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.
Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Language services
Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Technology, consumer goods
Country of residence before coming to Oxford: US and Taiwan
College: Exeter College
Best friend: Empathetic
Given my dad’s former career as a diplomat, the one constant I had growing up was transiency as I moved to and from six countries across five continents. Although as a kid I hated having to uproot my life every few years, as an adult I find it hard to not look for the next move after staying in one place for a few years.
With that in mind, some thought I would follow in similar footsteps of diplomacy when I decided to study International Affairs in undergrad, with a minor in Journalism. However, I ultimately leveraged my studies with my passion for language-learning to start a career at the world’s largest language services provider. As a Project Manager-turned Vendor Manager, I collaborated with talented linguists from all corners of the globe to deliver translations that were essential to setting up life-saving clinical trials beyond the English-speaking world. Over time, my role focused more on launching vendor-related process improvement initiatives, through which I worked more closely with tech and engineering colleagues. Being involved in pushing forward multiple tech integrations made me more interested in learning about the ways that technology could be leveraged to not only create efficiency, but also enable sustainability and responsible business practices in more diversified sectors. This was coupled with my previously noted tendency to feel an “itch” after staying put in one place for several years.
There were two things that I decided early on as I looked to make my desired transition:
The Oxford MBA stood out for the following reasons:
Of course, being a Harry Potter fan, the incredible medieval architecture that set the backdrop of various Harry Potter movies certainly added some brownie points for Oxford!
Because I come from a more niche sector and did not study business, I want to build a stronger foundational knowledge of management and strategy that would enable me to better understand the effects of key decisions on various units within an organization and beyond. With that foundation, I hope to be able to intuitively apply a systems-thinking approach to assess how certain business goals could align with maximizing impact and sustainability, regardless of the type of role or sector I’m in. Most importantly, I hope to come away from the MBA with life-long friendships with peers who will challenge me with their diversity of thought and experiences.
“Maintain your independence of thought, and don’t get sucked into what everyone is doing, whether it’s career direction or social activities.”
I’m looking forward to the collective experience that the Oxford MBA presents: having the opportunity to deepen my understanding in various aspects of business management through core and tailored elective courses, while applying these learnings and new ideas through co-curricular activities and group projects, in particular GOTO and Entrepreneurship Project. What will make the program even more special are the opportunities at the wider university: the college experience, Oxford Union debates, Oxford Foundry, the list goes on and on. The prospect of interacting with and learning from such a diverse group of peers, which has already started before the MBA, also can’t be highlighted enough.
Aside from courses that are more quantitative heavy such as accounting and corporate finance, the most challenging part of the program will be saying no to the myriad activities to take part in, and being at peace with FOMO (fear of missing out).
This is a question that I hope I’ll have a more concrete response to by the end of the program! With that said, my goal is that, with the combination of social impact as a key theme of Oxford’s curriculum and the exposure to a wide range of experiences from my peers and professors, I will learn to analyse and approach problems with a more expansive mindset that is oriented around positive change.
Knowing that I tend to overextend myself, I’ve been trying hard the last few weeks to not apply to all of the co-curricular opportunities that are already available before I’ve even arrived in Oxford. For now, I’m hoping to join the Creative Destruction Lab and the Tech OBN. As a podcast enthusiast, I’d also like to help revive the student-run Future of Business podcast. As for sports, I look forward to exploring new running paths and improving in tennis. I’d love to give rowing a try as well – I hear it’s a must in Oxford!
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