Tina Shah




United States


Food and Beverages



By Tina Shah

Get to know Tina Shah, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: Writer, singer, and nature-lover with an entrepreneurial streak and a passion for helping and caring for others. I’m a bubbly extrovert, but I’m just as happy chatting with friends in a crowded pub as I am hiking alone in the woods. I will instantly befriend every dog I meet. I am overjoyed to be joining Oxford.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Food & Beverage (2017-2019); Healthcare (2014-2017)

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Food & Beverage; Tech

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: United States

College: Pembroke (It’s Tolkein’s college, it’s beautiful, and it has the friendliest grad students!)

Twitter: @LaTeeShah
Instagram: @tinaksha

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

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
I was born and raised in the United States and bounced between the east and west coasts. My childhood was a wonderful collection of South Asian traditions, American customs, and a budding love for English history and literature. I studied neuroscience in college, then worked in communications and marketing at a major NYC hospital for a few years. It was an enriching career with wonderful people, but I knew I wanted to join my family business, Harris Freeman. During my two years in the business, I helped to build our beverage brands and launch our e-commerce operation. Unfortunately, I realized that I had serious gaps in my knowledge and expertise. How would I ensure that my family’s business continued to grow in the future?

I never thought I would pursue an MBA, but when I started to consider my graduate school options, nothing else fit the bill better than business school. I wanted a program that would help me with professional and personal development. I looked for a school that would provide a safe space for me to practice leading with impact, a place where I would become more confident, meet outstanding people, and find myself.

I had dreamt of Oxford since I was a teenager. In the end, the choice was an easy one.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
I spoke with some wonderful people from the previous MBA cohort while preparing to come to Oxford. Their mentorship and kindness were invaluable, their insights sharp. I spent months chatting with others in my incoming class and meeting up with them in nearby cities; I joined the Forte Foundation and attended their annual Women in Business Conference; and I reflected – a lot – on what I wanted to do during and after my MBA.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
I’m hoping to gain a clearer vision of my role and purpose. I’m looking to develop a strong ability to navigate ambiguity. I’m trying to grow my leadership skills and boost my confidence. Mostly, though, I’m hoping to leave the MBA with a group of lifelong friends, new perspectives, and an understanding of my place in the world.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
“Follow your heart, not the crowd.” In other words, don’t feel uncomfortable about doing things differently than everyone else.

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
The other people in my class are undoubtedly going to be the best part of my MBA experience.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part of the MBA year will be knowing when to say “yes” and “no.” I’d like to do everything, but no one’s given me a time-turner yet.

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
After spending a year with friends and classmates from all over the world, I plan to take my new, global business perspective to the food & beverage industry. I want to help solve the obstacles posed by climate change and its effects on food security and supply chain.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
Pembroke Rowing, SBS Student Council, the Global Business OBN, the Technology OBN, and the Oxford Union! (Among others…amazing opportunities lurk around every corner at Oxford.)

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

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