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Oxford Said MBA Application Essays 2020-21


Essay 1: Define your current role (5000 Characters)

Essay 2: Describe below your immediate plan after graduating from the MBA:

Essay 3: How does your preferred sector in your preferred location recruit MBA talent and what do they look for in a candidate? Describe the research you have done so far.

Essay 4: Reflecting on your answer above, how do you meet these requirements?

Essay 5: What do you plan to do between now and starting your MBA to prepare and maximise your chances of success?

Essay 6: Should you not be successful in securing your first choice of role, what is your alternative?

Essay 7: Is there anything not covered in the application form that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you?* Maximum 250 words

Oxford Said MBA Winning Sample Essays – 1


Oxford MBA Essay 1: Define your current role* (5000 characters) (Mark as versions) need for information add on. Right now 400 words and 2800 characters with spaces 

I am a global health professional with over twelve years of experience in the private and public sectors with experience working in the USA, Bangladesh and Sub Saharan Africa. For the past two years, I have been the Director of Programs in South Africa with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). In my current role, I support the Government of South Africa’s Department of Health to improve access to and demand for comprehensive health services for the most at-risk populations.

My main responsibilities are to manage a country portfolio of over $11M and to provide programmatic and operational support to a diverse team of over 80 staff members. Programmatically, I am responsible for end to end delivery where I own and manage inter-team dependencies, govern the execution of projects and delegate tasks. This includes fundraising, grant management, day to day strategic direction and key stakeholder management between government and partners. Operationally, I manage the finance functions and oversee recruitment, human resource management, and safety and security. These experiences have given me a unique perspective and hands-on leadership experience working on real-life complex issues to drive impact and create change.

Most recently, my responsibility has shifted towards supporting the South African Government to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. CHAI has taken a major role in the public health response and I am functioning as the deputy to the government lead of the health response. Through our support, we provide technical expertise across multiple work streams including facility readiness, diagnostics, PPE planning/procurement, guidelines development/deployment, communications, contact tracing, pandemic planning, etc.

Oxford MBA Essay 2: Describe below your immediate plan after graduating from the MBA:

With over twelve years of experience in health, I want to pursue an Oxford MBA to remain in international development but shift industries from health to take on a leadership role working with a social impact organization focused on delivering urgent and systematic changes to improve livelihoods in the field of either climate change, education or economic resilience.

How did I get to this point? After working in healthcare consulting for 6 years, I realized I wanted to leverage my experiences and shift towards a career that gave me a sense of purpose. So in 2012 I decided to quit my job and accept an offer to go to a small country in the southern tip of Africa. Fast forward to 2020, I have traveled to over 60 countries and lived on four continents. Over the last eight years exploring the globe and working at the Clinton Health Access Initiative and BRAC, I have realized my purpose through advising governments to improve healthcare systems in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Bangladesh and throughout Africa. In South Africa, I worked with the Department of Health to address the country’s reproductive health challenges through ensuring sufficient supply and access to diverse contraceptives and safe abortions services for adolescent boys, girls and women. In Bangladesh, I worked with the largest non-profit in the world to tackle the illegitimate medical industry through introducing social enterprise innovations that provided quality and affordable health services for low-income individuals with a focus on primary health and maternal care.

Through my travels and grassroots experience, I realized that there are stark inequities that exist beyond health. More work needs to be done to improve livelihoods for marginalized populations. Therefore, I want to keep pursuing my purpose by building off of my knowledge in public health to disrupt the status quo and drive innovation in literacy, economic earning power and climate change.

Preferred sector upon graduating from the MBA: 

Social development / impact

Preferred location upon graduating from the MBA:

Europe (London, Geneva, CPH)

Oxford MBA Essay 3: How does your preferred sector in your preferred location recruit MBA talent and what do they look for in a candidate? Describe the research you have done so far.

I am specifically interested in pursuing a leadership role with philanthropic organizations including the Children’s International Fund Foundation (CIFF) or start-ups such as those supported by Founders Factory that tackle world-scale challenges and provide support to marginalized populations. After speaking with colleagues in the development sector and staff from CIFF and Founders Factory, I have learned that these organizations look for candidates who have a genuine passion to work in social development, on the ground experience and entrepreneurial mindsets to run and innovatively lead a business.

With respect to recruitment, I have spoken with Said and Oxford alum, listened to podcasts and completed extensive research online. I have learned that social impact organizations such as CIFF and Founders Factory work within their alumni networks and through Oxford’s Social Impact Program and Social Impact Advisors to host events including networking sessions and conferences such as the Social Impact Careers Conferences to recruit students. The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship also works closely with Oxford and provides students with an opportunity to meet and challenge founders working on tackling global scale problems.

To ensure I achieve my goals, I plan to immerse myself in Oxford’s wealth of global resources and opportunities to transition to a company that aligns with passions. In addition, I will leverage the network I have built to link to organizations in the social sector to explore opportunities and to support fellow classmates who are interested in pursuing a career in public health

Oxford MBA Essay 4: Reflecting on your answer above, how do you meet these requirements?

I have traveled to over 60 countries and worked on the ground across Asia, Africa and North America with entrepreneurial organizations whose mission is to save and improve lives. I have developed solutions for the local context, managed diverse staff, complex budgets and fundraised. I know what it takes to drive real impact. I have successfully done it in public health.

The Oxford MBA would further hone my technical and leadership skills through combining my practical experiences with theory along with the experiences of others. I would be immersed in a uniquely global classroom with other passionate individuals, where we could discuss key challenges faced across countries and industries, share  experiences, exchange ideas and formulate innovation. Oxford would enable me to shift industries from health and become a transformational leader that creates social impact in literacy, climate change and economic resilience.

Oxford MBA Essay 5: What do you plan to do between now and starting your MBA to prepare and maximise your chances of success?

Prior to pursuing an MBA at Oxford, I will network with Oxford alumni, current students and development sector colleagues to learn about different industry opportunities in the social sector. In addition, I aim to broaden my experience beyond health by working on projects that empower women and youth.

At the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), I am supporting CHAI to develop its first social mobilization campaign strategy to motivate women, youth and at risk populations to demand for  sexual health and rights services. The campaign will be marketed nationally and the focus of the strategy will be holistic taking into account how to tackle the social determinants of health including the lack of access to education and financial independence.

Additionally, I will be working with Basha, a Bangladeshi based organization that makes  handmade artisanal goods by supporting women stuck in a cycle of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Basha’s goal is to provide employment opportunities to help disadvantaged women and their families become financially independent. I will support  Basha’s founder to fundraise and develop a business plan that creates growth and sustainability for the organization.

Oxford MBA Essay 6: Should you not be successful in securing your first choice of role, what is your alternative?

If I am unable to secure a role at a philanthropic organization or social impact startup, I plan to return to the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).  I have already spoken with my manager as well as senior leaders throughout the organization and they enthusiastically support my decision to seek an MBA at Oxford and requested I return post my MBA in order to further enrich the efforts of CHAI.

Oxford MBA Essay 7: Is there anything not covered in the application form that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you?* Maximum 250 words

I believe my undergraduate performance is not an accurate reflection of my academic abilities or potential. Growing up South Asian comes with expectations to become a doctor or  engineer and for me I was forced to study medicine. I realized I didn’t want to study medicine and didn’t enjoy the coursework. After reflection, I stood up to my parents, became independent and pursued my own interests.

At school, I double majored focusing on development in health and worked three jobs to support myself. Although my schedule was overwhelming, I excelled and achieved the New England Scholar award for students with GPAs of 3.7 or higher.

My undergraduate GPA and GRE score did not stop me from achieving my potential. Note I planned to retake my GREs on March 27th  but due to the lockdown in South Africa I have been unable too.

Currently, I am a single 35-year-old South Asian woman living alone in Johannesburg. I realize I have taken the road less travelled and although the journey hasn’t been easy, my undergraduate performance taught me resilience and to unequivocally pursue my passions. I now have the humble opportunity to live out my passions. I am supporting South Africa’s emergency response to Coronavirus.  This moment in public health is groundbreaking and will cripple healthcare systems and I am supporting to control the spread of the virus to save lives.

I hope Adcom will look at my experiences as a representation of my capabilities and continued potential.

Oxford Said MBA Winning Sample Essays – 2


Oxford MBA Essay 1: Define your current role* (5000 characters)

I am a Product Development professional with 3+ years of experience in India and Germany. For the last three years, I have been working with Mercedes Benz R&D India as a Product Design Engineer.

My main role is to oversee the product development of interior trims for Mercedes-AMG, which are high-performance cars. I lead product conception, design, and execution during the vehicle development cycle.

I indirectly lead a team of four, wherein we focus on learning about new product technologies, identifying points of improvement and delivering EUR 20M+ luggage and carpet trim development project on time and budget. I report directly to the Senior Program Manager and Senior Technical Lead in India as well as Team Leiter (DGM) in Germany.

Currently, I am working on the development of luggage and floor trims for the next generation Mercedes SL Roadster. I am responsible for end-to-end product build and delivery. On a day to day basis, I work with cross-functional teams in India and Germany to manage inter-team dependencies and govern deliverables. My job at Mercedes also requires continuous communication with suppliers based out of international locations such as Ideal Automotive (Czech Republic), Karl Etzel GmbH (Germany) and Philippine GmbH (Germany).

Since 2018, I’ve spent almost one-third of my time travelling internationally on business trips, predominantly Germany, to meet Mercedes-AMG management, German Counterparts, and suppliers. My recent assignment of 8 weeks in Germany was crucial for me because it was purely focussed on the definition and execution of future product strategy for Mercedes-AMG vehicles. As part of ‘Project Move’, I discussed the strategies for standardisation and cost optimisation of interior products.

My work for the first ‘In-house engineering’ project at Mercedes, was recognised by the management. This project saved Mercedes EUR 2Mn. The accomplishment of the first In-house engineering project facilitated me to get three new projects from Daimler AG, Germany, estimated at EUR 80M+ for the department.

Now, I am also leading the ‘Centre of competence’ to streamline our operations- this project would reduce cost by EUR 15Mn. Additionally, I lead the spoken German language improvement programme for the entire department of approx. 300 people.

Oxford MBA Essay 2: Describe below your immediate plan after graduating from the MBA

Post-MBA, I would like to leverage my past experiences in product development and transition to working in a product manager role in the automotive sector in the UK or Germany.

Given my product development experiences and the skills I learn at Oxford, I am sure that I will be fully equipped to take up the product management role and will be able to combine my technical and business skills to push business transformations for product line extensions in existing and new markets.

In Mid-term to long term, I would like to lead a region or division for the firm, where I would work on delivering both business results and impacting social values.

Preferred Sector Post-MBA:

Other – Automotive

Preferred Location Post-MBA:

Germany/ United Kingdom

Oxford MBA Essay 3: How does your preferred sector in your preferred location recruit MBA talent and what do they look for in a candidate? Describe the research you have done so far.

Speaking with Oxford alumni Arjun Bolangdy (MBA 2019) and Arpit Jain (MBA 2018), and reading the school employment reports 2016-17 and 2017-18, first, I learnt that companies such as Nissan Motors Corporation, Tesla, and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group had recruited Oxford students in the past at on-campus recruitment events.

Second, I learnt that participating in career fairs and business conferences is another way to secure a job in the desired position and company. Also, leveraging networking opportunities such as pre-placement talks and case competitions are other ways to connect with potential recruiters in different locations. Talking to my friends who have had experiences studying abroad, I understood that companies offer full-time positions to internship candidates who have proven their mettle.

Finally, leveraging my network within the industry and the Oxford community for job referrals would also help me land a position in product management.

Interacting with Mr Rohit Purandare, Deputy General Manager at Mercedes Benz R&D India and MBA alumni of IIM Bangalore and professionals from the talent acquisition team, I gained an understanding of the essential skills and competencies industries look for in prospective candidates. I realised that companies look for three crucial aspects in a product manager. First, product know-how and understanding of business models is essential. A product manager should have a good knowledge of the unique selling points of the product and potential markets.

Second, problem-solving, in particular, is a skill I will need to use while working in diverse teams to solve complex business problems.

Lastly, the ability to work in an international environment and general management skills are crucial to be successful in cross-industry functions.

Oxford MBA Essay 4: Reflecting on your answer above, how do you meet these requirements?

During my stints at Mercedes for more than three years, I have worked in multiple settings for product planning and development. There, I have developed a solid understanding of the products and development processes in the automotive industry. Working on ideation and development of interior trims have honed my problem-solving skills.

During these projects, I also supported the improvement and growth of businesses in a multitude of settings while working in a collaborative and international environment with diverse cross-functional teams and suppliers based out of Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria. My fluency and knowledge of the German language (B2 Certification) have helped me integrate with German partners, immerse in German culture, and have made me confident to work in an international environment.

However, to achieve my career goals and be successful, I need to develop a broad vision of global markets and acquire knowledge of global best business practices while honing my general management skills.

An Oxford MBA is the ideal next step. The programme will strengthen my foundation in project & strategy management and enhance my ability to analyse business decisions from a multi-faceted point of view. Electives like “Project Management” and “Global Strategy” will give me powerful tools for entering and gaining a sustainable competitive advantage in new markets. Sharing experiences in a diverse class will strengthen my analytical skills and give me rock-solid insights for making decisions, while Oxford’s international alumni network will strengthen my professional and social networks in the markets where I expect to pursue my career.

I am sure that my past product development experience, and by augmenting the skills I learn at Oxford, I will be competent to take up a product management role.

Oxford MBA Essay 5: What do you plan to do between now and starting your MBA to prepare and maximise your chances of success?

After speaking with many alumni, I have realised that international experience is an important aspect to succeed in an international MBA programme. Thus, I have requested my manager to put me on the Mercedes-AMG GT project, which will help me upgrade my international exposure. Since leadership skills are also critical and already leading a team of four, I have taken further initiatives to mentor and support the development of new recruits and trainees. I am mentoring two hires in developing their quantitative skills and bringing them at par with the team.

Also, to help me better prepare for the intensive MBA journey ahead, I plan to take preliminary courses to bridge pre-knowledge gaps in Financial Accounting, Finance and Quantitative Methods – tools that I will use throughout the MBA curriculum. Along with these, I will start networking with professionals in my target industry sector and Oxford alumni to research on Global Consulting Project and internship options. This would also help me to develop my network within target companies where I seek to work after completing my MBA.

I am sure that working on these aspects, I will be well prepared to succeed during the rigor academic curriculum.

Oxford MBA Essay 6: Should you not be successful in securing your first choice of role, what is your alternative?

As a first choice, I intend to take up a product manager role in the automotive sector. In case I am unsuccessful in securing a position in the automotive industry, I will be willing to take up product manager roles in the broader industry sector, such as defence, freight, aerospace or railroads. I am sure that with my past engineering experience in product development, coupled with the business knowledge I gain at Oxford, I will be well equipped to succeed in these positions.

As a further alternative, I will consider taking up product development and management roles in the mobility services industries such as Uber or emerging start-ups based out of Europe, such as Sono Sion (Munich).

Oxford MBA Essay 7: Is there anything not covered in the application form that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you?* Maximum 250 words

Growing up in a business family, I developed a passion for entrepreneurship.

During college, I Co-Founded KVN industries, a supplier of ATV and Go-Karting tires, and manufacturer of transmission systems] . Our target customers were mostly college and institutes which used to design cars for racing competitions. Within 3-4 months, we received pre-orders from eight participating institutions. We clocked in a revenue of close to USD 11,500 and were operationally profitable.  Within a few months, given the fierce competition from companies with huge business capital, our order dried up, and I was left with a stockpile of unsold inventory. I had to sell this inventory at highly discounted prices. We took a significant financial hit and closed down the business. The failure helped more in shaping my personality while allowing me to refine my understanding of the market and competition. More importantly, I learnt about how to always build redundancies in a business.

These lessons have been pivotal in terms of helping me start my 2nd venture. In 2016, I Co-Founded “Detour Holidays” which has allowed me to follow my love for travelling to new places. We cater to people with unique and personalised travel experiences across India & South-East Asia. To date, we have organised and managed 9 group tours and close to 70 trips for independent-travellers serving 1000+ happy travellers.

I believe sharing these transformative experiences with my Oxford classmates would allow me to crystallise business concepts and also make meaningful and impactful contributions to the class.

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