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Rex Betar






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By Rex Betar

Preparing for Wizard School (I mean an Oxford MBA)

Hi there and thanks for reading! I’m Rex I’m a 30 year old Australian and I’ll aim to provide you with a light-hearted and hopefully useful insight in what it is like to be a student of Oxford and an MBA student at Saïd Business School I hope you enjoy!

A month ago I was asked “How I was preparing for my MBA over summer?” given the last 3 weeks has been like drinking from a fire hose (more on that in my next post) I thought it may be useful to revisit what exactly I did and said before moving on in the journey. As with all stories it is useful to start at the beginning. Forgive the present tense but please read on…

Well to start with I’m Australian so my “summer” has looked a lot like this

Well how does one prepare for an Oxford MBA? First I thought I’d look to the literary world for advice… Yeats said about Oxford

I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.

Quite poetic but wholly unhelpful as Yeats probably never studied statistics.

 I felt the next most most logical thing to do was to watch a film or two. But after 8 Harry Potter films and Chariots of Fire I was back to the drawing board.

You see I have wanted to go to Oxford since I was 7 years old. My 2nd grade teacher had divided our desks into four groups, Harvard, Yale, Oxford and another place in the UK (Oxford parlance for Cambridge). At the beginning of class he queried “does anybody know what these are? they are the best universities in the world!” I asked which was the best and was told Oxford (which has proved rather serendipitous), despite coming from a town of 15 000 people, nobody in my family having finished high school and my favourite activity being hide and go seek I decided I was going to Oxford.  Given 23 years to build them up my expectations are high but also elusive. I’m expecting something educational, formative and life-changing, but I don’t quite know what that something is.

There are of course the practical things to consider, for those reading this for advice; do apply for your visa early. Do as much of the MBA pre-work as you can recognising that if, like me, you’re working 60hrs a week and trying to pack up your life, you may have to de-prioritise the 500 page book on Big Data until you’re on the plane.

In terms of work I’m trying to squeeze every bit of learning I can out of my job to set me up well for the start of the MBA. Creating PowerPoint decks and modelling in Excel before starting the nightshift of all my admin related tasks.

But here is how I’m approaching the lead up to Oxford. Most of this doesn’t matter (the visa is a notable exception). My work skills are about to be developed to a level I’ve never experienced. There will be time for pre-reading and time for learning but I am about to move across the world away from friends, family and all that is familiar. While I am excited I also realise I’m about to embark on a journey with no fixed destination and no end date.  It is important I recognise those that have helped me on my path to Oxford.

So to prepare I will be having a beer with colleagues, sharing a joke with friends and spending time with the ones I love. The experiences I’ve had have been many and varied when as a 7 year old I set out on this path. But my friends and family have been a constant support.

So I will prepare for the great unknown with those I love…and maybe give the Goblet of Fire a second watch.

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