Rex Betar






Travel and Transportation



By Rex Betar

Gowns, ghosts, gangs and why the MBA isn’t that hard


So matriculation happened. Matriculation involves donning  your sub-fusc (suit, bow tie and academic gown). You march through the streets of Oxford walking two abreast until coming upon the Sheldonian. You will enter and have the Vice-Chancellor speak at you in Latin. The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that originally students would take a Latin-based entrance exam to ensure the colleges had admitted candidates worthy of the Oxford name. Thankfully that doesn’t happen anymore he joked.

Yes it is now simply a matter of a four-part exam marked on a bell-curve against some of the brightest people in the world, submitting transcripts, a CV, a personal statement an essay and an interview. Sorry mate can we have the Latin exam please? Anyway after the formalities everybody gets a photo before drinking as many pints as you feel the need to (it was more than one). Said pints were had in The Turf which is where Bob Hawke the former Australian Prime Minister drank his infamous yard glass.

A few MBAs at The Turf

A few MBAs at The Turf


Every activity in Oxford is steeped in tradition and pints post-matriculation is no exception. It is tradition to drink a pint of “Old Rosie” so named after the ghost who haunts The Turf. Whether the spirits of the underworld haunt The Turf is up for debate but trust me, a few pints of Old Rosie will have you feeling like hell the next morning.


On the subject of tradition, few things hold as much importance in Oxford as the Boat Race. With MBAs in both the men’s and women’s VIII there is an extra level of excitement for this year’s race.

The challenge was recently laid down by that other university in the UK and accepted by Oxford. BNY Mellon would have you believe this is what happened:

But I’m reliably informed this is how it went down:

Why the MBA isn’t that hard

Alright, to say that the MBA isn’t that hard is a bit of a misnomer. It is hard, damn hard and I really wish I could get my head around corporate finance.  It seems I (and a few classmates) have a propensity for pointing out that there is not a whole lot to our lives outside sleep and study, which is largely true…however…

On the march to matriculation I started to wonder who may have marched before me since teaching began here almost 1000 years ago.

Oscar Wilde, Tolkien, Lewis, Locke, Eliot Hubble and Halley…even Schrödinger (and presumably his cat). All attended Oxford. Poets, authors and scientists we walk in the footsteps of giants, ensconced by fields and libraries, as the dreaming spires stand sentinel over Oxford students.

It is no exaggeration that Oxford is among the most privileged and special places on earth. For those reading this that are thinking of undertaking an MBA at Oxford you may think there are many institutions that can impart the lessons from corporate finance and strategy they may even teach from the same textbooks. You are right. But when these thoughts bubble up I remind myself I walk in the footsteps of giants.

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