I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but left Colombia when I was 1.5 years old and have since lived in 7 different countries. When people ask 'How was moving around so much?' I have to be honest, when a teenager hears that they must leave their friends and make new ones every 2 years they don’t always receive the news very well (sorry mum and dad!), but looking back I wouldn’t change a thing!
I had the opportunity to explore different countries, experience different cultures, and build international friendships. I became fluent in 3 languages and got to work in finance in 2 of the financial hubs of the world, New York and London. I know I am privileged to have had these experiences and that motivates me to push myself to make the most of the opportunities I have and I look forward to doing the same with the Oxford MBA.
After 5 years in Investment Banking at Barclays, I was ready for a new challenge, no longer as an external advisor to companies, but now as an internal decision maker and with an interest in fintech companies. I knew the MBA would be a great way to make this transition.
I chose Oxford for 3 main reasons: (1) The UK is one of the largest hubs in the world for fintechs and the Oxford MBA will open doors to this space, (2) given my business background, I wanted a 1 year programme to focus on the specific skills that I want to strengthen for my career transition, and (3) the Oxford MBA provides a network diverse not only in nationality, race, and gender, but also in thoughts and area of expertise, through the college system.
The MBA experience starts from the moment you get your acceptance letter and get access to a channel with all the other admits! Before you know it, you are jumping on webinars about student organizations you can join and there are group chats being created for everything (from careers to wine!). I have also connected 1-on-1 with current MBAs and alumni to hear about their experiences during the MBA and hear their tips and lessons learned and with future classmates to start getting to know each other.
Additionally, I took a pre-MBA internship at a fintech startup, where I led product and business development. This was a great experience that confirmed my interest in fintech, sparked an interest in the startup world and gave me further insight into the skills that I want to focus on strengthening during the MBA.
You never stop being amazed by the opportunities that come from being part of the Oxford community so I want to remain open to new opportunities that may arise, but in the meantime I will continue to focus on learning more about fintech and the startup world. During the MBA I look forward to (1) joining the Creative Destruction Lab to work on a project for a fintech startup, (2) joining the Oxford Seed Fund to get exposure to startups from an investment angle, and (3) working together with other classmates to officially establish a fintech club at SBS!
Besides the professional aspects, I look forward to developing friendships with my MBA classmates and Jesus college peers, as we all explore Oxford and experience its unique traditions together. I am particularly looking forward to (1) joining formal dinners in many different colleges and enjoying the beauty of each of the buildings, (2) participating on the MBAT dance competition! and (3) finding ways to continue with my mindfulness and exercise routine.
As daunting as the MBA application process may seem, always remember your 'why' so you can stay motivated even during the tough times. For those of you that are struggling with the GMAT (as I was), remember that this is only one part of the application and make your experience, background, and skills shine in your essays and interviews! For the essays discuss with friends, family and mentors about the things that make you stand out, they may mention things you didn’t even think about. This process is very introspective process and a great way to remember everything you have achieved so far and build the confidence to apply!