Dish of the day here at Oxford

4 minute read

If the Oxford MBA were a meal, there is no doubt that Hilary term would be the main course. Hilary finds itself wedged between the entrée, that is the core course content covered in Michaelmas term, and the sweet indulgence of Trinity term, which consists entirely of electives. Often called ‘Hellary’ - you would be forgiven for thinking that what’s served is a main dish as oppressively grey as the sky. I spiced up the term with the condiments of co-curricular programs!

The salt and pepper to my Hilary term were Impact Lab and Map the System, hosted by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

Impact Lab

During Impact Lab I met different-minded, same-hearted socially conscious people and grappled with some of the challenges of our entangled world. We learnt how to weave a story from the director, curator and speaker coach of TEDxLondon, Maryam Pasha. We explored the underbelly of impact work on the African continent with renowned impact investor, Gayle Peterson and celebrated our growth as individuals and a community with dinner with the dinosaurs at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Through Impact Lab, I realised that solutions to complex problems lie at the intersections of our communal knowledge.


Map the System competition

This is a global competition in which teams use the tools of systems thinking to better understand a wicked global problem. I teamed up with two of my MBA class mates; Natnael Abraham, a talented Eritrean pharmacist and global health practitioner and Vicki Powel, a driven healthtech hardware engineer. Together we collaborated with the Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam to explore antimicrobial resistance in agriculture which is understudied in the country.

This project allowed us to explore antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistence in Vietnamese agriculture and to highlight what is holding these systems in place and expose what is required to facilitate a just transition to a world that prioritises ‘One Health’. Being able to work on a project that went well beyond the borders of the classroom and may have consequences on health research and policy was a fantastic opportunity. Unexpectedly and excitingly, we got the opportunity to present at the Oxford finals, where we placed third.

MIINT (Impact Investing Network & Training)

Perhaps the chilli flakes of my Hilary experience was MIINT. The Turner MIINT is an impact investing competition hosted by Bridges Impact Fund and Wharton Business School. This is an experiential impact investing course which allows teams from various business schools across the globe to simulate the process of sourcing and performing diligence on an impact investment. I had a fire team from the Global South with a broad range of talents and impact investing experience - Abhinav Verma (LLB, MPH), Sneha Kogta (CA), Twinkle Malhan and Aditi Agarwal.

After a second-place finish in the Oxford final, and three of five team mates unable to get USA visas in time, we won a 50 000 USD investment for Sunfox, an India-based medical technology company revolutionising cardiac care through a low cost, high accuracy portable electrocardiogram (ECG) device - Spandan. In July 2022, Sunfox collaborated with the government to set up a screening camp at Kedarnath, India’s more strenuous religious pilgrimage, where in the first half of the year, 100 people died of a heart attack on the trek. Using only three Spandan ECGs for screening, the next half of the year saw only three deaths, a whopping decline. The company are even planning to send Spandan to space to assist with cardiac monitoring on the International Space Station!

Across the MIINT journey my skill and confidence in performing impact measurement has grown and I have met some incredible teams working in the health start-up space that have reaffirmed my optimism for improved health outcomes and addressing health inequities.

The main course of Hilary is over. I have worked with some of the most exceptional teams, a special shout out to my Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford (GOTO) team; attended lectures that felt like TED talks session after session (Innovation Strategy); and read a book by a classmate that humbled and motivated me (Warren Handley’s Walk with Us). Like any good main, I wasn’t sure I’d have space for dessert afterward but, alas, here we are starting Trinity and I’m hungry for more!

Oxford MBA