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Saskia Rotshuizen

Degree:

MBA

Location:

Netherlands

Industry:

Environmental Management & Sustainability

Year:

2019-20

By Saskia Rotshuizen

Get to know Saskia Rotshuizen, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: I am a French and Dutch national who currently calls the Netherlands home. I started my career in a conflict-resolution NGO, then conducted research on inclusive business models, and finally joined a team of inclusive business practitioners, focusing on private sector development in emerging markets.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Private sector development in emerging markets

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Social business innovation/incubator

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: The Netherlands

College: Green Templeton College – for the great MBA community

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/saskiarotshuizen/

Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?
Best friend: Curious
Manager: Reliable

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
Throughout my career I have been committed to a continuous focus on delivering positive impact and on challenging the status quo. I am grateful to have built a very diverse career so far, from working in a conflict-resolution NGO which took me to central Africa to working with executives on business model innovation for social impact. Those various experiences allowed me to gain valuable perspectives on how meaningful and sustainable impact can be achieved, but also a pragmatic understanding of the challenges we still face in reaching certain goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

I am beyond excited and grateful to have joined the word-class Oxford Said MBA program. I chose Oxford for its willingness to re-define how business can be done to benefit all stakeholders, for the incredible diversity of the student body and for the connections across departments, which creates a much more holistic experience. I believe the program will provide a tremendous springboard for my career and will give me the network and skills to maximise the positive impact I plan to achieve in my next career step. Finally, the incredible richness and quality of events happening across Oxford is simply unparalleled and is another reason why Oxford appealed to me.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
I listened to the webinars offered by the school, completed the online accounting course and read recommended books, such as ‘How will you measure your life?’ by Clayton Christensen. I also spent time thinking about my goals for this year and how those aligned with the extra-curricular activities offered at SBS and at Oxford overall. This period of reflection before the programme is bearing its fruits, as clarity on my goals now guides how I decide to invest my time during the MBA.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
During this year I hope to gain strong business skills, a deeper understanding of what drives me personally (to help me define my next steps) and a strong network of friends and future colleagues.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
In one of the summer webinars, one of the current students at the time mentioned that she allocated her time to make sure she had one activity for her mind, one for her body and one for her spirit. I found this very helpful in planning my week and making sure to have balance all throughout.

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
I am very much looking forward to the GOTO project (Global Opportunities and Threat Oxford) which will start in Hillary! During the GOTO project students get to work in groups on understanding the dynamics of a global challenge and proposing solutions. The topic this year is Climate Action, which is close to my heart. GOTO is definitely one of the reasons I applied to Oxford.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
From my first month here I can already tell that the most challenging part of the program will be to manage my energy. There are so many opportunities for getting involved in projects and activities here at Oxford, and therefore prioritization is a key skill to develop very quickly, especially to make sure you stay close to your own goals for this year, and not get swayed by the group energy!

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
The MBA program instills you with strong analytical skills, develops your business rigour and sharpens your thinking – those are all skills that impactful businesses could use more of to reach scale and increase their impact. I plan to bring those skills in my next impact-first role, though I am still exploring what that role will look like.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
I am running for co-chair of the Social Impact Business Network and started rowing with my college, Green Templeton College. Rowing is a quintessential Oxford experience and from my first experiences I really appreciate the calm that being on the water brings.

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