Marla Woodward




United States





By Marla Woodward

Introduction to Marla Woodward

Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?

Best friend: Exuberant
Manager: Collaborative

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford.

I’m from the United States and grew up in Michigan. I’ve spent the last 7 years of my career in sales and marketing roles for entertainment and direct selling companies. My most recent role was as a global marketing consultant, which helped me fill an entire passport in under 2 years of work. I thrived working on global projects with international teams, so when I was considering where to pursue my MBA, international diversity of the cohort was at the top of my list. This lead me to Oxford and to the wildly diverse cohort I will be learning from soon.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?

Given that the Oxford MBA is only a year in length (another plus from my side), I’ve done the following:

• Learn from current MBAs how to best leverage this transformational year
• Network with professionals in the careers I’m interested in pursuing post MBA
• Take time off between work and class to do some serious self-reflection

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?

My goal for the MBA is to walk away knowing how to look at a business from a high-level strategic perspective: to know how the different parts of a company work together to create value and to be able to diagnose when new strategies or directions should be considered.

Additionally, I’m looking to gain a global network of future business leaders who will be able to support and challenge me throughout my career.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?

Give yourself a week or two to settle in before classes start. The MBA is intense and fast paced, so make sure you’re settled before it begins!

Q6. What excites you about your new journey at Oxford?

The Setting: Oxford itself is a beautiful, historic, and lively city. Every day there is a festival, a play, or something going on. I went for a run yesterday and stumbled upon the ruins of an Abbey that was over 800 years old. You can visit pubs where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis did their writing. You can eat dinner in the Hogwarts Great Hall (Christ Church dining hall). It’s absolutely incredible.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?

FOMO: Staying focused and not worrying about missing out on opportunities (even if they don’t align with my career goals) is going to be extremely difficult. That and accounting – it’s been 10 years since I’ve touched accounting…

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?

I’ve always been passionate about public/private partnerships. Two areas of high interest for me are Education (specifically literacy) and Public Health (specifically women’s health). I look forward to using the knowledge and connections I build from this year to continue working in these spaces.

Q9. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?


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