Vaughan Bagley




United States


Non profit



By Vaughan Bagley

Get to know Vaughan Bagley

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

Best Friend: Genuine
Manager: Dependable

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

After graduating from Stanford University with a BA in Human Biology and Honours in Ethics in Society, I spent the majority of the last six years working in the non-profit sector on issues related to violence against women and girls. I served in roles ranging from research to marketing and events, and more recently – I led the social impact campaign for the HBO documentary, I AM EVIDENCE, about the backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the United States. It was through this experience that I gained a deeper understanding of the range of industries driving impact and the importance of engagement across fields and disciplines.

I knew that I wanted to deepen my understanding of the impact landscape and I wanted to do so in a place that embraced a professionally and geographically diverse community. These different perspectives, all together at a school like Oxford, will be my greatest teachers over these next nine months and I can’t wait for all the many lessons to come, inside and outside the classroom!

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

Well, I got married the weekend before coming to Oxford – so I didn’t do nearly as much Wall Street Prep as I planned on doing. Nevertheless, this summer I have been reading a number of books written by female business leaders – many of which have forced me to re-think what I am looking for out of this experience and where I hope to be after graduation. I have also been speaking to my mentors – working to gather their advice as much as possible before the big move.

Oh, and of course, I bought new rainboots 🙂

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

My primary goal while I am here (outside of getting to know every nook and cranny of Oxford) is to build a skillset that allows me to run an effective organisation and have a meaningful impact in the lives of women and girls moving forward. However, I also know there are a number of ways to live an impactful life outside of nonprofits or the public sector, and that too is why I am here – to deepen my understanding of the landscape and introduce myself to roles, ideas, and perspectives not currently on my horizon.

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

To be present through it all. There is no question in my mind this experience will be an adventure like nothing I have ever had. Before we know it, it will be over – so I am trying to take moments every day to reflect on the day, to be grateful for being here, to reassure myself that I deserve to be here when that self-doubt creeps in, and to remind myself what my priorities are and what I am looking to gain and contribute to this magical place.

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

I met my study group this week and everyone seems really great and very willing to step up and carry their weight. I think learning to work together as a team and deepening that bond will be a fascinating experience as the year goes on, and I find myself continually thinking about what we have discussed so far in our Organisational Behaviour sessions – so I know I will take a lot out of that class.

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

Finance, Analytics, Accounting – these are all areas I have never worked in so I know they will be incredibly challenging for me, especially at first. But I also have confidence after this week that I am not alone and we will make it through together.

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

I knew Oxford was the right place for me the first time I read Saïd Business School’s mantra which specifically highlights their mission to shape global leaders equipped to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. This is not something you typically hear from business schools to this day, but the world is changing and Oxford Saïd is leading the charge and forcing all of us to think about how companies can be profit-driven and impact-focused, no matter what industry you’re in. I am so honoured to be a part of that and look forward to finding my place in the world while I am here.

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

I already attended my first Women’s Leadership Alliance meeting and hope to be heavily involved in that. I also plan to be a member of the Social Impact OBN, and am considering joining the rowing team. I rowed in high school and what better way to walk down (or row down) memory lane than to do so in Oxford of all places. It seems like too big of an opportunity to pass up!

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

My new favourite hashtag is definitely going to be #Oxfordadventures. To me, there has never been anything like this experience and there will never be anything like it again. It is one of my life’s great adventures, and I am already soaking it all in!

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