Nikita Pancholi









By Nikita Pancholi

Get to know Nikita Pancholi, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: I’m an ex-consultant with a deep interest in start-ups social impact and Education. Working with entrepreneurs excites and motivates me. My friends would describe me as an extrovert, because I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I’m also a coffee enthusiast and an in-closet poet who highly appreciates the written word, theatre and movies.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Consulting, Venture Philanthropy and Education

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Consulting/VC

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: India

College: St. Hugh’s

Instagram: @nikitapancholi

Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?
Best friend: Energetic/Enthusiastic
Manager: Confident

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
I started my career with McKinsey & Company, where I was part of the Client Relationship Management Practice, a function started as a pilot which is now a legacy tool that is used by McKinsey’s senior sponsors and practices. After spending 2+ years at McKinsey, I decided to switch to the development sector. I joined a strategic philanthropy organisation where I supported philanthropists, corporations and foundations in channelling funds to the Indian social sector. In my recent role, I supported an Education think-tank in India to set up a Grant Accelerator team. The role gave me the opportunity to act as a part-time entrepreneur while working with founders of our portfolio organisations. In my career of 6+ years, this role was the most exciting as I worked closely with bold entrepreneurs and learned how to build, improve and scale organisations over time.

Pursuing an MBA had been on my career plan for a while now, I chose the Oxford MBA program for its focus on doing business for good with a global cohort. I am excited to start this journey with a diverse, ambitious and socially conscious peer network and have a year full of learnings, friendships and personal development.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
Contrary to the popular advice of travelling before the MBA, I decided to spend this time with family. Having spent a long time away from home, it was definitely a much-needed respite to just spend time at home with parents without any plans.
I also tried to use this time to reflect on my career and introspect on what I want from the MBA. I have been speaking to Oxford alumni and others in my network to learn more about the industries that I’m interested in. I also took a few Wall Street Prep and Digital Marketing modules that the Oxford careers team helped set up for the incoming class.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
I’m looking forward to getting back to school not just for the academic learning, but more for the interesting and diverse network that Oxford offers. I hope to further explore the industries I’m interested in, while also learning more about my strengths and how best I can leverage them going forward both personally and professionally.
This would be my first international study experience, so I’m definitely excited about that.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
To try and steer away from FOMO (Fear of missing out), because that will definitely happen (and let me tell you, it has already started!)

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
I have heard great things about the learning opportunities available at Oxford, even beyond the MBA network, so I’m excited to explore all of it. I’m also looking forward to meeting my classmates and having a ball of a year while forming some great friendships.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
I think taking out time for self-care (which includes sleep!) would be tough, given how much there is to do. In fact one of the last year students wrote a blog about the importance of taking out time for oneself, and I hope I’m able to do that.

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
Pursuing the Oxford MBA is a unique opportunity and I hope to use this experience by participating in relevant forums /platforms to shake up the status quo and ensure we continue to advocate positive changes required to combat environmental and social challenges that face us and the future generations.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
I love dancing so I will definitely be looking out to join a dance club. I’m also passionate about wine, so I’d love to join a wine tasting club. Though I haven’t rowed before (only in the gym if that counts!), I want to learn rowing and I’m pretty sure I would like it.

A few of us started a group chat on telegram that we have named SBS (Saïd Banter Society) where we discuss all kinds of topics under the sun (I really believe banter should be treated as an intellectual sport, maybe we will create an in-person society for the same 😉)

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?
#workhardplayhard #hustle #bosslady

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