One week down, 51 to go…
Researching MBAs, you hear a lot about what the MBA experience is all about. Some of these ‘facts’ end up being true and some are just plain wrong. Of course, what I’ve quickly realised is, there is no definitive version of an Oxford Saïd MBA (or probably any MBA for that matter), it’s yours to craft. So, my experience wouldn’t necessarily be the same as anyone else’s. So, with that in mind, here’s what I learnt in week one.
- Your classmates are unbelievably awesome
I must’ve met ~100 people in the first week. Everyone has been incredibly warm and open, which makes it really easy to get to know people, and they have the most amazing backgrounds and stories. From rocket scientist (literally) to manufacturing quinoa milk and from hearing about getting kicked out of a country (there was a goat involved) to partying with Priscilla Chan, we’ve got it all. What an amazing group to spend a year with. I can’t wait.
- You’re going to be really, really, really busy
The week 1 calendar says it all (I couldn’t even get all of it in one screenshot)…
- You’re going to learn a lot and be inspired
Five days in and we’ve learnt so much. It doesn’t just come from the classes (although the few we’ve had have been great). It’s from the people who are wildly different to you, from the experiences that you have and from the amazing guest speakers Oxford attracts. We had a triple Olympic medallist on day 2!
- You don’t ever sleep
Sleep will definitely be stretched, but you do sleep! So far, I have managed to attend all classes, career events, social outings, do all the settling in stuff AND manage at least six hours per night. Let’s see how long it lasts… Also, if you want to just go home and sleep 9 hours one night, it is possible, people do it, it’s fine.
- Everyone is a party animal/you always have to party
Sure, they’re around and they are tonnes of fun. There’s also loads of people who are less keen on going out and they are also tonnes of fun. That’s the advantage of a cohort that’s over 300 people, everyone can find their crowd and do something that works for them. One night you’re at a bar until 3am the next you go for a quiet dinner and are in bed by 10pm.
- You need to have a clear direction of where you’re going to get the most out of the MBA
If you have this (and I mean truly have this, not just defaulting to what some else has told you to do) then that’s great and the rest of us are just a little bit jealous. If you don’t, it’s absolutely fine. There are so many who don’t know where they’re going or what they’re doing. That’s why we’re all here! It’s a different MBA experience, full of exploration and testing, but it feels like it’s going to be a great one nonetheless.
My favourite bit so far?
My energy is back, big time.
The ‘real’ world can be de-energising at times. Working long hours in a big corporate, dealing with crushing failures of start-up world or just life being life: there’s a few of us who came into the MBA feeling a little jaded.
As it turns out, the magic of Oxford, the excitement of meeting new people, the hair-raising stories of inspirational speakers, and the self-fulfilment of learning are the perfect antidote. Almost instantly, the enthusiasm, excitement and drive have all sky rocketed.
This is going to be a sensational year. Here’s to the next 51 weeks.
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