Paul Kelly




United Kingdom





By Paul Kelly

Everest and Eric Schmidt: two world giants

Whilst the Oxford MBA Launch was a spectacular success, I was keen to start the course proper, and it has not disappointed; I can testify that a one-year MBA is busy to say the least. All of those maths questions from the GMAT were not actually just tough arithmetic with the purpose of selecting quantie types, but those questions actually have business relevance.  You can imagine my disappointment when the dreaded slope equations came back to haunt me once again!  So my top tip this week is do not forget what you learn on the GMAT, most of those calculations will be used again on the course.

Over the last two weeks I have been amazed at the people around me and their varied experiences and expertise.  I would not want to be an MBA Professor at Oxford, because there is a strong chance that someone in the room knows just as much about what you are writing on the board and may have a very different opinion.  Rather than learning by rote, the quality of the instructor teacher/candidate interaction really does encourage mental dexterity, and creative and critical thinking.  I still on occasion feel out of my depth because I do not have a finance background, but I more than make up for that in the strategy and leadership classes, at which I feel more at home; all of this points deliberately goes back to the first rule of GMAT: attack and destroy weakness with extreme prejudice!

Over the last two weeks I have climbed Mount Everest (okay on a simulator); studied the turnaround of a number of notable organizations, my favourite being the British Museum; and I am now in charge of running the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) Oxford.  Yes budding entrepreneurial gang members, at Oxford we host a VCIC at which you can pitch your ideas to your fellow MBAs who will in turn present them as business options to a global cohort of leading VCs.  In the past this has led to significant funding for amazing new start-ups. So hang in here with me to learn more about that process over the coming weeks, as it will be a period of self-discovery for me too!

We have also had Eric Schmidt (CEO Google) drop by at the Oxford Union, Gen Mike Jackson (ex-head of the British Army) to the Strategic Studies Group at All Souls College, and other various assorted dignitaries talk to the various colleges and departments.  The Princess Royal even popped by to plant a tree! Oxford is a buzzing hive of activity, so much so that it is impossible to do not just everything, but even 10% of the activities.  I feel so at home here, and I am enjoying the course and getting to know my cohort; I am so glad I made this decision.*

*I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, and I am not allowed to be asked that question during exam times, assignment deadlines and Tech and Ops classes.

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