaucracy.
I have always wanted to study at a greatly diverse program and the Oxford MBA gives me just that with classmates from 70+ countries who have had immensely different experiences from mine. All of this amidst the setting of a mixed British and European work-life culture that I had the opportunity of experiencing closely through European clients and teammates. This work-life culture I’ve found to be more balanced and different from the Indian and American work-hustle culture, something that I want to explore further within my field of consulting. My consulting company is partially sponsoring my MBA so I am planning to be back there in the London office with a focus on social impact this time around within spaces like healthcare and patient experience journey.
Apart from this, I have practically grown up on two things that have shaped me. The first is reading fantasy novels set in quaint places like Harry Potter or Narnia shaped me into a reader, writer and poet. The college that I am in: Exeter College has had alums like JRR Tolkien who started writing Lord of the Rings while at Oxford and CS Lewis of Narnia fame whose characters like Mr. Tumnus, Aslan and others are actually inspired from small old building statues around the college! In fact the college library still has a manuscript of JRR Tolkien where he wrote Lord of the rings, so hoping some of that magic rubs onto me and I am able to fulfil my lifelong dream of writing a book!
The second is watching Oxford Union debates that gave me one of my first gateway into the world of social issues and built myself as a public speaker. So I am really excited about finally being a member of the Oxford Union, watching these debates in person and participating in them!
My advice for those who are looking to apply?
Where do I even start, there are so many tips! One thing that I cannot stress enough is on telling your own authentic story, because there could be at least 5-6 other candidates who would look exactly the same as you on paper but only when you can convey your own story, can you really set yourself apart. Apart from this, really look into the scholarships and sponsorships that are available, it would have been unthinkable for me to even take up an MBA so soon in my career if not for these. And please feel free to reach out to me on Linkedin if you are an MBA aspirant.