Vishnupriya Gupta









By Vishnupriya Gupta

Meet the Oxford MBA Class of 2021-22: Vishnupriya Gupta

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: Consulting, Technology, or CPG

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: India

College: Green Templeton College (I chose GTC because it’s an all-graduate college with the largest MBA population and has an accommodation very close to Oxford Saïd)

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

Best friend: Resilient
Manager: Diligent

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

Soon after graduating, I joined KPMG’s front-end Risk Consulting practice where I designed and implemented Risk Management Systems that were aligned to clients’ strategic priorities – assurance and business processes, internal control systems and frameworks for legal/regulatory compliances. Within a span of ~3 years, I not only worked with global clients from varied sectors ranging from Food & Beverage to Solar Energy but also worked with multiple teams of varied sizes that honed my people management skills.

However, despite learning immensely in the first few years, I did not see myself in Risk Consulting in the long term. The work became repetitive and less challenging, and my learning curve flattened. That’s when I knew I had to upskill myself so that I could move to roles that are far more stimulating, and require global mindset, dexterity, and out-of-the-box approach – MBA was a natural step in the process.

While shortlisting MBA programs, I followed the process of elimination based on geography and duration of the MBA. I wanted to pursue my MBA in the UK and was more interested in the 1-year programmes. After having gotten through 2 programmes of my choice, Oxford MBA stood out because of the University experience, diverse and truly international cohort, and strong brand value across the globe.

What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?

I’m a deferred candidate, and despite all the personal, financial, and professional hardships, wanted to make the best of the pandemic year. I joined Sattva Consulting (a Management Consulting firm with a focus on impact) for 4 months on a special COVID-19 project – and eventually was promoted to the newly founded Corporate Strategy team for the next 8 months where I worked closely with the Co-founder to strategize and implement Sattva’s 3-Year Strategy, improve internal processes and program-manage leadership projects. This work experience enabled me to further build on my critical thinking and problem-solving skills and I felt better prepared for the MBA.

Additionally, I attended Dan Kiernan’s (SBS Career Coach) incredible career workshops, talked to SBS alumni from different target industries, pursued basic finance courses on Wallstreet Prep, and connected with my future classmates on Zoom to learn their motivations and ambitions.

What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?

In hindsight, my deferral year was a blessing in disguise and I realized how much I loved to problem solve, especially in an ambiguous environment. I hope to further build on my problem-solving skills & structured thinking, learn from my incredible classmates’ experiences and professors in classrooms to prepare myself for roles at the intersection of Strategy and Technology.

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

The best advice that I received before commencing my MBA was to start narrowing down career choices early by speaking with school career advisors, alumni, industry experts, and classmates. While I still cannot pick a particular industry or function that I want to be in, I feel I have considerably narrowed my choices from when I initially started 3 months back and made a shift from an “explorer” to a “transitioner”.

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

I have 2 major pieces of advice for prospective students thinking of applying to the Oxford MBA:

  1. Do not self-reject – Trust your abilities and apply whenever you feel you’re ready! When I was applying, I was told by many naysayers to wait for a couple of years before even considering MBA because I had just 2.5 years of work experience – but I believed in my quality of work and went ahead with my application, and guess what – I got through!
  2. Talk to alumni and current students before kick-starting your application process – and especially connect with people who were able to successfully make the career transition that you’re targeting.

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

One programme that I’m looking forward to the most is the Creative Destruction Lab. The programme pairs students with science-based, early-stage companies for almost 8 months and I feel this programme will provide me with hands-on experience in technology and entrepreneurship.

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

Since the programme is for 1 year, the most challenging part of the programme will be its fast pace. There are dozens of activities happening every day and FOMO will kick-in, so it’ll be very important to create a healthy balance among various extra-curriculars, peer networking and academics.

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

I really appreciate how SBS’s programme is structured around the core theme of “impact” – and with the introduction of compulsory subject “Capitalism in Debate” and GOTO project, the school will enable us to challenge our pre-conceived notion and truly think like the leaders of tomorrow.

While I might not necessarily be working in social impact (actually, you never know!), I’ll be more conscious of my actions towards all the stakeholders of business that will enable me to influence positive change in whatever role I am. I also believe that technology has two extremes – for better or for worse, and I am looking forward to creating products or implementing ideas that will smooth disruption and improve well-being to create better social outcomes.

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

There is something for everybody in the University of Oxford, which makes the MBA experience ever richer and more exciting! In the wider University, I’m really looking forward to joining the Oxford Strategy Group and Harry Potter Club! Within Saïd Business School, I will be joining the Consulting and Global Industries OBN (Oxford Business Network), Oxford India Club and Women in Business Alliance.

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