Sourav Kalra




United Kingdom





By Sourav Kalra

Get to know Sourav Kalra

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

Best friend: Too British
Manager: Dependable

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

India is my home country and I have lived in Europe for  7 years, 5 of these in the UK. My area of expertise lies around Engineering and Product development. Oxford has a rich history of being at the forefront of technology and doing an MBA at this world class institution will enable me to not only learn more about how to business but also connect with some of the best minds on this planet for my future endeavours.

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

The MBA is going to be an intensive year with a lot more to offer than one can take. To prepare myself better for the next year, I took early leave from work and spent a lot of timeclearing my mind-set to focus on what I want to pursue. This also enabled me to have a clear career narrative and direction. One of the things that helps me a lot is travel, especially solo. It gives you plenty of time to reflect and question. Also, you get to know a lot about yourself and what makes you tick.

Along with this, I took some online courses on Wall Street Prep to prepare myself for the fields I am not so familiar with. Also, the career development modules available as Pre-MBA prep were very helpful.

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

My aim from MBA is to be more of a generalist consultant. Up until now, my work has revolved around engineering in automotive product development, which has had charm of its own, however, I think time is ripe now to switch to strategic management consulting and explore other industries. With an MBA from Oxford, I hope to gain a good balance between theory and practical cases along with the network of previous consultants who can help prepare better for different sectors.

Additionally, I hope to gain a good network of professionals in energy and technology sectors through respective OBNs – (Oxford Business Networks). This will enable to not only connect with my cohort but also wider university and angel investors, paving way for potential future ventures.

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

The best advice I have had is – be prepared to let things go. Oxford is a place where you will find at least three options to spend your next hour on. Of course, you cannot attend it all. Also, there will be many lectures and events that you would hate to miss but you would not have a choice because you have to prepare for that interview or finish that assignment.

But it is all part of the game, this will also make you learn how to better prioritize things. FOMO is real!

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?

For me it would be GOTO: Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford. The topic for this year is Future of Energy, which is also my key focus area. With it, I hope to further explore the challenges and opportunities that will be faced by regulators and market disruptors for the future energy mix. It will also have its influence on public policy makers to improve mobility, cost of living for general public etc. I look forward to have an opportunity of dialogue and build relationships with industry experts and academic professionals.

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

After more than five years of corporate life, I am venturing back into academia. This is going to be huge change from the comfort of no-work-at-home to millions of things to bother about. I think it will be challenging to make time for everything I want to do. I am sure, I would want to have more than 24 hours in a day and an assistant to help me prioritize things.

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

MBA is about getting to know how to make oneself comfortable in unfamiliar circumstances of businesses and industry. It’s about how to simplify things to look at the bigger picture and aim for the vision that one wants to pursue. If you focus on the vision and communicate it well enough to people around you, you can foster positivity and get through difficult situations with relative ease.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?

Yes, I would be very keen to be part of OBNs and clubs for Entrepreneurship. I would also be interested in hiking and mountaineering clubs.

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

#makeinindia to follow start-ups in India. Also, I follow some Hindi/Urdu poetry hashtags to stay sane in the corporate world.

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