It was only three weeks ago when I boarded the bus to Oxford and it already seems like a truckload of experiences. From biking by the Thames canal, dancing to Bhangra tunes in pubs, attending ‘Harry Potteresque’ formal dinners to having drinks with dinosaurs, it’s been a surreal experience.
I come from India – a bustling, growing country with immense diversity, ambitions, and yet, a sense of community. Growing up, I recognized the severe social adversity around me and how access to opportunities could limit an individual’s overall development. Looking back, these experiences have guided the majority of my decisions: from pursuing a career as a social impact consultant at Sattva Consulting to working as an educational mentor for Make a Difference (A non-profit focused on the education of children of shelter homes). I hope to continue in my journey towards greater equity even post my MBA.
It’s been almost 6 years of relentless work and I was nervous about being back in a classroom. Getting adjusted to the technology, extreme pace of work, being at your best in all kinds of settings takes a toll pretty quickly. But I soon realized that the feeling is not mine alone and I have multiple modes of seeking help, getting advice, and progressing in my learning journey. Further, living within my college, it was not too hard to find like-minded individuals and I have now started to feel much at home in Oxford.
Moreover, I realize the sheer grandness of the Oxford experience and I am learning to soak in it one day at a time. On one day, you could be sitting in Port Meadows admiring the swans and horses and on the next, you could be talking to the co-founders of global businesses. I was particularly inspired by a panel led by Alan Jope describing how Unilever has been taking strides to make its value chain sustainable. Maybe capitalism isn’t as bad as you’d imagine?
The MBA experience at Oxford is not just about academics and parties – but also about building lifelong connections with a very rich community. I am hoping this to be one of the biggest takeaways after my year. I am excited about student clubs like Impact Lab, Creative Destruction Lab, industry-focused business networks, and culture-driven societies that are aplenty. I have probably signed up for more than I can possibly fit into my schedule. But that’s a problem that is easy to deal with. The bigger concern is to not be bogged down by how overwhelming all this can be, to be focused on my larger vision, and to have a fulfilling year. Hoping to achieve all this and more during my year.
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“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” ― Christopher McCandles