“There is nothing more impressive — intellectually or otherwise — than to change long held beliefs, opinions, and habits. The more you’ve changed, the better you probably are”
The first day of the MBA might be the only occasion in your life when 300 people are genuinely interested in you, in your stories, and in becoming your friend. Truth be told, that number will begin to decrease according to the number of days remaining until the end of the program. As people move on with their lives, at the end of it all – you will realise that you have met some very unique people, with whom you shared quite memorable moments of your life.
The Oxford MBA is not just about growth and learning. As a programme embedded in an 800-year-old institution, the other important takeaway is the legacy you leave behind to make the programme and community better. With that spirit in mind I would like to share with you three points, which might be useful to you.
Everyone is better than you at something. There is no point in judging your classmates based on grades, their previous careers, or future job and internship potential. The problem with comparing yourself to others is you really never know anyone else’s situation. There is no one that doesn’t have room to improve. The sooner you accept this about yourself too, the sooner you realise that the MBA experience itself is one giant classroom. Comparable, however useful in valuing companies, is a misleading measure for our self-worth.
Keep calm and carry on – this great British phrase will save you a lot of nerves. Although it is not your responsibility to do someone else’s work in a group project, it’s your problem if the person that, for whatever reason, couldn’t deliver is your team member. The MBA might drop responsibilities into your lap with little or no consequences to others. Instead of badmouthing and complaining – realise that you’re all in the same boat. In the long run, even though it might not feel that way in the moment, these won’t be nightmare stories but learning experiences. Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume good in them and let that good inspire your own actions.
Lastly, great ideas are born over a pint at the King’s Arms. This is where a group of us decided to create and crowdfund a new MBA Leaver’s Scholarship to be awarded to a future MBA candidate. We believe that we can start a tradition that carries from our Class of ’19 to yours and to future cohorts. Each year MBA students can actually make this incredible journey possible to someone else. I challenge you to beat our inaugural scholarship amount and let the Oxford MBA be your year of change.
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