My journey to the Oxford MBA

3 minute read

Each person is a product of their environment, and I am no different. During my childhood, I shuttled across India because my father was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. This nomadic life shaped my personality, by infusing in me a strong desire to build communities and shaping me into a highly sociable mathematician. It also made me adventurous, which brought me to the Netherlands. Here, I ended up working as a project manager for a high-tech semiconductor company called ASML.Through this I developed a love for chips… beyond ‘Lays Magic Masala’; although I have continued to import these through the years.


Why did you decide to apply to the Oxford MBA?

I have always strived for the best; being inspired by my father for whom ‘the sky was the limit’. Some deep introspection during lockdown made me realise my lack of crucial business skills, which are required to rise higher in an organisation. Hence, an MBA. Rather than only going by name, prestige, and ranking, I started making a list of things I wanted from a school. This list included an international cohort, gender parity, and an intellectual environment. This matchmaking process led me to select Oxford. The presence of the Effective Altruism group especially attracted me to the university. I not only want to do good in my career; I want to do good well.

How have you been preparing to start the programme in September?

Being an extrovert and a networker, I have spent the past months talking to a lot of people. I value learning from others and making new friends in the process. The conversations I have had have also given me many insights into what gives me energy and what I would like to focus on in the upcoming year. There is so much going on in the MBA and I have to accept that I cannot do it all. Perhaps my most important lesson is to learn how to say ‘NO’.

Tanvi holding her arms out wide, standing in the sea

What do you hope to gain from the Oxford MBA?

Over the next year, I hope to accelerate my career in the emerging technology space. I love discovering new technologies with the potential to change the world and recent conversations have sparked my interest in climate tech. My ultimate goal at Oxford, however, is to understand the rather amusing obscurities of the place. For example, I hope to develop a functional understanding of rowing, mortar boards (I had to google that!), formal dinners, and associated dress codes by the end of the year.

What are you most looking forward to from the year ahead?

I love discussions; especially those that change my view of the world. I am looking forward to engaging in intellectual or reflective discussions in class or in a beautiful Oxford library (until silenced), even if it leads to an argument or two. Arguments can always be resolved over a glass of wine! I am also looking forward to setting the dance floor on fire at the MBA Tournament held at HEC Paris! Last but not the least, I hope to engage with the Creative Destruction Lab and the Effective Altruism group.

What advice do you have for those planning to submit an application to the Oxford MBA?

Any aspiring MBA should question if a school’s culture is the right fit for them beyond the objective stats and rankings of a school. It is important that you feel at home during the MBA, which is why I would recommend visiting the school campus if possible. My real golden tip, however, would be booking a trip to a land far far away (in my case Iceland) to write your MBA essays. Nothing like northern lights to inspire your writing! Last but not the least, take all the help you can get. I would not be here without the support, guidance, essay reviews and recommendation letters from colleagues, family and friends.