Alex Lew









By Alex Lew

Be very clear what you want in an MBA programme…

MBA Candidates in Saïd Business School struggle to balance school work, career search and social life. This is especially so during the peak of the MBA recruitment period between October and December when students put in their best application to secure a placement in MBA programmes. We are also pleasantly distracted by world class musicals and concerts offered at concession prices in legendary venues like the Sheldonian Theatre and Christchurch Chapel. I was like you, an executive scouting for a great MBA programme. It is usual to read about business exposure through competition and lecture series in an MBA programme. But it is usual for an MBA programme to have access to quality content from the entire university town. After class, students are spoilt for choices. Do we attend a world class lecture by a former advisor to Nelson Mandela, Ian Goldin in the Oxford Martin School? Do we attend an organ recital in one of the majestic colleges in the university? Just this week, an exceptional group, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra performs at the Sheldonian Theatre. Generally, it is difficult to make a rationale decision between studying for exams and queueing up in the cold to see Ian Mckellen and Morgan Freeman. Such are the struggles of an MBA student in the Saïd Business School. Our classes are intimidating. Students come to class prepared because the facilitators call on students randomly. We prepare for each class by reading at least 80 pages of notes, text and cases. I do find it challenging to remember all that we have learnt. But it is futile to complain because the students made an informed choice to invest in a one year programme. To readers of this blog, be very clear what you want in an MBA programme. The Saïd Business School 1 year programme is packed with activities, content and opportunities. As an MBA candidate, you will wish you had more time to enjoy life and to digest the content taught in classes. I made the mistake of spreading myself too thin during the 1st 2 months of the programme. Make smart trade-offs right from the start. Decide which society and which college activities you want to be involved in and do not expect to have an easy time with school work. The Saïd Business School’s MBA programme is rigorous and comprehensive. On a last note, it is my observation that recruiters in Oxford are genuinely more interested in the brilliant undergraduate community. Based on their intellectual capacity, these bright young future leaders deserve to be highly successful. The Saïd Business School is indeed young compared to the older and more established institutions in the university town.

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