Oxford MBA @ Said Business School: A million dollar decision

The University of Oxford has been at the forefront of academics for over eight hundred years. Management education wasn’t on the menu till the Said Business School was established in 1996. Now this 1 year MBA in UK is considered among the best in the world.
It has an average GMAT score of 690. At the average age of 29 years, the typical Oxford MBA students has around 6 years of pre-MBA work experience. 93% of the class is from outside the UK.
Earlier we published the story of a million dollar business owner (based outside India) who chose a European bschool (read the story here –> IE Business School MBA Spain).
This time we have the story of Ganesh Prabhu (name changed), another Indian entrepreneur (based in India) who also decided to put his multi-million dollar business on hold to head off to Europe. He chose the Oxford MBA (Said).


Oxford MBA (Said Business School) Admissions Story
by Ganesh Prabhu

“Have I made it large?”

Although these words best describes the tag line of famous booze advertisement. But it also resonated with my thought process around one year back, marking the start of my MBA journey.

Ages back in Feb ’12 – After much deliberation over the possible options to enhance my career progression, I zeroed on the option of MBA. As an entrepreneur by profession, I was doing decent enough (IMO) by managing a family business.

With the aim to diversify my business in other sectors and locations (due to stagnancy in my sector) and also to venture in the consultancy field, I reckoned that an MBA is the degree which can facilitate the journey to my goals.

But before starting the applications, the beast, better known as GMAT, was needed to be tamed. All set for the duel, I booked an appointment for April and started my preparation. [To avoid digressing from the topic, I am cutting short my GMAT prep story and the ordeal consisting of three attempts to improve the score.

Though I will like to mention the core reason behind the low scores earlier – TIMING (No, timing always does not refer to completing all the questions…But we will keep this for another day)]

Not so long ago in Aug ’12 – After fighting the beast multiple times, I decided to end my lust for a high GMAT score and start my application with whatever modest score I had. After doing a SWOT analysis, I figured it out that following a herd mentality would not be bearing any fruits to me.

Some of the challenges were – First, I was comfortably outside the preferred age group of top ranked universities. Further, getting away two years from work was certainly not an option for me, thus programs greater than 16 months were out from my list.

Finally, though my profile was different from the crowd, but not projecting it appropriately would have doomed my prospects rather than proving a cynosure of adcoms’ eyes.

Any MBA applicant can understand that with such constraints the game was needed to be played really well lest getting out of the race. My search for the advisor leads me to MBA Crystal Ball, giving me an opportunity to interact with Sameer Kamat.

Quite impressed with the MBA MAP model, I signed up for the process.

More than the final product i.e the MAP report, the path to the report helped me a lot. The initial call helped me to prepare a structure for my applications and Sameer pointed out the loopholes which were needed to be plugged to make my application watertight.

The follow up call was all about the discussion of the introspection which I have done in the meantime.

With a clearer perspective and scores of edit in my application spreadsheet, I came up with a list of 9 schools grading them in 3 groups wherein there was always a backup plan present if the original plan failed. I formulated the list after considering the deadlines, ranking and relevance to me.

Recent times – Sep, Oct ’12 – This period witnessed a craziness wherein I have applied to slew of schools (precisely 4) and concurrently attended interviews of those.

I was enjoying this phase despite it was quite hectic and was confident to convert at least 3 of these calls into admit.

Sweet December – It’s OXFORD MBA – The month of December brought an end of my application journey. I was admitted to Saïd Business School (SBS, University Of Oxford) for the MBA 2013-14 and a dream has been turned into a reality.

Further down the line, I also got admit from a 1 year MBA in USA & have been invited for interview with another European Bschool, which I politely refused, for I have already made up my mind to join the Oxford MBA at the Said Business School.

I am quite glad that this madness ended with a fruitful end with the pleasure of being an Oxonian and becoming a part of this 800-year-old seat of learning.


If you have queries about the Oxford MBA program, please post them on the Oxford MBA forum


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

4 Comments

  1. MBA Hopeful says:

    Why you rejected Emory?

  2. Ganesh says:

    the one liner answer – Because I selected Oxford ;-)

    To enumerate, it all boils down to the personal preference, post mba career goal, expectation from program, etc…….

    In my case the things in favor of oxford were – greater recognition in desi territory, better networking opportunity ( 225 odd students from 55+ countries) , Flagship program of the institute.

    Although Emory AMBA is also a good program, but the above reasons prompted me to choose SBS over GBS.

    Hope this helps

  3. Sidhartha says:

    Hi Sameer, Ganesh
    I am interested in joining Said Business School myself (for the 2014) batch. I am a BE & MBA with 8 years work ex,primarily in Proces Excellence (Six Sigma, Lean) for the BPO industry. I wanted to check on the following areas:
    -Do you feel my work ex is strong enough for Said?
    -Secondly, what has been your experience with regards to Placements? With the current Visa regulations in place, are Indians (in fact all non EU students) able to get a job in the UK post completing their studies from Said?
    Regards, Sidhartha

  4. Sameer Kamat says:

    Sidhartha, can you pls post this on the forum? The link is provided at the end of the post.

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