My MBA journey
Three MBA students explain how a Saïd Business School education has shaped their career.
Kareem Edwards, 27, from Trinidad and Tobago, took a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of the West Indies and then worked at BG Group (recently acquired by Shell) for five years in different countries around the world before deciding to embark on an MBA at Saïd Business School.
He says: ‘I wanted to increase my business acumen, get out of my comfort zone and try something different. As someone with a science background, I wanted to jump
into the world of business and springboard my career to move into roles of greater responsibility.’
Edwards says he was drawn to Oxford as a globally recognised brand in academic excellence. He says: ‘The School goes beyond a narrow business focus and examines the implications of your activity.
I also thought the MBA was useful in demonstrating how your business can be profitable while ensuring that you help those who need it the most.
‘I realised that people here are not solely interested in making money, but also in social welfare and what it means to be in positions of power, privilege and influence. It helped me think differently about those decisions that can really affect people’s lives, the environment and wider society.
‘You learn so much but you also realise how much you don’t know’
‘At dinner in college you could be sitting next to someone studying 13th-century Chinese architecture. You learn so much but you also realise how much you don’t know, which is very humbling and enlightening.’
He says the School’s careers team were extremely supportive in helping him land a job as
an Operations Manager at Amazon UK, which he will start in November 2016.
Karen Ng, 28, grew up in Hong Kong before studying Government and Economics at the London School of Economics. She moved back to Hong Kong to work for Deutsche Bank in the Equity Capital Markets team, but after two-and-a-half years, she felt it was time for a change. She says: ‘I started to think that there was more to life than earning more money for people who were already extremely wealthy.’ She went on to spend more than two years at a fund that invests in early-stage social ventures before deciding it was time to expand her skill set.
The Saïd Business School was the only MBA programme that Ng applied for as she felt it was most aligned with her social entrepreneurship ambitions.
‘The overall Oxford brand was attractive and it’s a magical city. The School – especially the
Dean – believes that business can be a tool to address global issues and make the world a better place, which is in line with my personal values and interests.’
‘Diversity cuts through the different teams that we work in – whether that is by gender, ethnicity or career background’
Ng secured a scholarship from a foundation in Hong Kong which partly funded her studies. The international dimension to the School was important to her. ‘On the personal side, I can now travel to pretty much any country in the world and I have a friend there, but more importantly, in terms of career progression, I think I'm more culturally aware. The School is very successful in making sure that diversity cuts through the different teams that we work in – whether that is by gender, ethnicity or career background.’
The careers team supported her in securing a job at Big Society Capital, a UK Government-funded social investment provider.
Andreas Glinz, 31, from Switzerland, always knew he wanted to do another degree after his undergraduate studies in Business Administration at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.
‘I just had to get some experience in between to figure out what that degree would be,’
During his undergraduate studies, Glinz worked in IT for IBM and afterwards for ABB, a Swiss power and automation company, in its finance department.
‘You hear from thought leaders in different fields talking about their research, which helped me to see problems from different angles’
He says: ‘It became clear to me that an MBA would be the way to go. I knew it would be interesting to be surrounded by a lot of people from other fields to cross-pollinate ideas. I narrowed it down to one-year MBAs and I decided on Oxford because it was unique – it’s a very holistic programme that looks at the world beyond business. Also, being embedded in a world-class university opens doors.
‘You hear from thought leaders in different fields talking about their research, which helped me to see problems from different angles.
‘It’s a rich and culturally invigorating environment and that would be hard to find anywhere else. The course has international exposure with 340 students from 54 countries. As well as people from banking and consultancy, there are architects, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers – and that really made the experience for me.
I felt I gained a lot in terms of expanding my horizons and connecting the dots between different functions.’
Glinz is excited to be taking up a consultancy role at McKinsey & Co in Zurich at the end of September 2016.
Click here to read the employment report for the MBA class of 2014/15.