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Oxford Executive MBA

Oxford Executive MBA

Case studies: Kristina Manalo

The Free Business School 

Kristina Manalo, Advisor, The Free Business School, British/American

'In 2002 I joined Mitsui, one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world, at their London offices. At about the same time I began to reconsider my career direction. I had worked both on the management and leadership side and as a technical expert in network infrastructure and security.

I decided that my time as a technical expert had run its course; business development and leadership, with a focus on internet technology, was what I wanted to focus on. With no formal qualification in business, and knowledge gaps in areas like finance, economics and corporate governance, I decided that I needed an MBA to take my career to the next level.

There were several reasons that I chose Oxford and the Saïd Business School. Firstly, the focus on innovation and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship appealed to my entrepreneurial interests and my desire to give something back to the community, through social enterprise. 

Naturally, studying at a world-class institution steeped in history, leadership and excellence also featured prominently in my decision to pursue the Executive MBA at Oxford. From a practical perspective, I found that the modular, in-residence format would more easily lend itself to managing academic, professional, and personal commitments.

Shortly into the programme, the positive impact to my job had already emerged; I quickly developed a more critical, strategic, and analytical approach to decision making, as well as a methodical approach to address uncertainty inherent to the mobile Internet industry. The project and assessment work was directly relevant to my company's immediate and long term challenges.

Having now completed the programme, I know I speak for myself as well as on behalf of my cohort in saying that the Oxford Executive MBA is transformational. Not surprisingly, completing this rigorous academic programme is a huge achievement in itself and one which augments confidence and credibility within and beyond professional and academic communities.

Beyond this, the alliances and friendships formed within and beyond the Oxford Executive MBA class are an invaluable asset, who have already created significant returns in social capital – the shared values, trust and participation within my expanding community. It is through the interaction with classmates, colleagues, teachers and students that new ways of thinking and wider opportunities emerge.

Now as an Advisor to the Free Business School founded at the Saïd Business School and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, I am well-positioned to create my own path, rather than to allow it to be determined by the financial crisis or indeed any other industry dynamic.'

Tom Rippin, CEO, The Free Business School

'Kristina's background in technology has been a great asset to her work with the Free Business School, but importantly this background has been rounded out through skills and knowledge acquired during her Oxford Executive MBA. Kristina now brings a holistic skill set to bear on her work - financial, strategic and entrepreneurial, all coupled to a pragmatic approach to social enterprise and its inherent trade-offs. In a small start-up environment, such as the Free Business School, this breadth of thinking is critical.'

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