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Eileen Chen

Degree:

MBA

Location:

Canada

Industry:

Marketing

Year:

2018-19

By Eileen Chen

Get to know Eileen Chen

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

Best friend: Outgoing
Manager: Committed

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

Don’t get me wrong – Montreal is possibly the best city on Earth (NB: extremely biased opinion). However, over the years I felt an aching ambition to see what the rest of the world had to offer, and in turn, what I had to offer it. With 4 years of marketing experience in e-commerce and consumer insights, I felt it was time to make the jump and start applying for MBA programs. While soul-searching/applying for MBA programs, I learned that the most successful and fulfilling careers are those that combine your personal passions with your professional skills – which is why I plan on pursuing the niche of marketing and sustainability post-MBA. Oxford is the perfect place (again, biased opinion) to pursue this as the school “seeks to be a world-class business school community, embedded in a world-class university, tackling world-scale problems” – a mission that truly comes to life once you visit the school and speak to classmates.

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

After quitting work at the end of May, I took 3 months to unwind by travelling to London, Japan, South Korea, San Francisco, and Budapest, while also spending as much time as possible with family. And lots of bootcamp classes (freshman 15 2.0, it’s a thing).

On the more professional side, I took the Wall Street Prep accounting course, signed up for two student-led industry treks (an Oxbridge tech trek in Silicon Valley and a social impact trek in London), started prepping for a marketing and social impact case competition with classmates, connected with current MBA students in my desired field, and started to read BBC News religiously.

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

A British accent.
(Kidding, too few of us are actually from the UK to make that happen…but one day).

Honestly, I hope to emerge out of this experience a changed person in 3 dimensions: sustainability/social impact, skills, and social.

  • Sustainability: My primary goal is to soak in as much sustainability and social impact knowledge as possible, in the hopes of working in the industry after the MBA.
  • Skills: I plan on taking the ever-popular Negotiations class and attending Oxford Union debating workshops to improve on these personal weaknesses.
  • Social: whether it’s through late pub nights, study sessions, or the MBATs, I am most looking forward to the friendships and moments that will be forged with my cohort. Cheesy but true!

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

Having spoken to around 10 current MBA students, they all echoed that FOMO (fear of missing out) will be real, no matter what you do. So be intentional with the activities you choose, and focus your efforts on a few priorities. Therefore, anything that doesn’t fall into my 3 priorities above will not make the cut – and I have to be ok with that.

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

Answered above – it is definitely the social aspect! When in your adult life do you get to be around 300 people going through similar situations, in an intellectually scintillating environment like Oxford? (Spoken like a true extrovert)

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

Getting used to 1) not sleeping, and 2) repeatedly leaving my comfort zone.

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

My goal of combining marketing and sustainability comes from the insight that most consumers want to alleviate climate change, but few know of or will make the necessary changes to their lives. Something needs to shift to avoid environmental catastrophe; I alone cannot do it, but I do intend on utilising the MBA’s resources to learn more about how this perceptual change could be made, and how corporations can influence it.

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

The Social Impact Lab (if they accept me), talks from the Oxford Climate Society, case competitions, and (again, if they accept me) one of Oxford’s famous choirs or a capella groups!

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

#itsanOxfordthing and any hashtags we come up with as a cohort next year 

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