One of the major differentiators between Saïd Business School (including the 'other' business school 86 miles away) and the other MBA schools across the world is University life. There are 39 Oxford colleges and 6 Permanent Private Halls, and as an MBA, you become a part of one of the colleges to become a part of the University. The college becomes your identity, and at the University of Oxford you end up belonging to two sets of communities – the business school and your college.
Two months into the program, I felt I wasn’t taking benefit of the community outside the four walls of Saïd Business School. So, I decided to jointly stand for the position of External Entertainment Representative, along with my classmate Vinohar, of Green Templeton College’s Graduate Common Room Committee (GCR, in other Universities, it would be known as the student council). I would not shy away from saying that being a part of the GCR was one of the biggest highlights of the MBA – and I not only got to preside over formal dinners welcoming guests but also met many bright Oxonians (and Cantabrigians) outside of the Business School. My biggest takeaways from getting involved with GCR were organizing the following:
- Formal exchange dinners One of the centuries-old traditions of Oxford is formal dinners where students in most colleges wear formal gowns while attending 3-course meals and wine at their college. Students can also invite guests from other colleges – one of the many ways in which an Oxonian can visit different colleges and eat at their dining halls. There are also exchange dinners between colleges where 15 students from each college get to visit the other colleges – and Vinohar and my role was to organize these exchanges between Green Templeton College and other colleges of Oxford.
- Pub Crawls and Bar Exchanges Pubs are a crucial part of Oxford, and some of them date back to the 13th–16th centuries! We organized Pub Crawls for GTC members, where we explored the not-so-touristy pubs of Oxford. We also organized a few bar exchanges with bars of other colleges in Oxford!
- Exchange with Cambridge Probably the biggest highlight of GCR this year was the exchange with GTC’s sister college in Cambridge – St. Edmunds where 50 students from both colleges visited each other. While we organized a city tour and a wine and cheese night for Cambridge students, we got the opportunity to punt on the River Cam and end the day with a karaoke night!
This is, however, not the only way you can get involved with your college. My classmates found opportunities in various ways! For instance, Tanvi Rajgaria was not only Chief Alumni Officer at Reuben College, but also represented her college in Squash. Sammi Wei and Brandon Stuhl were the LGBTQ+ Officers at St. John’s and Teddy Hall respectively. Melissa Benn organized the Green Templeton College Ball, which was a hit! Nagadarsan Suresh was not only the Alum representative at Merton College but also co-founded the Merton South Asia Network. This collegiate experience is unique to Said Business School, and if you are an incoming student or a prospective candidate, do not forget to include the colleges in your to-do list of many things to do during your time at Saïd Business School.