Oxford MBA

Matriculation madness, a brutal workout, and a win for ‘He Saïd, She Saïd”!

I could be an extra in Harry Potter, no?

I feel like I start all my blog posts with variations on the theme of; “where on earth has this week gone?!” But I genuinely mean it. No really, where has the week gone? Time is absolutely flying by: I’m doing my best to cram as much into my days as possible, but the FOMO is still real!

We have three announcements to start this blog post with, namely:

  1. We won the pub quiz on Wednesday night! After the disappointment of second place two weeks ago, we went back for the win and despite being a man down, we actually won! (Not that I’m competitive or anything….)
  2. I got a place in the Ideation Lab. This was a very exciting email to receive from the Entrepreneurship Centre, saying that my application had been successful so we start next Friday with our first module (more prep work to add to the list!)
  3. I didn’t get chosen as Co-President of the Student Council. We do, however, have two great MBAs who were chosen, so it’s probably a blessing in disguise, especially with the amount of work we have piling up!

So how was the week besides the announcements? Well, pretty great I’d say. I started my week off with a great Zoom call with an ex-colleague at Boden. Jill was the CEO of Boden when I worked there, and someone I really admired and looked up to. Since leaving Boden, we kept in touch and she continues to provide me with pearls of wisdom and inspiration, so a call with her on Monday morning was a great way to start my week.

Tuesday morning started with 7am MBA run club. I do most of my runs on my own (although I do really miss Doncaster Athletics Tuesday track night) but it was really great to be running back in a group again. We just did a nice 5km and split off into different groups depending on pace and it worked really well. It’s a great way to socialise with people outside of the pub or dinner, and it’s nice to have some company on dark, autumnal mornings! As with Monday, the rest of Tuesday was really busy with two classes at the Business School and zoom calls with my study group. Each week we have to prepare a presentation for Tech & Ops class, and now we have been given our assignment for the class, which we will have to work on simultaneously. This will be a 15 minute presentation on British Airways and their approach to “Build back Better” along with a 3,000 word essay. All due by the end of the month. Gulp.

My favourite class at the moment is Organisational Behaviour, basically looking at the way people behave in businesses. This week our classes were on the topics of Motivation and Power & Influence. The case study we covered in the Motivation class was about the Japanese bullet trains and the company, Tessei, that is employed to clean them. From entering the station to leaving again, these 200mph trains have 12 minutes to disembark passengers, be cleaned in seven minutes, and get the new set of passengers on. It’s quite an operational feat. The theories of motivation we looked at and the turnaround operation the CEO took the business through was so interesting. It really highlighted the power of involving employees at every stage of change and the power of intrinsic motivation.

One of my highlights from the week was on Wednesday, when Stephen, a fellow British MBA student, organised for a group of us to do a training session at the Athlete Centre. It was so much fun! It was in a massive warehouse and it was basically a hardcore HIIT session. It was just what I needed in the middle of a study afternoon; it got the endorphins pumping and really focused me back on my work when I returned to my desk. It also completely wiped me out on Thursday afternoon! I was so tired the next day; that’s how you can tell it was a great workout.

MBA sweat fest

The amazing thing about my fellow classmates is the real diversity of talent that everyone brings. As this is a business course, you might think that everyone is very numbers focused and not so creative. However that is so far from the truth. On Thursday night a group of women from the course went to support a fellow female MBA who had put on a photography exhibition at one of the local restaurants, which also doubles up as an art gallery. Elena created an amazing exhibition called “New Woman” featuring portraits she had taken of women in Afghanistan. It was such a lovely evening, and the photographs were just truly amazing. Well done again, Elena.

This feels like such a long blog post but I promise this is still all the same week! I finished the week with a wonderful weekend with my family for my Mum’s birthday and an afternoon in Oxford for our virtual matriculation. Matriculation is basically the ceremony that fully enrols you as a student of Oxford, however because of our wonderful friend, Covid, it was virtual this year. However, we did manage to don our sub-Fusc and get some photos at the famous Oxford landmarks so it did feel a tiny bit normal. Let’s hope that graduation next year won’t be taking place in a virtual reality!

And here we are again, another Sunday evening in bed reliving the past week. All that is left for me to say is another massive “happy birthday!” To my wonderful, wonderful mother. We had a great weekend celebrating, despite some unforeseen sadness we all felt, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your cake this week. Love you lots xxx

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