How my MBA has been a year to venture out, express, and be the best version of myself

3 minute read

212 days or 7 months in, 5 more to go. Phew, that flew by way faster than I had imagined! This reminds me of something Steve Jobs quoted, 'One cannot connect the dots looking forward, but only when you look backward', I can now see why. I have begun to trust in the process of the Oxford MBA – to engage myself in its diverse offerings, to venture out, express, and go with what feels right at the moment.

To exemplify this rant, I’d want to share some stand-out experiences of this past term – things I had not anticipated myself to be doing when I was making my to-do list for the year.

I lead the social impact business network of my cohort, an opportunity to shape the professional and academic learning for the students interested in impact careers. It helps me learn on a very personal level from industry leaders, build my network in a new setting and also leverages my experiences working with communities in the global south. So far, we have hosted a Kenyan energy start-up, run a workshop on systems mapping, several panels on careers, lunches and socials, case competitions and the intent is to only do more in the coming Trinity and Summer terms. Personally, it has helped me build a community within and outside the business school and also validated my intent to work in the impact investing industry.

Talking about community, I think we’d all agree that the last few months or even years have been quite a test of human resilience. The pandemic, the military and political crises in several parts of the world and now the war in Ukraine. From history, we understand that times of crisis are especially difficult for those from marginalized communities including women. In background of the same, the women at the business school celebrated the International Women’s Day and week through a series of events and discussions on issues that are most significant from the perspective of parity. One such event was organizing a bake sale cum exhibition that promoted art in any form (music, paintings, photography, poetry, clothing) and was made by women from the MBA class. Being part of the core team, it was so heartening to see the amount of funds we raised (~£2100+) over the course of two days, all towards Ukrainian charities that support women in distress. While this was only a small effort towards a bigger issue, I was only amazed by the sheer talent and diversity that the women of my class brought and of belonging to a community that cares.

Another aspect of the MBA year for me has been the satisfaction derived out of accidental wins. Be it showcasing my poetry (I started writing around 4 years ago) in front of a live audience for the first time, singing with the school band or talking about my experiences through a storytelling session. These were all wonderful ways that helped me express myself, further build my confidence, skills and really connect with people. Definitely worth the investment in time, we will come back on the money, ha-ha.

But don’t let the rosy experiences fool you completely. The past months have also had periods of uncertainty, stress, confusion, disdain as I figure out my next career and personal trajectory. The decisions need to be taken, the planners need to be sorted out and sooner rather than later. But till then I am going to live every day at Oxford to the fullest. I will continue to rely on my long walks about town, the beautiful summer in England, the swans and ducks giving me solace by the river as I listen to the same Sufi playlist on repeat and appreciate all the privileges that I have been able to access so far.

Signing off until next time!