Chloë Payne




United Kingdom





By Chloë Payne

Meet the Oxford MBA Class of 2021-22: Chloë Payne

We are excited to welcome the Oxford MBA Class of 2021-22 to Oxford this September. Get to know our incoming students in this blog post series as they prepare to join Saïd Business School.

Tell us about yourself

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Consulting

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Entrepreneurship or Venture Capital

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: UK

College: St Hugh’s

In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would your manager describe you?

Best friend: Organised!
Manager: Also, organised!

Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in Oxford, so I already had a slightly biased view!

However, it was not an easy or certain route here.

I had known I wanted to do an MBA for several years, but a culmination of events last year, and my personal beliefs, really put my foot on the accelerator. My view of my (personal) career journey, is that we have such a short time to make a difference.

And through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and whilst volunteering in a food bank in East London, I was horrified by the inequality and inefficiency of the global food system.

At that point, I decided that consulting, which is very rewarding in itself, was not enough for me anymore. I knew that now was the time.

I truly believe that individuals can shift attitudes and systems through the power of private markets, and I have a resounding certainty that we need to do more with less. Hence, my pursuit of an MBA and a future career journey into entrepreneurship and venture capital!

However, I was particularly drawn to Oxford for several reasons: its strong focus on global initiatives and sustainability, its focus on system thinking, as well as Oxford being a world-renowned research university.

In my future career, I will leverage the power of technological innovation to help shift the world’s flawed food system; and what university has more scientific and research might than Oxford? Oxford is unquestionably the right place for me.

What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?

  1. Cycling, everywhere, as much as possible. I’ll be a pro by the start of Michaelmas term!
  2. I was also lucky enough to gain a summer internship at a venture capital firm (which focuses on sustainable food ventures!). This was excellent for me, as I had no experience in the industry, and I was incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity. Of course, this is by no means necessary or recommended for everyone, it just works for me.

What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?

At the moment, I can’t even anticipate the breadth of the experiences I’ll gain from the MBA.

However, through the experiential learning focus of the MBA, I can’t wait to step outside of my comfort zone and learn about my peer’s experiences and opinions. The Oxford MBA is particularly diverse, and the learnings of that diverse cohort will allow us to all become better global business leaders in the future.

What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?

I would say there are two pieces of advice which stand out:

Firstly, to make the most of a very fast paced year. The Oxford MBA provides more opportunities than we technically have time to grasp, and you must be good at choosing those which are best for you.

And secondly, to relax and enjoy it. It’s a wonderful year in a wonderful city, and it’s good to step back and appreciate that.

Do you have any advice about the Oxford MBA application process for candidates thinking of applying?

Yes! Most importantly – introspection. Understand your motivations, your beliefs, and what drives you. If you can do this, your sincerity and integrity will shine through in a tough application process.

What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?

It’s so difficult to choose in such a packed year.

I think am most looking forward to the CDL-Oxford (Creative Destruction Lab!). It’s a great way to interact with exciting young enterprises and shape their businesses.

What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?

I think the most challenging part of the programme will be finding balance. I am naturally, a very extroverted introvert. I love to socialise, but also need time to recharge. The MBA is very hands-on (not to mention the ad-hoc, informal fun) so I need to make sure I look after myself enough to embrace it.

How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?

This is a tough one – mostly because I don’t (quite) know the answer yet! As I said, I know the career format (entrepreneurship, venture capital) and the direction of travel (sustainable food systems). The MBA will give me the network and skills to continue to develop my business plan/and or focus on an impact investing route.

Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?

Again – almost too many to choose from. I’ll be exploring sports (hockey and lacrosse) for sure, and the student opportunities at the Oxford Seed Fund. It’s a busy year, so I’ll have to pick wisely!

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