Why Oxford?

1 Oct
Saïd Business School

Pic by Frosts Commercial Landscaping

We’ve had a series of pre-induction events at Saïd Business School this week, which has mostly been talks by a number of faculty staff*. The course director, Stephan Chambers, gave a very inspirational speech about the MBA programme and what we should aspire to achieve with our degrees. There was also a lot more talk about entrepreneurship, the SBS VC Fund, and the Venture Capital Investment Fund.

It was once they started talking about entrepreneurship and VC that I really started jumping around in my seat, excited and raring to get started. Yesterday’s talks really confirmed to me that I had made the right choice in going to Oxford for my MBA, but one statement that Stephan Chambers made really summed it up for me:

“Saïd Business School is like a start-up with a blue-chip investor [in Oxford University]”

He’s right – it’s really got that start-up vibe. I mean the sort of vibe that must have been around companies like Amgen and Genentech in the 80s or Google in the early 00s. We’re on to a good thing and the only way is up! As Stephan also said, we know we are currently leveraging Oxford’s brand name, but in the not too distant future Oxford will be leveraging Saïd Business School’s name.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to recycle a post I did on the Google group a few months ago explaining why I chose Oxford:

“Oxford was my clear 1st choice for a number of reasons.

My focus is on Entrepreneurship and Oxford appears to be very strong
in that area. I was impressed by the quality of the speakers at the
“Silicon Valley come to Oxford” events and the SBS Venture fund
competition sounds good – I want to raise VC money by the end of the
course! 😉 Insead also claims to be strong in entrepreneurship (as my
Insead alumni friend would often remind me) but the fact is with
Insead you are either out in Fontainebleu or out in Singapore – that
can’t compare to being 1h away from London, which I think is still the
best city in which to raise money in Europe. Also I think in the other
fields I am interested in the Oxford name will mean more than Insead.

Also I already live in Oxford, so there is a practical advantage to
going here, not least it works out much cheaper (I couldn’t actually have
afforded Insead). Moreover, having lived in Oxford for 5 years I do
feel a kind of connection to the University already. In many ways I am
envious of the students that are at the University, since I got here
I’ve dreamed of entering that world. Oxford really is such a special
place – you’ll feel it even when you’ve just been here briefly but
once you’ve been here for a while it really becomes part of you (I
lived in London for 4 years before that and I much prefer Oxford).”

So 2.5 months after writing that, and having actually started at the school, I think what I wrote still holds true. I only actually applied to Oxford. I knew it was my first choice and somehow I had total conviction I would get in. I’m glad I was right!

*special kudos has to go to the Head of SBS Facilities for turning a 30min talk about fire drills and first aid, in to one of the most entertaining talks of the week. The guy was a fantastic speaker. I actually spoke to him afterwards to tell him that a number of people thought his talk was great.

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2 Responses to “Why Oxford?”

  1. Allen October 2, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    Great post! The speech by Oxford’s MBA program director Stephan Chambers was fantastic, especially his point that “Thinking hard about the hardest problems in the world is the greatest luxury.”

    • Steven October 2, 2010 at 10:24 am #

      Agreed. He was a totally captivating speaker. It was amazing how long he just spoke to us – so naturally – without looking at any notes. I hope I can hold an audience like him one day.

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