Charlotte Kirby Thomson




New Zealand


Real Estate



By Charlotte Kirby Thomson

Introduction to Charlotte Kirby Thomson

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

Best friend: Persistent
Manager: Discipline

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

I am from New Zealand but have travelled quite a bit, including a study exchange in Sweden, and I’m married to a South African Brit called Nicolai. I’ve worked in property, housing, accounting and design-related fields across government, small business and non-profits, most recently managing New Zealand Government housing development projects.

The Oxbridge dream was ignited when my aunty told me about our distinguished Rhodes Scholar relative, Sir Arthur Porritt, as I was discovering genealogy research at age 10. More recently, management aspirations and a strong interest in issues of social and public change have attracted me to the Saïd Business School.

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

I’ve spoken with several MBA and Oxford alumni to get their advice, and I’ve been refining my career goals so I know what I want to get out of the year, in order to arrive focused and prepared to prioritise when the flood of opportunities hits.

Nicolai and I also attended the MBA Experience Weekend in March which was fantastic and invaluable. We began building friendships with future classmates who I’ve been chatting with on Telegram ever since as our year group has grown. The class has been able to crowdsource advice, tips, networks and begin conversations that will continue through our year. Nicolai was also able to get a sense for what my student experience will be like.

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

I’m seeking a more well-rounded understanding of the business world and greater insight into the role business can play in social change and human flourishing. I’ll be building a broad network with amazing and intelligent people whose knowledge and experience I can draw on in the future, both for my ventures and to connect with other people. Personally, I aim to build my ability to articulate ideas well and gain comfort with both being a leader and being perceived as a leader.

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

The library overlooks the reception at SBS…. don’t be the person sitting in the same seat at 10pm as at 4pm. The value of the MBA you’re paying for is not just in the academics, but in the relationships you could have for the rest of your life. Distinction grades are not as valuable as the networks you could have been building.

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

The opportunity to learn and grow in one of the most hallowed institutions in the world, where the urban space of the city and academic life are intertwined, the historic stone walls are saturated with the stories of those who have gone before, and the air pulses with the curiosity of those whose lives are still being written.

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

Time and sleep management. Balancing the FOMO, staying focused, avoiding burnout and sickness, and sticking to a sustainable sleeping pattern.

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

I want to expand my knowledge and experience in the private sector to build a broader understanding of how the world operates, to equip me to be more effective in the public/political sphere in the future. I’m particularly passionate about property and physical spaces and the potential of technology-enabled innovation, so would love to further my experience in those areas.

Q9. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

Not really a hashtag, but still Instagram: @abstractsunday, @catstradamus and @sirwatsonofoxford (#watsonthedog).

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