Sarel Migael van Baalen




South Africa





By Sarel Migael van Baalen

Get to know Sarel van Baalen, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: A creative striving to craft technical, commercial and business solutions with social impact in mind, I enjoy the complexities behind simple solutions to important issues. I have a passion for developing infrastructure in Africa to improve living conditions and unlock sustainable economic growth for the continent.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Engineering

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

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: South Africa

College: Green Templeton College

Twitter: SarelMigael

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

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
I am a proud South African, eagerly working to make my mark in the field of infrastructure development. After completing my engineering studies in Cape Town, I started my career in Johannesburg. Across the multitude of projects I have worked on in South Africa and the rest of Africa, the major lack of infrastructure has remained strikingly noticeable. Oxford has a reputation to produce leaders that solve complex world-scale problems and the Oxford MBA helps candidates to do through business – that’s the powerful dynamic that made me choose Oxford and its MBA.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
In 2019, I completed a part-time Bachelor of Commerce degree, giving me confidence going into the MBA, as I have built a solid understanding of accounting, economics, tax and business management. More recently, I also completed suggested pre-reading and prerequisite early course material related to the Oxford MBA, such as the Finance Lab short courses and exams. Additionally, I have built virtual ties with a number of my future classmates, discussing areas of interest, experiences and expectations of the MBA. Also, to pay my tuition, I started

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
I have extremely high expectations of the Oxford MBA and I have a good feeling that all those expectations will be exceeded. I know that I will walk away from the MBA with many new skills, strong business networks and a brand that is known throughout the world. I hope however to expand and develop my entrepreneurial ideas, incubate new ideas with my classmates and faculty, stretch my perspectives of business, society and the world. I hope to extract the most from everything Oxford has to offer and in doing so, contribute others’ learning experience.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
Bring to Oxford all your wildest entrepreneurial ideas; here you will find people to help make them a reality.

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
I cannot wait to expand and develop my entrepreneurial ideas with the support of world-class faculty, a strong MBA cohort and the many university incubator initiatives.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
With a wealth of opportunities at the business school and the rest of the university, I think it could be challenging to choosing from those opportunities and maintaining a healthy student-life balance.

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
The Oxford MBA is distinct from other top-rated programmes in the sense that the end goal is to have an impact and to bring about positive change in the world.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
I look forward to joining Green Templeton College’s social rowing team as well as the Oxford Africa Business Forum.

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

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