Rebone Shaku




South Africa


Management Consulting



By Rebone Shaku

Get to know Rebone Shaku, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: Having experienced life on both sides of the inequality spectrum, i.e. life in poverty vs life in financial abundance, I am acutely passionate about reducing poverty and economic inequality in Africa. I am a spoken word fanatic, a lover of good music, spiritually grounded, psychology curious, joyful soul.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Management consulting

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

Country of residence before coming to Oxford:
South Africa
College: Kellogg


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

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 Civil Engineer by training (but I’ve never practiced as an engineer 😊 ). I’ve spent most of my career in management consulting. I love the rigour, structure and diligence through which management consultants approach problems. I would like to use that same approach to not only drive company profits, but solve pressing social ills, specifically tackling poverty and economic inequality.

The Oxford MBA was for me clearly distinguished as an MBA program with a strong focus on the role of the business in addressing these pressing global challenges. It provides a variety of platforms for those who eager to explore, contribute to and better understand this topic. That’s what clearly made the Oxford MBA for me.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
Not enough! (lol)
I worked until about 4 weeks before the start of the MBA – but I think you really need a good 3 months off… I’ll tell you why:

There is just a lot of admin involved in relocating (from visa applications, to actually moving out of your current apartment, to farewell dinners and wish you well lunches). In addition to the normal demands of relocating, there is quite a significant portion of the career development “modules” that you need to do online, before you even arrive in Oxford. So, if you can take the time off, one month to rest, and the last two months to prepare and transition.

One thing I did that helped a ton was soul searching, finding out exactly what I wanted to get out of the MBA experience, which areas I would like to explore and which ones I would ignore. It has been very helpful to come in with a focus. There is a lot to do in Oxford, the idea is not that you do everything, it is that each student gets to do what is most enriching for them.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
You’d need to take me out for coffee to discuss that 😀

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
Spend time really thinking about what you would like to get from the MBA experience, like really think about it. Otherwise, you risk coming to the end of the 1-year realising that you had had a very busy year, but that it was not as impactful as it could have been.

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
Everything “Systems thinking” – None of the social problems happen in isolation, they are entrenched in current systems. Understanding systems mapping and various analysis techniques helps one to effectively identify leverage points for positive change

Skoll centre programmes and events – from Impact Lab open sessions, to Impact Investment Fest, to guest speaker series, etc.

Building a strong network that will enrich my journey beyond the time we spend in Oxford

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
Being a student again after so many years out – I suspect that it will take effort to be able to stay focused during long lecture or to study for exams

Secondly, not letting “FOMO” get to you – there is honestly ALWAYS something cool happening in the business school or in the wider Oxford university or in London

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
After the MBA I would like to transition into impact consulting, advising corporates in identifying and carrying-out profitable and inclusive business opportunities. By inclusive business opportunities I refer to opportunities in sectors/areas where the poor work/live, opportunities to reduce the price of items primarily consumed by the poor, and to improve access to goods and services for the poor.

Business as a fundamental driver of economic growth is ideally positioned to play a transformational role in addressing economic inequality. We need trusted business advisers that understand both social needs and business ethos.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
I’m part of the Oxford Africa Business Alliance, Oxford Social Impact Business Network, Oxford Union, and the Oxford Development consultancy. I’m still looking to join a slam poetry society and a club which does photography for fun

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?
#LiveToFulfilPurpose #BeYOU

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