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Dârini Vedarattiname

Degree:

MBA

Location:

Canada

Year:

2021-22

By Dârini Vedarattiname

How to change the world… by changing how you see it

One term done, two more to go! I am beyond excited to go through Hilary: Now that most of the core business classes are behind us, make way for the “raise-hell-and-change-the-world” modules! This is what brought me to the Oxford MBA in the first place. Have you ever wondered how you, as an individual, could shake the system and make this world a better place? Let’s be honest, there is a good chance you cannot do it on your own. So where to begin? How to proceed?

Not to worry, Saïd Business School has got your back! Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford, more commonly known as GOTO, is one of the many things that sets the Oxford MBA apart. This course will give you the toolkit you need to orchestrate system reset. First, the program shuffles the cards and assigns you to a new team of collaborators. And because the MBA cohort is filled with extraordinary people, you end up in a group with awesome teammates, who offer a wide range of expertise, and a deep knowledge of various geographies. Then, you get trained by lecturers who know a thing or two about changing the rules of the game. Thanks to a series of successive frameworks, it feels like the MBA is taking you by the hand to guide your thinking on how to move forward. Finally, GOTO prompts you to put theory into practice. Together with your team, you decide on the topic you want to deep dive into, and get to it: As you map relevant stakeholders, design research that will help better frame the issue at stake, and look into possible sustainable solutions to address your problem statement, you will get a chance to leave no stone unturned. This is the kind of intellectual challenge I have been looking for, and going through it while having fun with my team made me realise that anything is possible. I am very well aware that this enormous boost of confidence and rigorous methodology will become invaluable assets after graduation.

But system change at Saïd Business School does not stop here. Extra-curriculars such as the Map the System competition provide extra platforms to dissect an issue of your choice, while teaming up with partners outside of the MBA ecosystem. This is an incredible opportunity to hand-pick your partners in crime by reaching out to the wider University of Oxford, as well as your own network. Instigated by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, the competition invites participants to reinvent how they think systems, and brings together teams from all across the globe to exchange and share ideas.

That brings me to the next element I have been valuing the most during this MBA year: Informal conversations with my peers, that turn out to be life changing. They never happen when you expect it. In fact, they almost never happen on campus, where everyone is so busy rushing from a class to the next, heading to the library to peacefully tackle readings, or hurrying to their next career event, seminar, or coffee chat. They happen when we goof around in the streets of Oxford or go on out-of-town mini adventures. Above all, I found that MBA trips were the golden ticket to these truly enriching discussions. Sure, these days those trips require extra caution, a significant amount of testing, a solid supply of face masks, and accepting that we may have to cancel everything at the last minute. However, I believe they are sure worth facing the uncertainty and trying our luck. I am among the lucky 70+ MBA students who went to Finland to successfully chase northern lights across the Arctic Circle. When surrounded with insightful travel companions, every casual chat can become an aha moment, may they occur on the bus ride from Oxford to the airport, while we wait for a flight, or as we are simply strolling on a frozen lake. These memorable conversations are all about perception, and how I have been viewing the world so far. They challenge patterns I have become accustomed to, and offer alternatives to consider. As the months go by, I can see myself break free from past limitations, thanks to these talks with my classmates.

Peer-learning has always been my inspiration, but my MBA at Saïd Business School keeps triggering powerful breakthroughs in both my personal and professional life, opening a path ahead that goes beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

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