Curriculum, co-curriculum and unique traditions on the Oxford MBA

4 minute read
Students seated in the Sheldonian theatre, all wearing sub fusc

I wrote my previous blog post before starting the MBA. It’s now been two months since the MBA officially started and there are way too many things that have happened to cover all of them in a post, so I have decided to focus this update on my experience so far across three main themes: (1) co-curriculars, (2) academic assignments and (3) Oxford traditions. 

In terms of co-curriculars, following up on my previous blog post, I am excited to share that together with four other colleagues we have officially launched the first Saïd Business School Fintech Club. This was the result of a pitching process where we pitched our vision of the club to the class and 181 peers from our cohort voted for us to be co-chairs of the club. This was my first time speaking in front of 200+ people and I had a bit of nervous excitement, but I am proud I did it and grateful for these opportunities to continue practicing public speaking skills. As co-chairs of the club we aim to make this a group that will enable Oxford Saïd students to learn more about the fintech innovations that are disrupting financial services, hear from industry leaders, and discover job opportunities in this booming sector. We have already started working towards this agenda hosting sessions with Open Banking Excellence, FT Partners, and Stride.VC, and are excited for the events we will hold throughout the remainder of the MBA. Besides co-chairing the fintech club, I am excited to announce I was selected as part of this year’s Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) cohort for the fintech stream. We recently had the CDL launch session and I’m very excited to find out which venture I will be assigned to work with over the next couple of months.

In terms of academic assignments, we have completed three assessments so far: two were group assessments, which were presentations with our assigned study groups for the term, and one was an individual written assessment which was built on top of one of the group presentations. Although the assignments have been challenging to juggle with everything else happening (co-curriculars, socials, personal, etc.), I have found them enjoyable because they were all stimulating and relevant to today’s business environment - but how can it not be enjoyable when you get to work in beautiful buildings such as Radcliffe Camera? For one of the assignments, we had to select one business and come up with recommendations to address its challenges (this was the group presentation component). Then we had to build an implementation plan to execute these recommendations (this was the individual written component). The other group presentation involved some role playing where we were presented with a real life situation that represented today’s globalised business environment where the interests of business, investors, and governments intersect. Based on the situation each group was assigned a role and had to present their position and recommendations on how to negotiate with the other relevant stakeholders. 


In terms of Oxford traditions, I will start with colleges and I have to say I have been very pleasantly surprised with my college: Jesus College. It is a 450-year-old college with beautiful grounds (the 'Second Quad' is my favorite part!), but it also just opened a new graduate accommodation building in 2021 which is where I’m lucky enough to be living. One of the traditions at colleges are formal dinners, which comprise 3-course meals inside the college’s beautiful dining hall. So far I have attended formal dinners at Jesus College, Keble College, Teddy Hall, and Lincoln College and each has been amazing in its own way. Another Oxford tradition is the matriculation ceremony which is mandatory for all new students at Oxford and takes place in the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre. For this ceremony, all students are required to wear sub-fusc, which you can see me wearing in this picture, so it’s a unique day where Oxford is filled with students walking around in this outfit and celebrating their matriculation throughout the day.

As you might be sensing, it is extremely busy here at Oxford, but it is busy with quality lectures, great speaker events, and insightful conversations, which is exactly what I came here for. Time is flying, but I am certain the next couple of months will continue to be of much personal and professional development. Some of the things I’m particularly excited about are the MBA ski-trip to Andorra, the beginning of the CDL project with a startup, and the start of elective courses. I look forward to telling you more about these in my next update!