Accepted.com is continuing a blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Here’s a talk with Saket Khanna, an entrepreneur and student at Oxford Saïd with a background in IT consulting. Thank you Saket for sharing your thoughts with us!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from, where did you go to college and when did you graduate; and what prior degrees do you hold?
Saket: I grew up in India. Graduated from Pune University, India, in 2003 with an Engineering Degree. Worked as an IT consultant with one of the larger IT firms in India. Consulted for the past six years in the United States.
Accepted: How did you choose Saïd? Why did you feel it was the best school for you?
Saket: I’m keen on entrepreneurship and Saïd has a great entrepreneurship program. There are several university-wide institutes (OxCEI and ISIS being two). The course structure includes grading based on a business plan you create and pitch to real VCs.
A one year program, means a lower opportunity cost. And that your entrepreneurial ideas are not outdated by the time you graduate.
Access to Oxford University Alumni, and gaining the Oxford brand.
Accepted: Had you visited the school before deciding to attend?
Saket: No. I had conversations with alumni and attended an event in the United States.
Accepted: How do you like living in Oxford? How does it contribute to your b-school experience?
Saket: Oxford (the city), Oxford University, and the Business School blend together very well. I have enjoyed staying at Oxford in the midst of historical buildings and the vibrant art scene.
The University presents opportunities to mix across disciplines through its collegiate system, the Oxford Union, and professional networking events. There is a large selection of special interest groups worth considering, which are besides the clubs in the Business School.
These opportunities allow you to grow your network to include people from a range of backgrounds (and not stay within the business school community alone).
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?
Saket: Financial Accounting. Our professor brought an arguably dry subject to life. He challenged us to question accounting regulations and relate their impact to the current economic climate. Excellent course presentation and pace.
Accepted: Have you begun your post-MBA job search yet? If so, what role has Oxford Saïd played in that process?
Saket: I am currently applying at Amazon and interviewing with British Telecom. Both companies visited the business school recently and were relevant to my interests. Once I cleared BT’s pre-screening, the Careers department connected me with alumni at BT and sector consultants, to prepare effectively.
Accepted: Do you plan on returning back home once you receive your MBA? How will your new global MBA help you achieve your goals?
Saket: I do not plan to return back home, but plan to take on a full-time position or work on an entrepreneurial venture I conceived as part of the ‘Entrepreneurial Project’ at Saïd.
In terms of finding full-time work opportunities – besides bringing a host of companies to campus for recruitment, the program has provided networking opportunities through several global treks and the OBNs (Oxford Business Networks).
On the entrepreneurial front, by giving me access to seasoned experts in fields such as retail and fundraising, I have been able to fine-tune a startup venture I am working on. There are also avenues to raise funds, such as seed funds and venture competitions.
Accepted: Some may consider you an “older applicant.” Do you view that as an application hurdle?
Saket: The average age of 29 at Saïd Business School is higher than in typical American program. I fit in pretty well within this age range, so it was not a concern.
Accepted: Are there any things in particular you did before starting b-school that made the transition back to student life easier? (Like taking a math course to brush up on your skills, move to your new location a few weeks early to settle in…)
Saket: Talked to several alumni before reaching the school. They were very helpful in helping me settle in well.
Accepted: Do you have any advice you’d like to bestow on our current MBA applicants?
Saket: A one year program can be quite demanding. Be prepared to work hard, while you also have fun and network. There are always more things to do than the time available.
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