Before Oxford MBA at the Said Business School made its mark came Oxford University, a name that’s been around in the academic world for 8 centuries. If you have no clue how far back in time this was, it was after dinosaurs had disappeared from the face of earth and before internet sensation Govind Tiwari discovered the transcendental world of Photoshop. Jaskirat Baweja discovered Oxford much later, but he knew this was the place for him to pursue his MBA.
My Oxford MBA Journey (Said Business School)
Year 2001, I finished my engineering degree and was ready to start my career in software world. I always knew that I wanted to work for a few years and then get an MBA from a Top Business School.
When I started my job, one of my colleagues was going to join London Business School and I understood from him what the admissions process was and how to go for it. I took the GMAT in 2002 and scored 660, however I planned to apply only once I had a good few years of experience.
My job required me to travel a lot and work with Telecom clients in different countries. I started thinking seriously about going to B-School applications after 3 years when I had good career progression with 3 promotions and experience of managing multiple projects. It was coming to a point when projects were becoming repetitive and I wanted to move to the next level in my career. I had kept a good balance of work and other engagements and was involved with social activities at work. I helped in recruiting and interviewing freshers, and enhancing the interview and on-boarding process apart from my regular job. All these experiences helped me distinguish myself in the applications.
Fast Forward to year April 2004 and I had decided on applying for Fall 2005 start. Started with meeting a few alumni and reading up blog posts on Businessweek as they were the only resources you could access in addition to the business school events that happen in Delhi. First thing I knew was that since I belong to the most common group of applicant pool, I will have to improve my GMAT score to have a decent chance of my application being considered. I analysed my previous scored and realised my shortcoming and started preparing with a massive focus on the verbal section. Two months of solid preparation and 710 in GMAT with good balanced scores in Quant and Verbal sections meant I was all set to apply. GMAT was the easy part, the more difficult and important part was the essays and conveying myself as a good fit for the schools I was targeting.
I spent a lot of time on developing my essays and got them reviewed by a few friends. In those days there were not many essay review services and the ones available were prohibitively expensive. So late night brainstorms with good friends and multiple edits and drafts to cover all bases meant I spent almost 2 months getting the first satisfactory draft of essays ready.
My choice of schools as mainly business schools in the UK – Oxford MBA, LBS, Cambridge and Manchester. I wanted to come to the UK as it is closer to India as compared to US and my girlfriend (now wife) was also in London . However I did apply to a few US schools which were included Duke, Carnegie Mellon, Yale and UC- Irvine.
Now armed with picture perfect essays ;), I submitted my applications to these schools, some in first round and others in round two. The hard work paid off and I received interview calls from all the schools I applied to. Till now it was all perfect, but I botched up my first couple of interviews as I did the cardinal sin of not doing a thorough preparation for the interviews and especially missed on the most important mock interviews. However the rough experiences meant I learnt from my mistakes and practised for the others.
Once the final results were out I had a choice of Oxford MBA, Cambridge MBA – with a part scholarship and a full scholarship at Manchester Business School as the schools in UK. After speaking to Alumni and looking at my post MBA goals and interests, Said Business School at Oxford seemed to be my preferred choice.
It was a great learning and life experience of studying at this hallowed University. One year went by very quickly and job applications started almost in the first term. I wanted to work in Consulting and picked up my first job shortly after completing my MBA at Oxford. The job was interesting and took me places and my Oxford experience and learning was handy throughout. From there on I moved into consulting for the media sector on technology and collaboration and I am currently working for a media company, helping them in a transformation engagement.
For all people considering UK business schools, the biggest question these days is the visa issues and UK government closing down on routes of immigration. These concerns are very valid concerns and you should take this into consideration while applying to the business schools in the UK. Lot of companies will do a work permit once they select you. However at the current moment, I have spoken to a few Indian candidates and they are facing a situation where recruitment consultants and organisations seem to preferring students who have work authorisation. For non-EU MBA students, recruiters and placement consultants prefer people with post-study work visas and prior UK work experience. So it can become tough for Indian candidates especially the ones who are not from the top-tier schools in the UK.
All valid concerns and you should take this in account while thinking about return on your investment. I know quite a few alumni who have gone back to work in India straight after the MBA from Oxford and there is a good recognition for the school in Indian Business circles.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
Govind Tiwari unfortunately will not be taking questions on this site. But we are sure Jaskirat-bhai will do a better job. So if you want to know more about the Oxford MBA or the UK employment situation after the changes in the immigration law, here’s your chance.