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Oxford Said Sample Essays

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Oxford Said Sample Essays Set 1

Oxford Said Essay 1: How do you fit with Oxford Saïd’s mission? Maximum 500 words.

Dean Peter Tufano describes Oxford Saïd’s mission as mapping trends that will change business landscape and energizing a world-class community to address world-scale challenges. In this century, digital products have changed the way the world functions. Through the Oxford MBA, I wish to augment my experiences with cross-functional business knowledge to manage the evolution of digital products with world-scale impact.

Since childhood, my grandmother has been my greatest inspiration. A high school principal, she worked till the age of 75, not out of need, but out of unstoppable will to contribute to society. I learnt the importance of hard work and honesty from her, values that have helped me remain principled in my career - I chose to remain transparent in situations where I could have covered up for mistakes to re-establish lost credibility or gain accolades.

Starting my career with CompanyABC in India, within 2 years, I was selected for a 2-month long international assignment with a California-based off-price retailer client. My role was to delve into the client’s system-integration platform and IT outsourcing model, facilitating knowledge transfer to my team in India. However, in the absence of onsite leadership, I stepped up and led the service delivery for a critical first-of-its-kind system-integration platform. At a stage in my career where the typical expectation is to code, I provided estimates and managed client escalations, experiencing the nuances of client management and real-world business on a global stage.

In my 3-year long stay, I often found myself in situations where I had to lead my peers and even colleagues at senior levels across multicultural teams located in US, India and Philippines. I had to be challenging yet collegial in my leadership approach, and led based on influence rather than authority. Although the assignment was rigorous in terms of time commitment, I volunteered for the Association for India’s Development’s California Bay Area chapter, where I enjoyed working with like-minded professionals to organize events such as concerts, marathons etc., raising USD 30000 for development projects in India.

In May 2014, I was part of an outsourcing unit in UK helping CompanyABC’s multichannel retailer client invest in digital transformation, moving 90% of the client’s IT function offshore. This was my first project with underlying ‘Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment’ implications, signifying that most of the client’s existing IT staff were being made redundant apart from a few transferees. Already behind schedule on an aggressive 3-month knowledge transfer timeline, we faced frequent escalations due to expectations mismatch between client personnel and offshore teams, and I went out of my defined scope to mediate the same.  There was, understandably, resentment amongst the client personnel and I had to be thoughtful but ready for action to ensure effective service transition. My efforts significantly contributed to us meeting deadlines and during the delivery phase, I helped 3 transferees, my direct reports, find their feet in CompanyABC.

I believe that my skill-set and experiences will help me blend with and contribute to the Oxford Saïd community.


Oxford Said Essay 2: Is there anything not covered in the application form that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? Maximum 250 words.

Born and raised in Delhi, I have worked in various cities across India, and on long-term assignments in the US and UK, instilling in me appreciation for different cultures and work-environments, making me flexible, adaptable and ready to embrace diversity. While studying engineering in Kerala, I learnt to speak fluent Malayalam and was the only student among 100 of my non-Malayalam speaking peers to do so, winning love and respect of peers and locals. Whilst in the UK, I lived and interacted closely with a diverse professional group including a banker, a lawyer, a doctor, all UK nationals and a German sound engineer.

In 2006, my weight was a stupendous 19 st, making me a prime example of obesity, the leading cause of deaths worldwide. Alarmed at my condition, I decided to get back into shape, a decision that would end up being one of my life’s biggest challenges and ultimately, achievements. Recognizing that my obesity stemmed from bad eating habits and lack of exercise, I taught myself to eat healthy and exercise daily. After a year of a rigorous, self-imposed fitness regime, which constantly tested my willpower to stick to my goal, I was ecstatic when I reached a healthy 13 st. I have maintained my weight ever since, with this experience teaching me self-discipline, a necessity for successful leaders.

Determination and Diversity, two key aspects of my character, have helped me look at situations from varied perspectives and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges in my personal and professional life.




Oxford Said Sample Essays Set 2

Oxford Said Essay 1: Explain why you chose your current job. How do you hope to see your career developing over the next five years? How will an MBA assist you in the development of these ambitions? (maximum 1000 words)

Graduating in Chemical engineering from India’s premier college ABC, I got an opportunity to start my career as a Process Engineer at Company 1, Mohali. It was a core chemical company which gave me the opportunity to not only use my technical knowledge but also to develop people management and leadership skills via interactions on shop floor.  The job also provided me with opportunities to innovate & apply the theoretical knowledge gained in my undergraduate study to real life applications. In the first six months, I reengineered the washing process to reduce the wash water generated by tinter production by about 70%. Given the fact that the plant was facing wash water storage and disposal problems, this reduction was a huge help. In December 2007 I had to relocate to Delhi due to personal reasons. I joined Company 2, a sales and marketing consulting firm in the Pharma domain. As an associate, I breathed life into a failing client relationship by successfully delivering high quality deliverables on time. Due to this, within 8 months of my joining, I was made the offshore point of contact for a $350k project. This was one of the firsts in my company i.e. a person with such limited experience was given complete responsibility for a critical project like this. Also there was a sudden flux in my team with my team manager being assigned to another project abroad and my team members resigning from the company. Recognizing my client facing skills, my analytical prowess and passion for leadership I was made the team lead for my project. Under my leadership the team has grown from one to six members in the last 3 years. In May 2010, I was promoted to my current role of Senior associate and was also given the opportunity to travel onsite to US for 6 weeks. I grabbed this opportunity to build faith in our client and was able to transition the ownership of $600k sales force structuring business to offshore. Currently, apart from being the single point of contact for this $600k business, I manage the day to day deliveries for $X million salesforce structuring and alignment business.

Armed with an exposure to both Manufacturing and Consulting industries, I have reasonably strong grip over ‘People-leadership’ and have developed a strong ‘customer-centric’ mindset. The  mix of consulting and manufacturing has given me a very unique perspective in terms of how industries are run. However, despite having worked on business assignments worth $2Million, most of my work involves  gathering client’s requirements, formulating solutions to address their existing problems, and managing deliverables; I have been  seldom  been  involved in researching/identifying client’s potential problems, and exploring new ways of gaining more business from them.

The above is attributable to my limited business knowledge from a cross-functional perspective- how decisions pertaining to one function within an organization affect other organizational functions/departments. Unless I understand this cross-functional inter-dependence, I will not be able to envision client organizations’ potential challenges, and subsequently explore further business development avenues with them. I believe that Oxford MBA will  provide solid steps towards realizing my aspiration.

Post MBA, in short term, I see myself getting into the role of an associate in a global management consulting firm. As an associate, I will learn to align business components (marketing plan, operations plan, expected financial results) with client organizations’ strategic objectives. Simultaneously, exposure to  projects from different industries will take me beyond  just my understanding of the pharmaceutical industry. In the long run, I envision myself as Chief Strategist for my organization. Ultimately, as an Entrepreneur, offering strategy consultancy across industries, I seek to become the driving force behind my client organizations’ short/long-term future.   Besides  Oxford’s  offerings pertaining to ‘Strategy and Leadership’ and ‘Entrepreneurship’ concentrations, its  focus on developing real  world Consultancy and Leadership skills, perfectly synergizes with my future career aspirations. The diverse peer group in a B-school not only gives me the opportunity to build strong networks and gain global perspective but it also helps me develop several  leadership areas.  Amidst the school’s entrepreneurial-rich environment and by  involving myself  in centres like Oxford centre for entrepreneurship and innovation, I plan to crystallize my business idea further. I am very positive that I will  not only  gain  from  but also  contribute to the stimulating learning environment of the class. To conclude I would say  that this will help me gain superior personal maturity both in my personal and professional life.

Oxford Said Essay 2: Which recent development, world event or book has most influenced your thinking and why? (maximum 2000 words)

“Pursuit of Happyness”, written by Chris Gardner with Quincy Troupe, has most influenced my thinking. The book, an autobiography of Chris Gardner, CEO Gardner Rich and Co., inspires me to follow my dreams against all odds and motivates me to establish a balance between priorities in life. Chris advocates a “Go Forward” attitude in his novel and is inspired by two incidents in his life. The first, one is when he watches a smart man walk out of a red Ferrari and decides that he wants to get as rich as this man .This made me realize that often small observations can act as the driving force to make one realize one’s dreams and goals .The second one is when his mother tells him that if he wants to make a million dollars he would. Thus the belief or advice from a close person not only inspires him but also acts as a fuel to spur him to achieve his goal. Drawing a parallel from this to myself, I see the importance of having clarity of thought and how small statements made by near and dear ones can provide big impetus.

In the long run, I want to start up my own venture and it is my family support that gives me the confidence to achieve my goal. I also firmly  believe that a  country like India, with its billion population, can fulfill its billion aspirations and challenges by bringing the downtrodden and the less fortunate to the mainstream in life. In this regard entrepreneurial ventures go a long way in creating jobs and sustainable communities and this is especially the need of the hour in India. By being an entrepreneur and a responsible citizen I want to contribute in my own way in building tomorrow’s India. Also, in the novel, even though Chris had neither the  college education nor the best of personal circumstances,  he  remained focussed. He was with his toddler son, homeless on most occasions, but he did not  give  up his dream, and continued to pursue it with full passion and succeeded in setting up his firm in 1987. It is this “follow your dreams” attitude that motivates me to don the role of a leader in daily life and pursue excellence.

I also learnt that there are no shortcuts to success and hard work, determination and perseverance are essential for realizing one’s dreams. After Chris gained a position in Dean Witter Reynolds’ stock brokerage training program, he worked to become a top trainee. He arrived at the office early, stayed late each day and made approximately 200 calls/day to prospective clients. Gardner passed his licensing exam on the first try and became a full employee of the firm. However, he did not became complacent and continued to work hard and set up his firm, Gardner Rich and Co. in 1987. This also taught me the importance of being persistent with ones goal and the importance of being consistent in life. I have carried these etho's throughout my life and believe these examples have had a significant impact in life and in certain outcomes. Another point that is inspiring is that, Chris resolves to be a good father because absence of a father figure in his life had led to a lot of caustic remarks and troubles. This brings out two things, one that although he was pursuing his dreams, he did not forget his responsibility towards his son and the other that harsh childhood experiences had not broken him. Both these things speak volume about Chris’s mental strength and sure are the philosophies that I would want to follow. I was specifically inspired by the various attributes of Chri’s personality. His temperament, passion, steadfastness in achieving his goal and most importantly fulfilling his duties completely as a father and providing a support system to his kids inspired me. I want to achieve success but not at the price of my family and this novel has enabled me to inculcate an attitude of balance in professional and personal life.

The book has taught me not to bow down to tough circumstances, learn from them and incorporate the learning’s in life. Chris has exemplified all these in this novel and has motivated me to believe in them. “Giving back to the society” nature of Chris, after having amassed wealth gives a message to help the society when one’s need or ambitions have been fulfilled. This is an important message and to some extent, in my opinion, not only advocates humility but also a feeling of satisfaction as a human being. I can truly relate to this as in my 4th  year at college I organized a Seminar on HIV AIDS Awareness. The satisfaction I got on seeing massive participation and the questions people were posing were very fulfilling. I was also enthused by the fact that an event  of this scale pertaining to AIDS had not been organized in IIT  and truly was unparalleled.

In a nutshell, the book touches upon both professional and personal aspirations  and via incidents churns out philosophies that have motivated me to follow my dreams with a balanced mind without being afraid of obstacles. I can confidently say that “Pursuit of happiness” is my mini bible for selfhelp or is like an inspirational handbook that I use as a ready reckoner when I feel down in life. To conclude reading this novel is one of the most  profound things to have impacted  my personal thinking and approach to life.