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From the Prime Minister’s Office to the MBA classroom
12
Dec
2017

Tim Krupa is a Canadian 1+1 MBA student at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and a former aide in the Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where he led youth, sport, and disabilities policy.

Driven by a passion to improve the world through economic empowerment and inclusion, Tim is the first Canadian to receive the prestigious Pershing Square Scholarship (2017-2019) worth over $200,000 CAD - one of the largest awards offered at Oxford. The 1+1 MBA is unique to Oxford Saïd, and allows students to combine their MBA with a specialist Master’s degree of their choice – in Tim’s case, a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

‘If you are motivated to study business because you want to help solve world scale problems, I think the Pershing Square Scholarship is the best opportunity out there,’ he said. ‘The chance to spend two years learning and growing in a magical place like Oxford is truly wonderful.’

For Tim, one part of living a meaningful life is having a positive impact on as many people as possible, especially those who are less privileged. While that may sound idealistic, he has direct experience and understanding of how progress comes not from sound bites, but from incremental policy changes crafted in collaboration between the public and private spheres.

‘The world’s problems are so complicated, they won’t be solved individually by business, governments, or NGOs,’ said Tim. ‘For example, it’s important that credit-constrained governments are able to finance major capital projects like infrastructure, especially in developing economies, to improve the wellbeing of their citizens. This involves finance and strategy, but also economic policy, and that need for collaboration among sectors led me to choose the joint program.’

Tim is also eager to address leadership problems. ‘There’s no shortage of great ideas that can change the world. The harder part is actually implementing them and that requires thoughtful leaders who will improve our institutions. This is a challenge that drives me.’

Having worked for the most diverse and gender-balanced cabinet in Canadian history, diversity was high on Tim’s list of priorities when choosing an MBA. ‘I love how the Oxford MBA and MPP are two of the most diverse degree programs in the world – both have students from nearly 60 different countries. I also chose to live at the most international college in Oxford because I believe diversity must be at the core of learning, decision-making, and leadership. It helps foster understanding and frankly leads to better outcomes,’ he said.

While Tim has always had a strong interest in politics, it was time spent researching indicators of well-being among children in Zambia during his Bachelor of Science that convinced him to move into the political arena. ‘I was on a path to becoming a physician, but my experiences in Zambia really brought home the importance of public health policy. In low-resource areas, by the time you are in the hospital, the probability of a positive outcome may already be low. Policies can help prevent disease and promote health and well-being. I felt my work could one day have a real and scalable impact on people’s lives if I moved more upstream into policy and politics.’

Looking back at his time with Prime Minister Trudeau, Tim is filled with optimism. ‘The fact that the Prime Minister’s message of cultural diversity and inclusion resonated so well, not just in Canada but around the world, is a source of hope for me. It’s easy to get cynical today, but despite all the challenges in the world, I believe politics and policy can still be tremendous forces for good,’ he said.

After a career in business, would Tim consider returning to politics? ‘I think so,’ he said. ‘I love people. My parents raised me to, above all, always treat others with kindness, consider their wellbeing, and be curious. I think that’s why people energize me. I have something to learn from everyone and that leads to fun debates and, more importantly, genuine relationships, which I believe is another key to a meaningful life.’

Photo by Riley Lange.

About the Foundation

The Pershing Square Foundation supports exceptional leaders and innovative organisations that tackle social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable impact. The Foundation is committed to supporting areas such as economic development, education, healthcare, justice and the arts.