Kaitlin Thompson




United States





By Kaitlin Thompson

Life inside and outside Oxford

As our first exam and assignments approach and I attempt to settle into a routine while balancing the demands of this term, I have been reflecting on the great place Oxford is, but also the joy and need to get out of the business school and city at times.

This year – and the MBA course – is intense!

Our predecessors and Saïd Business School staff told us this, so I was aware, but getting used to the intensity is a challenge. We are in class and support classes approximately 20-25 hours per week, which would seem to leave time for plenty of activities. But, your calendar (or diary as I have learned to call it in the UK) fills up with career events, study group meetings, fascinating talks (e.g., in three days I saw a president, renowned economist, and a Member of Parliament speak), club meetings, college dinners, and workouts (if you’re lucky!). Balancing many priorities at once is a privileged problem to have, but truthfully can be overwhelming, especially while also adjusting back to being a student and learning a new education system (e.g., passing is a 50 in the UK and 70 is quite stellar).

I know I am profoundly lucky to be here.

Few individuals in the world can pursue advanced education, no less at Oxford. Where else could I eat a delicious dinner in a gorgeous hall (like my college’s hall pictured here) for 8 pounds with new friends (also pictured) or run along a river path watching my classmates row and passing cows?

The intensity necessitates knowing yourself, what you need, when to say no, and when to say yes.

For me, I’ve enjoyed getting outside of Saïd Business School and Oxford once in a while- I’ve headed to London for Ceremony of the Keys (highly recommend), participated in volunteering and meetings of a local Rotary club, and spent weekends with my partner, who is not doing the MBA nor living in Oxford. It is a helpful reminder that life exists outside of the MBA and not to take myself so seriously.

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