Jim Sheppard




United States





By Jim Sheppard

Get to know Jim Sheppard, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: I started my professional career as a commodity trader. After realising my true passion for technology, I began working in the tech industry. After some time in Silicon Valley with PayPal, this Chicago native returned to grow with a hometown start-up. An ambition to complete an MBA and an interest in the global impact of technology has brought me to Oxford.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Tech Industry

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Tech Industry

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: United States of America

College: St Hugh’s

Instagram: @hi_im_jims

Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?
Best friend: Overconfident
Manager: Confident

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
I started my career as a commodity trader in Chicago, but my interest quickly turned to the tech sector. I wanted to be a part of something big, so I set out for a PayPal office in San Francisco where I truly immersed myself in Silicon Valley. My time there showed me the global reach of the industry and led me to realize how much I would benefit from an MBA in an international setting. With that in mind, Oxford was the clear choice for me.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
I immediately jumped in and took every opportunity to meet my future classmates. Whether I was traveling or heard of anyone passing through Chicago, I insisted on drinks or coffee. Everyone I have met so far has been so interesting, thoughtful, and friendly – I am really looking forward to collaborating at school and making life-long connections.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
I know time will be the scarcest resource, and I want to make sure I leave feeling that I used up every bit of it. The primary goal is a broader understanding and more global view of the tech industry, but I think the most valuable addition will be a new network of motivated and passionate professionals.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
“The school year is going to start sooner than you think, and it will feel like you do not have enough time to prepare.”

That turned out to be true, and it was a very good warning. I might still be packing the night before my flight, but I can’t wait to get started!

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
Being a part of the greater Oxford community. Having both business school classmates and a college of peers in other interesting fields is something unique and not available to MBA programs in the US.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
Saying no to things and not overcommitting myself. I just know that I will have so many opportunities to do something new and exciting and I am not going to want to turn anyone down. I will need to be reminded that it is OK to take a break!

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
While I reflect on the highlights of my career, I always refer back to the times when I was a part of a team that made business and technology initiatives less challenging for our clients. The knowledge and network I will gain as an Oxford MBA will provide me the opportunity to have a much more global and expansive impact on the industry.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
I would absolutely love to join the St. Hugh’s Boat Club! It seems like the perfect opportunity to be a part of sport and tradition at Oxford.

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?
#optoutside – it’s the perfect mix of great photography and vacation ideas

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