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Colin Tierney

Degree:

MBA

Location:

United States

Industry:

Technology

Year:

2018-19

By Colin Tierney

Get to know Colin Tierney

Oxford MBA 2018-19 Oxbridge Silicon Valley Trek (9)

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

Best friend: Curious
Manager: Determined

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

I’m from St. Louis, USA where I’d been a product manager at a small healthcare tech company for three years. I worked at the intersection of software and medical devices; having managed a product line and led multiple new products to market, including a mobile app. These experiences helped me develop an entrepreneurial skill-set in product management, product strategy, and marketing. Through the small business setting, which demands both speed and agility, I liked the challenge (and urgency) of gaining and deploying new skills.

I studied international relations during my Bachelor’s degree, so I’ve always examined business in a global context, but am yet to apply this in my work. I chose Oxford to collaborate with and learn from a truly diverse group of talented students. The school’s ethos, centred around utilising business to make the world better, is clear throughout the programme and the students it attracts; a community I’m excited to join.

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

I’ve read some interesting books from business thinkers on organisational behavior, and I’ve primed my analytical skills through some online finance coursework. My career-driven efforts have included networking with employers and connecting with my future classmates.

I recently attended the Oxbridge trek to Silicon Valley where over 20 incoming Oxford & Cambridge MBAs met with companies in various sectors including tech, venture capital, and energy. It was really fantastic to learn more about business in Silicon Valley and bond with classmates. A team of us had the opportunity to collaborate on and present a voice assistant strategy to Microsoft. I came out of the trek having made some great friendships with both Oxford and Cambridge students and had great exposure to Silicon Valley employers.

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

I hope to gain experience examining business in a global context, expanding my analytical skills, and working with teams on new challenges that stretch my abilities.

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

The best advice I received was to fully unplug and recharge my batteries before I begin the program. I’m taking this advice by getting settled into Oxford early and then doing some exploring around Europe!

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to getting to know my class. I feel honored to be part of a group so talented and so diverse by nationality and work background. I anticipate my experiences and relationships with this class will be the most valuable aspect of the programme. Second to that, I’m eager to soak up all things Oxford. When I came to Oxford to interview, I saw firsthand the amount of intellectual horsepower roaming the streets, speaking at the Oxford Union, and evening lectures; it’s a community buzzing with thought and curiosity.

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

The most challenging part (on top of the coursework) will be juggling all the exciting opportunities among clubs, extra-curriculars, and social. I’ve been warned of FOMO so I’m eager to try new activities outside my comfort zone while sticking to the goals I’ve mapped.

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

In my previous role I was motivated by the feeling that my work delivered a big impact in the U.S. healthcare sector. I helped introduce products and features for hospitals to ensure surgical instruments were properly sterilised and accounted for prior to surgery, notifying nurses and surgical teams of adverse events and helping foster communication. Helping these people provide better patient care inspired me to work hard and think creatively, and I plan to leverage my MBA knowledge and prior experience to influence positive change at a global scale. I’d like to continue with my experience in tech to address future healthcare challenges, but I am also drawn to the challenge of improving sustainability through technology.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?

I followed the speaker calendar at the Oxford Union this past spring, so I’m really excited to hear from and interact with world leaders at the Union. I’m also really eager to compete for the university squash team, having competed in the U.S. and coached a high school team, I love the game. At Oxford Saïd, I’m hopeful to get involved in the Oxford Foundry and OBNs around my interests and skills.

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

#BeAGoodPerson

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