Niranjan Suresh






Social Impact



By Niranjan Suresh

Reflections from Michaelmas

Supersonic. One word to describe time in Oxford.

The last few months have flown past! I cannot believe that Michaelmas term is done. I’m twenty-five percent through with my MBA. I need to take a deep, long breath and pinch myself to believe it’s true. It took me longer than I expected to settle down when I first came here. From September-end till mid-October, it was tough, as this was my first experience studying outside my home country, India. Everything was new, the food, weather, language and culture. The orientation week at school did help me make friends, see Oxford as a tourist through visits to the Museum of Natural History, fancy college dinners and a boat trip. Through this, I realised that many of my peers were in the same boat, having similar feelings of nervousness, uncertainty and excitement.

Very quickly, we were thrown into the routine of classes, assignments and group work. The first block of the term introduced me to Accounting, Operations and Organization Behaviour. I thoroughly enjoyed the new teaching styles of reading case-studies, participating in class discussions, working together in study groups. Learning occurs in a 360-degree manner – from the study materials, professors and my wonderful peers and it’s important to keep questioning yourself and what you are being taught. This is very unlike teaching in many countries such as India, where you have to take for granted, what’s being taught to you and asking questions is not encouraged as much.  Section B, which I’m a part of is a particularly interesting class where I genuinely feel we end up having a lot of fun during class, with everyone’s idiosyncrasies, humour and sarcasm. I was very lucky to have an excellent study group with peers from USA, India, Korea, Australia and UK. We quickly got to know each other’s quirks and became very comfortable, even organizing a delicious potluck dinner with food from different cultures!

Apart from regular studies, I joined the Ideation Lab and Impact Lab. In Ideation Lab, I learnt techniques on ideation, creative thinking and coming up with innovative solutions to problems. Impact Lab sessions were refreshing, focussing on social impact, exposing me to topics such as Systems change, Impact measurement, story-telling, etc. By the second block of the term (Oct-mid), most of us had gotten into a routine and felt much more settled and comfortable. This time round, we studied Business Finance, Analytics and Marketing. I particularly enjoyed the former 2 subjects, especially Analytics. At first, Analytics looked like a particularly dry subject, but the teaching style and its practical application has gotten me curious. During this part of the term, the pace of the MBA had picked up considerably with 9 AM to 5 PM classes whizzing past daily, leaving little room to breathe.

One of the things that has kept me sane & stable has been cooking. I’ve taken a real liking to cooking Indian dishes and elaborate meals on weekends such as various Indian curries, rice, rice-cakes (idli). I have also enjoyed having long conversations with friends about their cultures, traditions, festivals they celebrate. I feel it is important to learn from my peers beyond class knowledge to get a holistic perspective of world cultures, what makes us similar and different to others.

The term recently ended in the third week of December with a long assignment and two exams back-to-back. On one hand, I’m surprised and sad that time has flown past, with little chance to stop & take a breath. On the bright side, I’ve learnt a lot, forged new friendships and look forward to make many more connections next term with a new set of people.  Here’s looking forward to a well-deserved break and get set for the next term.

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  • Karthik Doraiswamy

    Great Going Niranjan. Have an awesome time.