Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oxford MBA Open Day




I arrived in the city of Oxford to the magnificent sight of the Said Business School building.....a fantastic piece of architecture... I was received most graciously by a smiling Liz Buckle (the MBA Marketing Officer) and then ushered into a room filled with other people from around the world also looking to do their MBA at Oxford. There were two nice Singaporean architects working on projects in Morocco, Egypt and other countries in the middle east, a Norwegian management consultant who, together with a few of his friends started a small spin off consulting outfit in Norway, a Ghanaian PhD holder from Warwick, a Chinese gentleman who owns a software development company among others.
The day started off with a nice presentation by Darren (a member of the admissions team) where he laid out some facts......they had well over a thousand applications last year most of which were from Asia and North America. They extended interview invites to about 500 people and admitted about 232 people an implied yield of 50% post interview and about 20% post application.
We had a question and answer session with current students where they were supposed to cut the 'bullshit' out and tell it like it is. To be honest, there wasn't much bullshit to cut out because the earlier presenters were all frank and honest. This was followed by lunch where we got to talk and network which was excellent.
The next activity was a presentation by the MBA Director....he was nice, frank and funny and tried to give his presentation in a way such that it answered important questions like 1 year or 2 year, Oxford or Wharton and Europe or North America. I left at this point to have my interview (more on that later).
I returned just in time for a brilliant lecture in Strategy by a Professor at the school. It was hands down the most brilliant and funniest lecture I'd ever been in and i must say it left me wanting to have such lectures for a whole year (yeah i know they must have gotten their most entertaining lecturer to do this but it doesn't matter, if all their lecturers are a quarter as entertaining and brilliant as he is, i would have no complaints)
This was followed by a presentation by the Director of the school's career service (he interviewed me (gasp!)). He was also very surprisingly frank. The crux of his message was....don't expect companies to want to rush you just because you have three freshly minted letters in front of your name. Its a recession and employers are no longer in the habit of paying people £60k a year to 'find' themselves......you must bring something to the table on day one! He also encouraged people who had unique experiences, cultural advantages and skill sets to focus on those unique attributes and use it to sell themselves during their job search.
I stayed and chatted with a few people before heading for the Oxford station for my train back to paddington. The school is literally next to the station and as such commuting via train is hands down the easiest way to get to the school. Just get to the popular paddington station in central London and board a 'first western' train and stop at the Oxford station (I think the train's final destination is Hereford).
My post open day impression? I now reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to attend this school.....

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