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Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants

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Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2012, 09:26
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All the best to those applying...

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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2012, 12:48
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Leftcoastguy wrote:
^ Thanks for the video, Sanjuro. I know these are still early days but could you share your experience so far? I'm referring to the interview/acceptance as well as the orientation process. Anything you particularly enjoyed? any surprises?

emeraldshellback - thanks for the pictures! I have unfortunately not had a chance to visit the school so I appreciate any insight about the university and the city. It's nice to see another California candidate :)


1. The statistics for acceptance rates are generally true. About half of the applicants get invited to interview, 25% get offers and 10-12% finally join.
2. Make sure your essays are strong. The GMAT will depend upon the demographics you come from. If you are an Indian engineer, obviously your competitive pool will have a higher GMAT. If you are from LATAM and another non-english speaking country and have a liberal arts background, a lower than 700 score might still get you through.
3. Don't do any stupid mistakes during your interview. Try and go for in-person interviews if you can.

4. Due to recent visa changes, application volume was lower this year. Instead of lowering admission standards, Said decided to reduce class size by 20%.
5. If you are from US and would like to go back to US, there is a big alumni network ready to help you find your next career.
6. Jobs in London are tough. Especially banking. If you don't have a prior banking background, please don't come to Said expecting to make a career change into banking front office roles. A two-year MBA with internship might give you a better shot.
7. Said is ranked #1 in MFE programs. MFE's over the last few years have had little difficulty finding internship and first year analyst jobs. This year, I hear even for them its tough. GMAT score for MFE program is really high. I believe the average is somewhere around 750.

8. If you wish to work in, say German speaking countries, you need to know German and so on. Business fluency is absolute must.

9. Quality of professors and classes are world-class. I am comparing this to few classes I have attended at M-7 in US while I was doing research. Our economics professor was a student of Alvin Roth at Harvard. I am even enjoying Accounting, which I never thought I will like.

10. Pace of the classes is really fast. If you prefer to learn a subject over a period of time, combined with heavy book studying, lot of assignments every week and so on, then this is probably not the place for you. Professors will cover a sizable topic in a 3.5 hour lecture/case study. You will have to do 5-6 cases a week. In between, there will be little time to actually study 6 chapters from 7-8 different books. So, the reading is selective and as recommended. I know some in my class, don't like this pace. But, this is to be expected from a one year program.

11. The way i see it, one year is not a short-cut to a two year MBA. Yes, the program will cover about 70-80% of topics covered in a two year MBA, but in a compressed format. One of the right reasons for choosing a one year vs a two year program can be that you are an older applicant and Harvard may not even look at your application.

12. Having said the above, a decent proportion of class is comprised of younger students. I don't see age being an issue getting along with people or in class participation.

13. It tremendously helps in any MBA program, if you have already made a habit of learning business concepts and are aware of what's going on in the world. If you have to read one newspaper, make it the WSJ, FT or the equivalent in your country. Look at decisions being made at your company or competitors and seek why they were made such.

14. A*Hole Index - Pretty low. I might have met one or two people in a class of 200 who might have seriously put me off. The rest of them are very cooperative, collaborative and fun to hang out with bunch. I don't know the same for, say, Kellogg or Wharton.

15. Banking jobs. Most London banking deadlines are in Nov, early December. If that is the career of your choice, be prepared to apply to jobs during first few weeks of coming here.

16. Colleges. Every college is beautiful, has its own personality. You won't go wrong in your college choice. Formal dinners are absolutely amazing and you have the chance to interact with people from various backgrounds. I think if there is one thing unique to Oxford, then this is it. Said is not an isolated business school, but part of one of the oldest institutions of learning, with brilliant and passionate people solving yet unsolved problems. In fact, as business students, you may feel little apologetic at times when you explain what you are doing here.

17. Oxford Union. No words. I am ready to line up to hear from PSY (Gangnam style), Peter Thiel and Gary Kasprov this month.

18. Societies. Every conceivable activity/sport has a society here. I just withdrew from my college rowing team (don't ask why.. sob.. sob), and joined the Rifle Association. There is a quiditch team, a Real Ale society and Whisky tasting association. There is a society of vikings (have no clue what they do). Of course, regulars such as soccer, badminton, cricket, rugby, athletics are huge. But, be warned. You can probably do one of them well while you are here.



There will be much more things to talk about. Do ask me specifics and I will answer them in follow-up posts.
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 28 Nov 2012, 08:53
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It was good to meet some of you this Monday. I will be there around lunch time, if you are coming for an interview on 3rd December. Send me a PM with your name and I will come find you.

I have to run to a class, but I wanted to post this short blurb that I have been meaning to for a while.

Someone I know was asking me the other day, how would I differentiate Oxford. All of you have done your research and must have found many things about this place. Instead of rehashing some of those things again here, perhaps a personal story would help.

I am from retail industry. I did technology architecture and marketing for one of the big-box US stores (>$50B revenue, 2000 stores). I wanted to change function and possibly geography post my MBA. So, business development, strategy for a retailer in SE Asia was my in career goals essay. I knew perhaps consulting in the short term will end up being the bridge to this geography and function change.

After arriving at Oxford, I met people all backgrounds (energy trading, marketing, finance, consulting to name just a few). I went to company presentations and networked with alumni that came to visit the campus in the first few weeks. Goal was to find out what they did in their previous lives and what does it "really" look like working in their industries.

Starting my own venture was a long term goal. I neither had an idea, nor the risk appetite (at least I had convinced myself so) to start my own company. While signing up for the OBN (clubs), I signed up for the Entrepreneurship OBN and met few whose primary and sole goal was to be able to start their own ventures right after MBA.

In the mean time, an opportunity came up to be associated with a friend (not a classmate at Said) who is starting up his own venture. I started working full time. Developing business plans, making pitch decks, preparing marketing plans and go-to market strategy. In the process, I met many VCs and understood how this all works. Let me remind you this is all within the first few weeks of arriving here. One thing I noticed in the process, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Whatever new I was learning in my classes or from interactions with classmates, I was applying in real world.

Then came a week of big turning points. In one week I heard a debate between Peter Thiel, Gary Kasparov and Mark Shuttleworth (google/wiki the names if you are unfamiliar). The same week, I heard from Elon Musk. He is a mad man. The world needs more crazy men like him. A week later, I had this career coaching session for consulting. As part of preparing for interviews, the speaker (alum, ex BCG and now independent consultant) asked us to define a future version of us based only on what our passions were and what we thought we will enjoy most. Guess what, my new definition of my new future only had me as an entrepreneur.

Then a week later came the Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford, with people like Andrew McCullum (Facebook) and Peter Chung (Partner, NEA) among others. The talks, interactions, one-on-one mentoring only made that conviction stronger.

If that wasn't enough, yesterday, Mohammed Younus came to Said. There are no words to describe this man and his speech.

So, here I am, 8 weeks later. I have only one goal now - to start a technology venture that addresses a global problem. The idea is crazier than the ambitions behind it. May be that's more so reason why I am so passionate about it. I have closed doors on all other career paths.

I don't think this transformation would have come about anywhere else in the world. This place helps you find who you truly are. That is worth every penny in tuition. You only have to reach out and soak in.

Cheers -
Sanjuro

PS: During a formal dinner, I was seated across Dean Tufano. The guest next to him (CTO of a global consulting company) asked, "so what's great about Said". Dean Tufano said ask my students. I told the guest, things outside of Said are worth 90% of what Said is, the classes, students and professors make up for the rest 10%. :D
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 14:24
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First, I apologize for the late reply. I had promised, I will post something over the weekend.
Well, the weekend was pretty crazy. There was an event to take science and technology intellectual property and try to build business models with it. http://www.futurebusiness.co.uk/

There was also an event in London for startup jobs that went for some networking. And, then Sunday night I got invited to formal dinner at another college.
http://siliconmilkroundabout.com/

The reason I am giving you all these details is also to give you a chance to glance through a window to my life here.

Now, to interviews.

Basics -

1. Whether you are coming here for in-person interview or doing it over skype, do dress formal. This may sound too obvious, but I have seen some people ignoring it. Safest business formal is dark suit (black, charcoal, midnight blue), black shoes, blue or white shirt and preferably darker tie. Avoid striped suits, lighter colors, or too colorful ties. If you are skype interviewing, do suit up.

2. Be nice to everyone on campus. That includes receptionists, staff and students. People will share their opinions of interactions with admissions staff. Something positive may not get into your evaluation file, but trust me that something negative will.

3. If you are interviewing over skype, do find a quiet place, silence your cell phone and lock your door. Make sure there isn't a poster of some kind behind your desk. When you speak, look alternatively at the monitor and the webcam. Looking into the webcam is the only way to make eye contact with interviewer. If you haven't done formal meetings over skype, it might be a good chance to do a mock with a friend.

4. Mock interviews help. But, if you don't have access to someone who can give you constructive feedback, then just practice your interview questions in front of mirror or webcam.

5. If you are interviewing in person, do not slouch back in your chair or sit too far to the front. Don't fidget with your hands or fingers. Again, basics, but, people do miss them.

Content -

1. Three questions. Why MBA? Why now? Why Oxford? I think you will encounter these three questions in almost every MBA interview. Don't just rant on when asked these questions. Keep your answers brief (1-3 minutes at the most). I am not a big fan of frameworks, but it might help to try and model all your answers according to this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situation, ... on,_Result

2. Look at your essays. Even if they smell bad by now, they are the stories that got you to the interview. You have to stick to them. You will have many opportunities during the year to pursue other options, for the interview, do stick your original stories.

3. Make a list of at least 3-4 different stories of your life. You will be asked questions such as, "tell me a situation where you failed", "tell me when you took risk", "tell me when you went above and beyond what was expected". There won't be more then 2-3 such questions. You can't use the same story over and over again. And, make sure all your stories are within the last 2 years. Something that you did in middle school doesn't hold relevance anymore.

4. There will be a question such as what if you don't get admitted to Oxford. Its ok to say you will apply again. Its ok to say, you will get a job in your targeted industry and try after two years. You be the judge what will be the best answer to this question. There is no perfect answer. It depends upon your background, where you are coming from and where you are headed.

5. You might be asked where you have applied. It will sound strange if you iterate 15 programs across Europe and US. That means Oxford and many others in your list are there just because they are part of some ranking. Do answer with 3-4 names and follow-up with a common theme that explains why those 3-4 are very similar. It doesn't hurt to mention that Oxford is your top choice (and, it should be).

6. If you are being interviewed by adcom member, you won't be asked industry specific questions. If you are being interviewed by faculty, they may ask your opinion on a recent business event. Nobody is looking for a thesis paper here. Just your educated view gathered from reading newspapers, blogs and following industry trends. When you receive your interview invite, google your interviewer's name and find out who he/she is. Based on that expect a question of this kind. To prepare for this question, read big stories on WSJ or FT for the past week or so.

Oxford Specific Advice -

1. Oxford is a unique place. Nobody here is insecure of the schools in Cambridge or some French forest. That's because there is enough in Oxford to make it a distinctively unique, desirable place. Research some of those. What professors do? What centers are there in business school? What events do they organize? Is there a inter-collegiate sports team that interests you? How would like to see Gary Kasparov, Peter Thiel, Mark Shuttleworth debate over innovation at the Oxford Union? (I did that last Friday) How will access to various research centers outside the business school help broaden your thoughts? And, so on. Answers to these questions will not only help you with your interview, but also your final decision making process.

2. Do not come here for a degree and job. You will be disappointed. Of course, there is education, a degree and a job afterwards. But, that's not even 20% of what Oxford and Said is about.

3. If you are deciding to do your MBA at Oxford or in Europe, you should know that European economy is not doing well (just in case, you have been living under a rock). This should not matter to you at all. As an Oxford (or for that matter graduate of any premier European MBA program), the value of your education, network and mere prestige of your school will go anywhere in the world you wish to work in. You may get asked about this.

4. International motivation. There are students from 42 different countries. More than 95% of class is from outside the UK. How will you adjust to this environment? Will you be able to work together and have fun socially?

5. We do (party) have lot of social events. There was a crazy Diwali (Indian festival) party (or BOP as they are known here) on Saturday. If nothing else, there is always somebody's birthday on every weekend. If you love social interaction outside your comfort zone, meeting new and interesting people, Oxford is the perfect place for you.

I think I covered most of the basics here. If you have specific questions, do feel free to ask them here. And, if you are coming to Oxford for in-person interview, let me know and I will be happy to meet with you in person. I believe I am on the schedule to have lunch with you guys on both interview days, but do send me a PM me with your name and personal email address.
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 05:43
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I think the very fact that all of you choose to share your journey here and help each other out makes you special. I hope that all of you hear some good news today.
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 08:33
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So that people find this info next year: the decision email for round 1 was sent at 4:05pm (1605) UK time.

I was admitted, woohoo!

Question: When does Said require a deposit or other confirmation of attending in the fall? (And how do I even search for this date on the web? Can't figure out what to call it! Commit date?)
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 08:24
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got it.. I am in.. Good Luck All
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 08:44
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I'm in! :)
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 11:01
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heyyy ... i got in too :D :D :D
can't wait either. I slept while waiting haha. woke up in the middle, saw the email and just stared at it for two minutes before opening it.
Glad it was good news. Congratulations to all those who got in! Looking forward :)

Mine was sent at 4:03 pm UK time
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 13:12
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I just got my acceptance today too!

I will definitely be attending next year! Any future SBS students interested in putting together a network to get to know each other before next October?

-Mark
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2012, 19:49
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I also got the acceptance mail on 7 December.
Finally, it marks the end of all that GMAT prep, preparing application packages and follow up for letter of recommendations. This was going on for the past 18 months.
Looking forward to have an exciting year of new learning and much needed break from work :)
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 12 Dec 2012, 22:12
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Ducksworth wrote:
hi0parag: what came in the offer pack?


A folder containing :
A letter from MBA Prog Director
A letter from Associate Dean of Degree Prog.
Fee & Payment Terms (includes info on how to pay the deposit) [Main options: Wire/electronic transfer or Credit Card payment on Oxford's website]
Financial Guarantee Form [not sure how to fill it if we do not know the scholarship status :) ]

Btw other items in the folder include: 4GB USB Drive (empty i.e. w/o data), Oxford map, Oxford city guide and another unofficial guide by Oxford students.
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Key action items for us in the letters are:
We should email to confirm we accept the offer.
Also, we should get an invoice in an email in next few days... we will get 30 days to pay the deposit once that email is sent.
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2012, 09:34
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Hi -

I am a current student at SBS Oxford (MBA '13). Few months back me and many of my classmates were in the same shoes as you. We started the year about a week back with some orientation and induction sessions. It will be another week or so before classes start. Oxford is truly an amazing place and I am yet to soak in everything the place has to offer.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Also, you can head over to my blog for an occasional picture or a post.

Cheers -
Sanjuro
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2012, 06:51
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Invited to interview! What a pleasant surprise this morning ahead of my Cambridge interview tomorrow :) I will either interview in Dallas (I'll be visiting family there over Thanksgiving anyway) or San Francisco. I'm excited to perhaps meet some of you very soon!
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2012, 04:25
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congratulations to everyone who got interview invites. I will go through all your posts tonight and post something comprehensive to help you prepare for your interviews.
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2012, 14:07
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lbkova wrote:
I also had to send the certified copies. I don't see any point is this either. Why the extra cost if I'm not admitted in the end? I took it for some kind of Oxford eccentricity... :) LBS and IE didn't ask for anything.
By the way, a quick question: how do you see the quality of career service in Oxford? I heard that this is the weak point there even if the 89% placement rate for 2011 does seem to be OK. Also why only 14% of students do an internship? Is this connected to the poor quality of career service, namely that on-campus recruiting is weak there? I would think that an internship is a major attraction for every MBA student...


I think Oxford SBS has one of the better designed career services anywhere. First, there is a specific person assigned to each of the major industries (Consulting, Finance, Industry, Tech), then you have access to has 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with sector consultants (fellows of the school who have worked in your targeted industry). Then there are usual assistance such as connecting you to specific company recruiters, alumni in specific companies, organizing presentations and so on.

The issue is students don't want to work. Let me explain. If you are coming to UK looking for a job in investment banking or M&A or trading, and you don't get a job, don't come running saying the career services is worthless. Bulge bracket class sizes are in teens (compared to triple digit numbers few years back) and if they must fill these classes why not fill it with undergrads. Do you have previous experience working in M&A analyst and are looking to go work for your preferred bank as an associate or perhaps move to PE or hedge fund. I am sure you will have no problems finding your preferred job. But, if you have technology consulting experience and you have an unrealistic goal of a job in PE or HF, then tell who here is at fault.

Does that mean switching over to finance is impossible? No, its easier in a two year program where you have a chance of a four month internship.

Recently, I went to two presentations of couple of largest oil and gas companies (I never wanted to work for them, just wanted to make sure). The one in London had zero other MBA representation from Said. Sure, London is an hour away. But, if I knew about it and got an invitation, someone looking for a job should have made it there. That doesn't mean Said MBAs are lazy. That means that none of them want to work for that oil & gas company. There are so many in class whose career goals are social enterprise. Of course, you will never see them looking for a traditional job.

Back to internship. lbkova - I have to say, you haven't done enough research regarding this. There are two kinds of internships at Said. Pre-MBA and post-MBA. Pre-MBA internships are available to those who have relevant industry knowledge. This should be obvious if you think from the hiring companies perspective. You don't have any industry background and you don't have business knowledge why should they hire and pay you for 2 months when you are essentially worthless to them.

Post-MBA internships are only if you don't want a strategic consulting project. Strategic consulting projects are not only more lucrative in terms of their variety and offering, but in terms of the level of work you do. People have worked in all kinds of industries, geographies in the past. Someone I knew did one at Ferrari's headquarters. Someone else spent the two months consulting for a shipping company in Greece (I think that particular group spent every afternoon on the beach).

Hopefully, this answers your questions/concerns. If any of you have a industry/function specific career question, feel free to ask. If I can't help you, I will connect with someone with relevant experience from the class.
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 08:06
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I am in!
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 08:06
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got an email.... starts with "i am delighted.... " i guess i m in.... :)
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 08:07
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Sorry Ibkova, good luck with your other applications.

Congrats Ducksworth! I'm in as well!!! :) :) :)
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Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Canada
Concentration: International Business, General Management
GMAT 1: 740 Q49 V42
GPA: 3
WE: Programming (Computer Software)
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Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2012, 08:07
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Admitted!! Waiting for INSEAD now!
Re: Oxford (Said) 2013 - Calling All Applicants   [#permalink] 07 Dec 2012, 08:07
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