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Oxford MBA (Said) – How Jaskirat got an Oxbridge brand on his resume

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)

Oxford MBA Said | Oxbridge JaskiratYear 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.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

30 thoughts on “Oxford MBA (Said) – How Jaskirat got an Oxbridge brand on his resume”

  1. Hi Jaskirat,

    What do you think about the likelihood of a candidate (with no previous experience in UK and an MBA from top European business schools such as IESE, Rotterdam, HEC ) getting a job in UK?

    MBA Roadie.

  2. Hi MBA Roadie,

    With the likes of Tier – 1 visa nearly shut down (only 1000 people with exceptional abilities allowed in a year), the biggest challenge for a candidate with no UK experience and MBA from a top European school will be to convince a UK employer to a do a Tier 2 (Work Permit) visa for you. Recent pointers are that employers are finding it hard to sponsor work permits and are preferring to fill in positions with Candidates who have work Authorisation in the UK.
    Banks are generally open to sponsor work permits. So if you looking
    for a Post MBA career in IB and the school attracts big IB firms, they
    could potentially offer you a position in UK.

    I will advise you to get in touch with Indian Alumni from these schools to get a real feel of how people moved across Europe and landed jobs with employers in the UK.

  3. Hi Jasikrat,
    I’m into the final year of my engineering and have been placed with a software company. How much do the boards and undergrad percentages influence one’s chances, especially for the type of schools you applied for ( Duke, Carnegie Mellon, Yale, oxford)? my Gmat score is 700 and can i’m planning to gain 2-3 yrs of work-ex before applying, but my previous acads are not very good.
    Thanks 🙂

  4. Hi Jaskirat,
    Trust you are doing well!

    Just wanted to seek your advice and valuable suggestions..

    I gave the GMAT in October 2011.. scored 650.. was expecting a far better score (since i was doing very well on GMAT preps), but I guess it just wasn’t my day!!

    Nwaz.. I have more than 3.5 years of experience in Business Consulting in BIG 4′s.. N i think i have been able to build up a good work profile over the last few years… I have only applied to Manchester Business School. I have been shorlisted for face-to-face interview round with the Director (scheduled in January 2012)

    I am looking to pursue a career in Strategy/Management Consulting post MBA. Manchester’s fantastic curriculum (live consulting projects etc)seems quite attractive. According to you, is Manchester MBA highly regarded for pursuing a career in Strategy Consulting? Would you consider Manchester MBA as one of the top-tier schools in the UK? The job situation and post MBA employment in the UK is a big concern for me, as am looking forward to work for a few years in the UK post MBA (for obvious reasons).

    Just had one more confusion.. Is it necessary to get an employer sponsorhip for shifting from tier 4 to tier 2 visa? I thnk I read somewhere that MBAs graduating from top tier schools in the UK might not require an emploer sponsorship.. Is it true?

    I am sorry for stretching this message too long.

    I would highly appreciate your help and inputs!!


    • Aditya,

      Answering your 3 queries:

      – Strategy Consulting Jobs:
      Manchester Business School isn’t exactly known to be a consulting heavy brand. So you will have to do it the old fashioned way – networking.

      – Branding:
      Many would consider it to be a good school, but not in the top tier league as London Business School. So go with moderated expectations.

      – Visa:
      The story about being able to sponsor your own visa (if you were from the top global schools) was true a few years ago. That’s how I got mine when I graduated from a UK school. But the new visa rules have changed all that. Now you would require employer sponsorship.

      I see that you’ve already interacted with Nitin Vig on his post on Manchester Business School. For others who haven’t read that one yet, Nitin got in with a generous scholarship at Manchester, but decided to take up Kelley…where he got an even bigger and more generous scholarship.

      • Hi Sameer,

        Thank you very much for answering my queries. I am highly confused!!! I strongly felt that Manchester’s curriculum would act as a perfect breeding ground for pursuing a career in Stragety consulting.. But i guess its not the way I think.
        I think one of the main bottlenecks in my profile is my low GMAT score.. Am clueless as to whether I should go ahead with Manchester (provided I get admitted) or re-take my GMAT and plan for 2013 season. Icing on the cake is the current visa concerns in the UK.. Just dont know what to do.

        Sameer.. Any suggestions/comments on my above mentioned points??? I am soo damn clueless.

        P.S. I had ordered your book – “Beyond the MBA Hype“. Got it delivered today through Flipkart.. Hope I get more clarity on the B-schools subject 🙂

        Again, thanks a ton for your support and suggestions!


        • AB sir,
          Getting a consulting job has more to do with industry ties, institutional and personal contacts, your ability to crack case study interviews, your overall impact on the recruiter (personality, communication skills, analytical ability) and less to do with what you learn in a class (though that’s important too).

          Having said that Manchester Business school has been around for long enough to have alumni in all industries, including consulting. Interestingly they haven’t featured anyone from the management consulting industry on their alumni testimonials page.

          But consulting opportunities go beyond the McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Group league. So if you go with an open mind and loads of energy (you’ll need that when you start knocking on doors), you can aim for a break in boutique consulting firms or maybe Deloitte, PwC kinda firms as well.

          Unless you are very sure that you can do much better next year, I’d say go with Manchester. It’s a good school.

          • Hi Sameer,

            Thank you again for answering my queries. I completely agree with your views. I guess I need to figure out whether I need to re-take my GMAT and plan for 2013 session. As of now, I would streamline my focus toward the manchester interview scheduled in January 2012 (since I am only applying to Manchester for 2012 season). I guess I need to take it step-by-step.

            Thank you very much for your sugesstions!

  5. Hi Sameer

    I feel MBA is more about brand name than anything else(although other things matter but the brand value matters the most). A degree designed to sell. It is clear case of being able to get a leverage or competitive edge over others through a branded degree.

    I have applied to ISB, University of Rochester-Simon and NUS. I have got in through Rochester with partial scholarship. I feel that I should apply to Judge and Said. Here is my profile:

    Age : 25 years

    GMAT – 700 (QA-50, VA-35, AWA- 4.5)

    Work Experience: 3+ years
    (2 Years with Accenture as Business support analyst,
    1.5+ year Evalueserve as Business analyst,
    Now a Senior business analyst/project lead)

    Bachelors: B.Tech in Electronics and Communication with a CGPA of 8.9/10.

    1. Ventured into a partime startup (social media marketing and blogertising startup with a name 3ardents)
    2. Student representative in college for 3 years.
    3. Decent Extra curriculars.
    4. Scholarship holder at college for 4 years.

    Areas of interest:
    1. Consulting
    2. Strategy and Entrepreneurship.

    I understand that the average work experience for the applicants is nearly 6+ years for Oxford and Cambridge. Should i wait for next year or go ahead and apply this year itself?

    Thanks & Regards

  6. Ankit bhai,

    Congrats on the Rochester admit. Scholarship, yaaaay! [clap clap]

    For the second question, I think it would be too early for you to apply to Oxford and Cambridge for reasons that you’ve provided in your post. You’ll extract more from the program if you have more experience to appreciate and absorb all that happens inside and outside the class.

    The Cambridge MBA Dean along with the Adcom team invited me to meet them during their India trip. The Dean spent a considerable time explaining what they look for in prospective students. They had come down to personally interview a few selected candidates and their profiles are very strong.

    The youngest one who got in from India had around the same experience that you do, but she was a successful entrepreneur who had done exceedingly well with her startup.

  7. Hi
    I just completed my MBA at Leicester ( with Merit), and I was thinking to do some study at at a top university. but definitely something simpler than a Phd. Can anyone give me any advice?
    thanks in advance

  8. Fadi,

    The answer to that would depend on your current profile and your short/long term goals. Maybe the additional degree isn’t required if your MBA can get you there.

    Send us the details to the following email ID (info at mbacrystalball dot com) and we’d be happy to share our 2 cents.

  9. Hi,

    I am planning do a 1yr mba in India starting in 2013 Session. As of now I have 4 years 8 months in IT development.
    So I fall to the typical IIM (Indian IT male) group. I have plans to apply for IIM C PGPEX, XLRI GMP and ISB.
    I have checked i am eligible for all of these as I will have 5+ yrs of exp by march 31,2013.

    IIM C application date is approaching fast(31st Aug,2012). Can you please suggest how do I attract attention of the adcoms.

    My profile:
    Acads : 83 % in 10; 73 in 12; 73 in B-Tech
    Professional: 4yrs 8 months(total) , 5 months intl exposure (as of today). I am working now for 3 years for one of the biggest brokerage houses in USA(it is my client)
    EC: Quizzing, Scouts in school days, I used to regularly participate in BrainStorming that used to come in The Telegraph every Monday half a decade back.
    Short Term Goals: I want to join a i-bank in Research division
    Long term Goal : Open a startup where I get to work on data analytics.
    GMAT : 730 (V 40, Q 50, AWA -not yet received)

  10. Indra,

    Our clients have got into all the schools you are aiming for. So if you are looking for professional help with your applications, drop us a note at: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

    Alternatively, if you are looking for high-level inputs, can you please post your questions on our IIMC PGPex forum where current students of the 1 year program you are targetting will address your queries.

  11. Hi Guys,

    I am a healthcare management professional (Doctor) with 4.5yrs + experience. My qualifications include PG dip in HR & post that entrepreneurial management program from IIM Bangalore. I have worked in family business for a year and projects in Indian & Singapore healthcare industry. Also, I have scaled up the healthcare IT startup from scratch in last 1.5 yrs.

    My concerns – Low gmat score – 560 and restraint of able to spend one year for MBA. Just want to know if Oxford (Said) will accept profile like mine?

    My short term goal (5 yrs post MBA) – work in IB/Top Consulting firm

    Long term vision – Entrepreneur

    Also, do suggest any other Exec MBA (full time) program in Singapore/Europe/UK/US which will match with my profile & goals.

    Thanks in advance.


  12. Pooja,

    The GMAT score will be the biggest deal-breaker for the top schools.

    But apart from the obvious factor, there are others that you need to seriously think about as well.

    1. In 4.5 years, you’ve already dabbled in too many ventures. You’ll need a strong story to justify all those transitions.

    2. Short term post MBA goals may seem impractical as you’ve talked about Investment banking AND top consulting. Why do you think these are good career options for you?

    3. Long term goals will also seem logical disconnected.

    4. It’s tough to talk about selection of MBA programs, unless you sort out the basics first.

    Some serious background work required here, Pooja.

  13. Hi,

    I am a final year Economics(H) student from Delhi University. I have a GMAT score of 700. I wanted to know will it be better to join my family business after my course completion or should i work where i get placed. I am planning to get a minimum 3 years work experience before applying to any B- School.

    I really wanted to know what will be a better option so that i get into a reputed B-School when it is the right time.

    If i join my family business will it increase or decrease the probability of acceptance of my application.

    Looking Forward to your Suggestions

    Thanks and Regards

  14. Hi

    I have taken admission for MBA in 2013 in Bath university. I am planning to take up Marketing specialisation as it is a related field to my previous 5 yrs work ex. in retail industry as brand manager.
    I have two specific questions:
    1. Is marketing specialisation a good option in UK?
    2. After relaxed norms are the conditions for MBAs great for jobs?( as your last post in Jan ’13)


  15. @Ashu: Joining the family business will not reduce or enhance your chances. What you do in your role there will matter more. Immerse yourself, understand how things work and make a strong impact. Adcoms will take you seriously.

    @Aditi: Be aware that it’s getting tougher for international students to get jobs. However, your background in marketing should give you a head-start in the job hunting. But the situation is far from great.

  16. hi
    i have not scored good in my class 12th and i did my engineering from not so good college(2013 passout) , currently i am working in wipro as a tech support officer ,

    i have a dream of doing my MBA from oxford university ,i was wondering if i have a good working experience of 5-6 years and involvement with social activities at work and beyond and a good score in GMAT followed by a super cool essay .

    will they still put more stress on my class12th marks can this be a possible reason for my rejection or should i quit this dream of doing MBA from oxford university all together.?

    please clarify my doubts as website of the university indicates that marks can be waived if the candidate has shown some serious responsibility in his job

    hoping for your answer

  17. Hi Sameer Gi,
    Im doing engineering(1st year from R.G.I.T college Mumbai) my markes from5-12 stand are no so good(below avarege) and probably i will have a job experiace with anavarege companies.But its my dream to do MBA FROM OXFORD university, i have the ability to maintain good percentile throughout my graduation..nd scrore in gmat..please be frank can i do mba FROM OXFORD or not

  18. Hello Sameer,

    It is an extremely informative blog, giving many of us sneak peek into the other the other side of the world – Oxford. I am sure it answers a lot of questions for eligibility criteria, the life and tenure of the course for not only me but many others also. Thanks for composing it!
    I am an SAP professional with 6+ years of experience in consulting major business houses like adidas and Volvo. I wanted to check if you have any information and the credits a ‘Global Diploma Program’ at Oxford may bring with it. As it is a comparatively new course there is little information available. So would like to look for any first hand information from you. It would be a great help.

    Thanks a lot.


  19. Hi Sameer,

    Here’s my profile:

    Bachelors in Architecture from NIT(2002-2007)
    Masters in Urban Planning from IIT (2007-2009)
    Very good acads throughout and a good amount of co-cirruclars/sports to boast of.

    Total work ex of 4.5 years
    Worked as Architect Planner at an International Architectural & Planning firm for about 2.5 years(2009-2011)
    And shifted to my current role of a Transaction Manager(oct 2011 to present) in Real Estate and Business Location Advisory in an International Property consulting firm.(Awards, recognitions & promotions to write about)

    I am presently preparing for my GMAT(Hope to get a 700+ score) and shortlisting colleges. Targeting mostly at 1 year MBA’s
    Really interested in L.BS, Cambridge, Oxford and also warwik in UK and INSEAD/IMD in EU

    Does my profile stands a good chance for the above schools?
    Also can you highlight on placement scenario in these colleges, job opportunities post an MBA in UK/EU, ROI etc.

  20. @Rahul: Your school marks aren’t that relevant. But Oxford and Cambridge expect a minimum of first class or equivalent in the graduation degree. Try to get good marks in your engineering and then work hard to develop a well-rounded profile.

    @Somil: Can’t help you with that query, as I am not aware of that program. Sorry 🙁

    @Pratyusha: We can’t recommend schools on the forum or talk about chances for the following reason: how not to select bschools.
    The RoI can be good for these programs as the investment (MBA fees + opportunity cost) is lower than American MBA programs. However, with lingering work permit issues and a not-so-buoyant economy, the big challeng you’d have to tackle is to get the right job.

  21. Hi Samir,

    I have got a question that will serve life changing to me. I have admit offers from ISB Hyderabad and Oxford’s Said Business School. A little bit about me – just 2 years and 8 months of experience, working with Ernst & Young and have had a quick promotion, plus have a social start-up that picked up quite well.

    Though I am interested in becoming an entrepreneur in thevlonf run, I want to work for at least 5 years before I engage in full time entrepreneurship and at least pay back my loan. For Oxford, its going to be a 50L+ loan. I am ready to take that debt mentally if I would be able to get a job there. Heard that the Visa regulations are getting better, but again not sure about that.

    I am in a big fix. What would you suggest brother?

  22. @Akshay: Oxford is cleary the much stronger brand in here. That’ll help you for enterpreneurship as well as jobs. But it is always a risk to find jobs abroad, and specially in European countries. If you are ready to take the risk, I’d suggest Oxford. If you aren’t ready for the financial burden, ISB is a good option too.

  23. sir
    iam bca final year student i have my final year exam in month of june . after bca i want move to my pg in mba
    will u plez guid me how can i prepare for oxford and scholarships from university also…..


  24. Hello Sameer
    I got face to face interview call from Said Business school. My career goal is social entrepreneurship. What kind of question can be expected in interview.
    Thank you
    Rajiv Pandey


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