A letter to future Oxford MBA candidates
Hi All, I hope you are all keeping well and safe. To introduce myself, I am an Oxford MBA Alumni, class of 2016-17 and now a Senior Consultant at Dalberg Advisors based in Nairobi Kenya.
My journey to where I am now started during an MBA experience weekend in Oxford.
I remember sitting in on a career session learning about all the things we could do with the MBA. The opportunities seemed endless. So, I spared a few months before the MBA to do three things i) travel ii) rest and recharge and iii) reflect and test on where and what I really wanted to do after the MBA.
This period was absolutely crucial as I discovered two things – i) I wanted to transition into a job in social impact or development (I even had a short list of target organizations) and ii) that I wanted to be in Nairobi, my hometown (after a very long hiatus).
This made my job search very targeted. It also informed many of the courses/activities/networking opportunities that I chose to undertake during the MBA as a means to bridge my skill set and help me transition roles.
Even so, I was determined to use the year to do things that were not only way out of my comfort zone, but also to improve my softer skills. As an example, I was co-chair of the Africa OBN, where I led the Africa Trek to Kenya and Rwanda, and I also MC’d at the annual Africa Forum conference. I took part in a debate at the Responsible Business Forum of Making Business Mutual. I chose electives that I found enriching and engaging that each week left me inspired and wanting more. But I also hung out and learnt a lot about and from my classmates (now friends) from literally across the world, went to many college dinners (14 different colleges, yes I counted) and did a lot of other Oxonian activities, e.g., punting in warmer days, attending talks at the Oxford Union and wearing sub-fusc.
I applied for a summer internship at Dalberg Nairobi and went through a rigorous interview process. The internship led to a full-time opportunity where I have been since graduation. During my time at Dalberg, I have worked on projects from a wide range of sectors including education to employment, agriculture, energy, health, ICT and humanitarian assistance in East Africa. This experience has a provided a good foundation in learning and understanding how various systems function in the region, the challenges faced and the need to understand the levers that can deliver sustainable impact. The learning curve has been steep, but I continue to feel challenged and to enjoy the work.
This in a nutshell has been my journey; each and every one embarking on the MBA will have a unique journey and will want different outcomes. Given how fast the MBA flew by (a year is short!), I personally, found it helpful to have clarity about my goals after from the onset. However, I am fully cognisant that is not the only path and not the only motive for doing an MBA. So, my advice to you is really dig deep into why YOU want to pursue an MBA and when you discover the why, pursue it wholeheartedly.
Stephanie Mambo, Oxford MBA class of 2016-17Back to top of article