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Oxford MBA alumni shortlisted for Women of the Future Awards

Two recent Oxford MBA alumnae, Pip Wheaton and Arfa Rehman, have made the final shortlist for the prestigious Women of the Future Awards taking place in London on 15 November.

Arfa Rehman (MBA 2016) is recognised in the ‘MBA Star’ category for her work as co-founder of VRTU, a healthcare start up that uses virtual reality to help those suffering from dementia. Arfa’s work on the venture was validated when VRTU won the Skoll Venture Awards in the summer of 2017, and it was most recently shortlisted for the Bayer Foundations' Aspirin Social Innovation award as well as Alzheimer's Society's Innovation of the Year award.

‘I was really humbled and grateful to find out that I’ve been selected,’ said Arfa. ‘Women are underrepresented in so many of the fields and types of institutions covered by this award - technology, entrepreneurship and even business schools. It’s important to recognise women in these and other categories not just to celebrate their achievements, but also to help challenge and change the conventional ideas and images of what leadership looks like.’

Alongside Arfa at the awards will be Pip Wheaton (MBA 2015), who is shortlisted in the ‘Community Spirits’ category. Pip, now UK Director of Ashoka, spent most of her professional career in South African youth development, including consulting on innovative finance at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship; mapping the entrepreneurial support landscape across Africa for the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading, as well as freelance strategy facilitation with organisations like Ikamva Youth.

Pip, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper from 2013-2014, enrolled at Oxford Saïd after receiving the prestigious Skoll Scholarship for social entrepreneurs.

She commented: ‘I was deeply humbled when I found out that Oxford Saïd had put my name forward for this award. While many parts of the world have come a long way towards greater gender equality, we still have default concepts of leadership that are stereotypically masculine. By recognising the next generation of women leaders we’re broadening the narrative about what leadership can look like and the multiple, varied versions of success that can inform aspirations of the young people currently defining their life paths.’

Oxford Saïd is the Educational Partner of the awards, working in collaboration with the Women of the Future Network headed by Pinky Lilani CBE.