Shruthi Vijayakumar




New Zealand


Social enterprise



By Shruthi Vijayakumar

Introduction to Shruthi Vijayakumar

Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?  

Best friend: Adventurous
Manager: Determined

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford.

I was born in Botswana, raised in New Zealand and visit India regularly where my roots lay. Witnessing the inequalities between these countries sparked a passion in me to want to contribute to our world’s social & environmental challenges. Over the last few years I have worked in the social enterprise and non-profit social sector: as a coach, running a social-enterprise accelerator, and leading operations for an education start up. Prior to this, I was a management consultant working with large corporate clients in Australia. I see huge potential in business to tackle the large social and environmental challenges of our time and am excited to explore this at Oxford, particularly given the MBA’s strong focus on responsible business and social enterprise.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?

I’ve spoken with a number of current students and alumni to learn more about their experiences within and beyond the classroom. There is so much that interests me – from programmes run by the Skoll Centre to the various talks that happen every day, the Oxford Union debates, global treks, sports and activities at our colleges and so forth. Oxford seems like an incredibly vibrant place!

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?

A deeper understanding of how businesses currently operate and what the biggest opportunities are to transform them to be more purpose driven. I’ve got a long list of questions and hypotheses I hope to explore and test through the year with this goal in mind. I also hope to build lasting friendships and networks with our class and beyond.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?

Have a vision of where you want to go but don’t hold your plans too tightly. The programme will challenge you, teach you many things that you currently “don’t know that you don’t know” – so be open minded and embrace the journey.

Q6. What excites you about your new journey at Oxford?

I am most excited to be in a space with people from all around the world, who are eager to learn, share ideas, and push each other to see the world in new ways. I’m also one of those die-hard Harry Potter fans that used to turn up at the store the day the books were released, so am thoroughly excited to be at a school that resembles Hogwarts and was the setting for scenes from the films.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?

I have heard there are so many opportunities to engage with through the MBA programme and beyond in the wider Oxford Community. I think it will be challenging and important to not take too much on, stay focused, and be intentional with how I spend my time.

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?

I’d love to take the learnings from the MBA to grow my work as a coach and consultant. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide a huge opportunity for businesses to innovate and improve our communities and I’d love to help businesses build the leadership, culture and strategy required to do so.

Q9. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

Right now – it’s been #nzelections. The elections are a few weeks away in New Zealand and after a last minute change in leadership of a major party, the race is looking very close!

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