Launch week - new start in an old city

3 minute read
inside the Oxford Union debating chamber

I am an early planner. Within a few days of getting my visa, my shopping list was finalised, goodbyes were said, and bags were packed for me to leave for the UK. It was therefore no surprise that in the week before my flight from New Delhi, I didn’t have much to do. It was deceptively calm, like a calm before the storm, and oh what a beautiful storm it has been!

When 64 nationalities, 48% women and 90%+ international students sit together at the Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre at Saïd Business School, the uniqueness of the Oxford MBA comes to life. The first two weeks at the program, aka 'Launch', have been full of workshops, information sessions and perhaps most importantly, ‘get-to-know-your-classmates’ style networking events. We have been exposed to frameworks that we can use to navigate our careers, digital and in-person resources to accelerate our professional journeys and my personal favourite resource at Oxford Saïd – the library.

As an MBA student at Oxford, one gets to learn about the world of present-day business while being rooted in the oldest University in the English-speaking world. The centuries old canal system and modern shopping complexes like Westgate juxtapose the old over the new, providing a unique character to this quaint city. Last week, I lived my Potterhead dream of dining at the majestic hall at Balliol college. It was this moment that made ‘the Oxford experience’ official for many of us. The very next morning, I attended a session on Private Equity by one of Europe’s largest LPs and we talked about the global investment climate and the state of the economy. How is that for a contrast? From hearing John Bird talk about contemporary social entrepreneurship in the morning to being at The Oxford Union- the world’s foremost debating society in the evening, even an average day during Launch makes for an exciting one.


Then there is the learning that happens outside the lecture halls. Having spent most of my life in India, I had limited opportunity to learn first-hand from an international community about global and multi-cultural ways of life. In just two weeks, I have come across some very smart and empathetic study group buddies, some fun and adventurous neighbours and some very understanding and supporting programme team members. My most intriguing conversations have happened with people who just happened to be seated next to me in workshops. These chance encounters have led me to believe that there is something to learn from everyone. I am excited to discover more about their journeys and hopefully make some lifelong friends along the way.

As you would have realised by now, the Oxford MBA experience goes beyond a traditional business program. If this seems like an environment in which you will thrive, I urge you to share and reflect on your authentic story in your applications. Saïd Business School not only accepts but also values purpose-driven business leaders. Given the complex challenges facing the world today, purpose orientation is no longer a choice for business leaders. It is in fact an ethical responsibility. Oxford Saïd has caught up with this need and has brought together a talented and driven group of business leaders, who I am happy to call my classmates!