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Sandeep T D S

Degree:

MBA

Location:

India

Industry:

Technology

Year:

2021-22

By Sandeep T D S

Meet the Oxford MBA Class of 2021-22: Sandeep T D S

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: Technology

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Technology, Strategy Consulting

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: India

College: Harris Manchester College

I chose Harris Manchester College because it allows me to mingle with brilliant people pursuing different subjects at Oxford. With a minimum student age of 21, I am excited to learn about theology, medicine, law and what not without worrying about feeling ancient.

Also, it doesn’t hurt that the college is just a 15-minute walk away from Saïd.

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

Best friend: Affable
Manager: Empathetic

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

I was born in a tiny town in India but was moved to the country’s capital within a month. As the son of an Indian Naval Officer and a homemaker, I’ve grown up in 9 cities across India. There’s a running joke in my family that my upbringing has been so all over the place that I speak my mother tongue as a second language. I am grateful for my childhood, as it imprinted the importance of being multi-cultural at a tender age.

During undergrad, I studied Computer Science Engineering. From founding an environment club, an international exchange program to publishing the first-ever annual magazine of the university, activities both inside and outside the classroom made my 4-year journey unforgettable.
In fact, the seed to MBA was laid here as I understood that I enjoy collaborating with people to bring ideas to life.

Upon graduation, I joined SAP, an enterprise software manufacturer, as a software developer. As part of my employment, SAP sponsored my master’s in software engineering. While I worked full-time during weekdays and studied during the weekends, I enjoyed the hustle as it allowed me to implement my learnings in the real world instantly.
My professional experience solidified my desire to do an MBA as the value of implementing skills acquired through an MBA became apparent.

Three years ago, I got an opportunity to transition into product management. This was the goal all along! Within a few months, I could identify that I needed to upskill myself to be more impactful at work. That’s when I started actively shortlisting MBA programs.

Since I wanted to accelerate in my field, a 1-year program had a higher value proposition than the 2-year ones. My involvement with the Diversity & Inclusion arm of SAP encouraged me to join a program that brought people from different walks of life from across the world together. Saïd Business School instantly shot to the top of my list.

Speaking to the people associated with the school sealed the deal for me. Not only did I want to be around people like them, but I also wanted to become like them.

What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?

There are so many things you can do at Saïd Business School. Thus, I’ve spent most of my time reflecting internally. What are my aspirations, what inspires me, what are my boundaries, “why am I being so philosophical” (*sheepish grin*)?

Eventually, it came down to building lasting friendships, designing an impactful career, and creating unforgettable memories.

I’ve been talking to as many people as I can. Members of the alumni community, my MBA peers, college mates. I’ve also engaged with the unbelievably resourceful career service team to identify areas/roles of interest.

I’ve also tried to get more organised, but alas, there’s still some way to go. Hopefully, in my MBA reflections blog, I’d be satisfied with my progress.

Finally, I’ve been polishing my cooking skills. I just hope that a vegetarian menu is inviting enough for me to share my culture and learn about others.

What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?

I am hoping to break out of the technology bubble!

I’ve done my undergrad and postgrad in computer science and spent six years developing and managing core technical products. While I would like to accelerate my career in tech, I am aware of a world that exists outside of my bubble.

Through classes, projects and interactions with my peers, I hope to gain perspective that would ordinarily take a lifetime.

I want to empower people with technology that helps them unlock their potential and achieve their goals. To be able to do that, I must commit to learning, unlearning, and re-learning.

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

“Say yes even if it scares you.”

I was catching up with my school friend. She broke the news of her upcoming nuptials and me about my MBA. Perhaps, she was drawing from the recent events in her life when she advised me to say yes to new experiences, even if they scare me.

I’ve said yes to leaving my first job ever, said yes to living abroad for the first time, and yes to reinvent myself.

When I’ve said yes the first time for so many things to get to Oxford, it only stands to reason that I continue along this path.

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

Engage! Engage! Engage!

An overwhelming reason for my arrival at Oxford is the people I got to interact with. Listening to the experience of people with such diverse backgrounds and interests helped me understand the program better.

I implore people considering an Oxford MBA to reach out to the students who’ve gone/going through the experience.

I especially want to give a shout out to – Abhishek, Alex, Jazeb (Class of 2021), Mohak, Snigdha (Class of 2020), Ecem, Manureet (Class of 2019), Mayank (Class of 2017), Geetanjali (Class of 2016).

Also, having spoken to some of my peers, I can undoubtedly endorse them as people you would definitely like to chat with.

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

For the past few years, I have harboured a desire to start a venture. While I don’t have an idea that improves people’s lives yet, I don’t want to squander the opportunity. At Oxford, I plan to orbit around the vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem, hoping to be inspired and possibly for brilliance to strike.

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

What’s been keeping me up in the nights for the past few months is the possibility of not forming a meaningful bond with the people I meet at Oxford. Oxford brings together brilliant people from across the world, giving me an unrivalled opportunity to experience the world in a minute’s walk. I want to nurture meaningful relationships, allowing me to pick up the phone and ring my pals up even four decades later.

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

In 2018, I joined an employee resource group focusing on LGBTQIA+ topics. The experience embarrassed me on how little I knew about the people around me. Leading various Diversity & Inclusion efforts has opened my world and made me a more empathetic human being.

At Saïd, I want to expand on my learnings. Thus, preparing myself to foster an inclusive spirit in the diverse teams I build as I evolve in my career.

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

“Mom! Please! Can’t I take a scoop of all the ice cream flavours?”

I can’t find a better way of summing up the debilitating process of identifying just a few things to do.

I’m hoping the vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem at Oxford rubs off on me. So you may find me lurking around Oxford Foundry, the Entrepreneurship Center, Oxford Seed Fund, and Creative Destruction Lab.

I also look forward to meeting fellow tech enthusiasts through the Technology OBN, learn from the experts at the Consulting OBN, and collaborate with Pride@SBS members.

My doors will also always be open if someone wishes to play Monopoly, Risk, The Game of Life, UNO or a new board game of your choice.

Finally, I look forward to shedding a few kilos by playing the sport I love the most – Cricket.

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