Once in a lifetime opportunity

4 minute read

My name is Rebecca Keeley, I’m an Australian speech pathologist and rural health advocate and now, MBA candidate at Oxford 2022-23. For my undergraduate degree I completed a Bachelor of Speech Pathology, and since graduation have been working in a mixture of clinical and management positions in healthcare in Australia. I am incredibly passionate about allied health service provision, particularly in rural, remote or isolated regions of the world.


I started considering MBA courses and options 18 months ago in the height of the Australian covid lockdowns. Being a part of the frontline clinical response heightened the importance of strong leadership in difficult times, and was a significant factor in my decision to take the leap into postgraduate study. After considering courses worldwide, including domestically in Australia, it became clear to me the Oxford MBA’s focus on impact and the co-curricular options best complimented my future goals in the allied health sector. And selfishly I was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to live in such a culturally and architecturally rich location.

I knew that moving was going to be a big endeavour, and that the logistics of moving from one country to another for an extended period would come with its own unique set of challenges. Some I hoped to overcome prior to arriving in Oxford, but some will have to be learnt on the ground once I have disembarked from this 17 hour flight from Australia that I am currently on.

Some of the things I considered challenging in the leadup to the move included:

  • Juggling full time work in healthcare in a covid world, coordinating an international move and completing the pre-MBA work at the same time. My time management and caffeine levels are at an all-time high. 
  • The time zone differences between Australia and the UK! Many introduction or welcome sessions were held at 2 am Australia time which is not anyone’s best hour… Thankfully many things could be recorded and watched at a more reasonable time, and the faculty are very understanding of the difficulties for the Oceania cohort dialling in prior to relocating.
  • Deciding what to pack for a country you have never visited before. I was warned several times to ‘pack warm’ but I am still unsure how I will go with the cold having grown up in Darwin Australia where the daily maximum temperature every day of the year is a delightful 32 degrees celcius.

What I am most excited for in the year to come:

  • Having the opportunity to learn and meet people from all over the world, with significantly different professional and personal stories to mine. I truly relish the opportunities to listen to others experiences, and cannot wait to make life long friends.
  • I am looking forward to being pushed well out of my comfort zone academically.  With no traditional ‘business’ knowledge background, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was daunted by the thoughts of accounting and business finance subjects, however they are the underlying reason I have sought an MBA, to fill these pivotal knowledge gaps.
  • Being able to learn not only from those within the MBA cohort, but also those outside of the business school. Oxford being a world leading educational institute provides networking opportunities with not only peers and professors at the business school, but also those leading research in their fields across a wide array of sectors. This was also important to me when considering programs, as I was determined to still have access to clinical healthcare professionals and researchers, as the link between clinical practice and business is paramount to successful service delivery.
  • Having the opportunity to do all of this with my fiancé coming along as well. The college system is incredibly supportive of partners and families and my fiancé Paddy is looking forward to being able to immerse in the Oxford experience while working. Having a strong support network is something I am grateful for, especially when so far from friends and family in Australia, and I am thankful for the support our college provides to make partners feel as welcome as students do.

I have a large amount of expectation for not only myself, but for Oxford and the business school, which I look forward to reflecting on over the year to come. At this point, I am excited and nervous for the year ahead, and for the person I am on the other side of this once in a lifetime opportunity.