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Associate Director of MBA Recruitment at Oxford Saïd Answers 5 Questions

Oxford mba

In our latest installment of the MetroMBA “5 Questions” series, we speak with Mariel Kessel, the Associate Director of MBA Recruitment at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School. Kessel talks about the role of research at the school, introduces a new professor of finance and Global Opportunities and Threats module, and offers advice for prospective MBA candidates.


1. What opportunities outside of the classroom does Oxford Saïd offer MBA students?

“In addition to our core courses and extensive elective offerings, MBA students have the opportunity to further their learning through a variety of co-curricular and extra-curricular options, including the Oxford Saïd Finance Lab, Social Impact Lab, or Seed Fund—a student-led initiative that allows MBA candidates to gain first-hand investment experience.

International electives will see students learn in real-world scenarios in the U.S. or Africa, and the entrepreneurship and social impact opportunities offered by the Skoll Foundation, Oxford Foundry, and Entrepreneurship Centre are limitless. Outside of the business school, students will be part of the wider University of Oxford community and can meet fellow students from a great variety of disciplines and backgrounds.”

2. In what ways does research play an integral role in the Saïd MBA program?

“A great example of research playing an integral role in the Oxford Saïd MBA program is through an online workshop for women leaders called ‘Owning your career,’ which takes place during the school’s activities around International Women’s Day this year. The module draws on research findings from interviews with female CEOs, undertaken as part of Oxford’s CEO Research Project and focuses on one of the three themes identified in the article based on that research: self-acceptance, self-development, and self-management.”

3. Are there any new programs, initiatives, faculty, or events that you can share with us?

Mariel Kessel, Associate Director of MBA Recruitment

“We are very excited to have Renee Adams join us as a Professor of Finance. Her work highlights organizational design problems to which seemingly inefficient governance mechanisms are the solution. Her research also highlights the role selection plays in understanding corporate leaders.

Our Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford (GOTO) module focuses on the future of energy this year and is designed to create a collaborative community that can tackle world-scale problems. Each year, students are tasked with a different problem to solve and assigned tutors from across the broader university who aid and assess their work. The module culminates in a summit, at which select groups present their findings to a panel of leaders from both industry and academia.”

4. What is one piece of advice you would give to a prospective MBA student?

“My best advice is to find the school and program that feels like the right fit for you. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity (and commitment) so don’t get caught up on one aspect (i.e., fee, rankings, one specific elective). Instead, talk to alumni, staff, current students, visit if that’s an available option for you and, finally, go with your gut and you will end up at the right school for you and your career goals.”

5. What’s a great nearby restaurant or location for networking?

“We have a fantastic common room, gardens, and canteen at Oxford Saïd, so students don’t need to travel far to find great locations to socialize and network. However, Oxford is of course blessed with a fantastic variety of restaurants and pubs, including the historic Turf Tavern, which first opened in 1381 and counts CS Lewis and Stephen Hawking among its former clientele.”


About the Oxford Saïd Business School

The University of Oxford Saïd Business School blends the new and the old. The business school was founded in 1996, but the University dates back 1,000 years and is regarded as the oldest English-speaking university. This creates a unique dynamic at the school where tradition meets innovation. On the school website, they state, “We create programmes and ideas that have global impact. We educate people for successful business careers, and as a community seek to tackle world-scale problems.” They do this through delivering cutting edge programs including a One Year MBA, Executive MBA, 1+1 Program, Masters in Financial Economics, Masters in Law and Finance, and a Masters in Major Program Management.

“A transformative experience. Saïd Business School reframed my mindset and gave me an invaluable network.” —Nadine El Sharif, MBA student

Learn more about the University of Oxford Saïd Business School by visiting the school website.

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About the Author


Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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