Last September I arrived in Oxford to start the 1+1 programme, combining a Master of Public Policy (MPP) with the MBA. Back then, I wrote that it was the right time for me to take a step back from my work at the UK Treasury to reflect on my career and future goals. I'd been drawn to Oxford's 1+1 because of the unique selling points of the integrated approach to the degrees, and their ability to provide a catalyst for future impact in a real-world context.
One year in, I can say that the Oxford 1+1 MBA has done all of this - and more.
I've found huge benefit in being able to shape my Oxford experience over 2 years, allowing for a more reflective and strategic approach to the myriad of opportunities on offer.
I've particularly valued the chance to bring my professional experience to academic challenges. For example, I used the summer between my degrees to conduct research at Oxford's Institute for New Economic Thinking, co-authoring a paper on carbon biases in risk-based financial reporting. I took part in Blavatnik's 'Banklash' project as a research assistant, looking at the UK's experience of corporate scandals over the past 20 years, and the public and regulatory responses to them - a unique way to reflect on my time and effectiveness as a policy maker in government. And I got to serve as a student rapporteur for a coalition of Sovereign Wealth Funds looking to green their investment portfolios.
These experiences, plus the learnings from my coursework and peers on the MPP, have had a large impact on my approach to the MBA so far. Having spent a year reflecting on how I want to personally develop over the 1+1, I am more able to prioritise the (very busy!) MBA experience towards the things that will best help me achieve my goals. For example, my desire to complement my financial services policy making experience with a deep understanding of the practitioner side of the industry means I have thrown myself into Finance Lab and the Asset Management Masterclass.
Lastly - but perhaps most importantly - the 1+1 community has been invaluable, and it continues to strengthen as we attend the MBA together in our second year. Having a strong group of peers bringing an interdisciplinary focus to solving global challenges has deepened my appreciation of the wide lens that can be brought to the problems I’m here at Oxford to build the tools to tackle.
One of the wonderful things about Oxford is the unexpected opportunities that come your way – and the 2 years of the 1+1 provides double the chances to embrace these. I feel privileged to have a second year to continue to expand my learning and try new things, before I go back into my career with a greater skill set as a leader to serve in the extraordinary times we are living in.