When You're This Good, Who Needs An MBA?

Five Oxford University graduates explain why they went on to do one anyway

Why would you leave Morgan Stanley to do an MBA? Can you become an MD and an MBA at the same time? How do you achieve your dream of breaking out of consulting while partying with the European in-crowd?

To answer some of these questions, Oxford alumni group Oxford10 recently gathered a panel of MBAs from the world’s top schools, and they explained what they got out of the experience.

The line-up consisted of graduates of Harvard, LBS, Insead, Oxford’s Said Business School and Chicago Booth, no less.

One satisfied customer - originally from Manchester - who studied Human Sciences Oxford, spent five years as an equities analyst in New York City. He returned to the UK to do an MBA at LBS he is now an equity analyst at a top fund manager in London. For him it was “what went on outside the classroom” that benefited him most.

Julia Jansch began work as a strategic planning intern at McCann Erickson. After completing an MBA at the Said Business School she worked as a consultant at TED in New York for three months, and now works in London as a commercial and development consultant at Fremantle Media. The MBA gave her skills that the creatives in the industry usually don’t have.

Hyperactive Jonathan Weiss did a combined MD and MBA at the University of Chicago, followed by a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Oxford University. His MBA gave him credibility with venture capitalists when raising $200 million for his first business aged 26. His firm Bridgeview Partners invests in healthcare companies globally.

Tara Marsh joined Bain and Company and was promoted to MBA level within the company, without even having one. However, to move to other consulting firms and, more importantly, to land her dream job as marketing planner, the Insead degree helped. On graduation she landed a prestigious fellowship at marketing giant WPP Group.

Neil Mahapatra wanted to “get the hell out of banking” and go to a brand-name school. He was accepted by both Harvard and Stanford and opted for Harvard. He currently works as Commercial Assistant to Lord Rothschild, sourcing and executing private equity investments.

When the head-hunter called him about the role, however, he thought Mahapatra was still at Morgan Stanley, where Mahapatra worked before Harvard. Mahapatra said that the MBA taught him a particular analytical method that he has applied to many spheres of his life, including his recent campaign as a Conservative Party parliamentary candidate during the last British election.

Check out some highlights from the evening, plus some audience reactions and Mahapatra's sharp summary of exactly who would find an MBA useful.

The panelists

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Audience members on why they're thinking about an MBA and where they would do one 

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Neil Mahapatra on who should do an MBA.

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