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Blogging, Business and Bops with Bayo

The blogosphere can be a useful tool for an MBA student, says Oxford Said student Bayo Babalola

BusinessBecause has spoken to Adebayo Babalola, an MBA student at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, about how his award-winning blog, ‘Against Most Odds... my journey to Oxford for an MBA’, has helped both him and his readers through the veritable minefield of an MBA.

What is your background?

I am a Nigerian, born, bred and educated in the bustling city of Lagos. After working for five years in financial services (wealth management and private equity), I decided I needed to broaden my views, strengthen myself technically and vastly expand my professional network. Hence my decision to apply for an MBA.

How are you finding life as an MBA student?

Intense! Tough! Fun! It’s been a roller coaster year, from the early days when the biggest problem was trying to remember everyone’s name, to the endless stream of balls and bops (the Oxford-specific term for parties), to the un-ending stream of assignments, projects and lectures. The one-year MBA programme is designed to stretch its participants intellectually, mentally, physically and socially.

How did you get into blogging?

When I decided to apply for my MBA, I needed to do a lot of research to choose a school that would be right for me professionally and, of course, temperamentally. I struggled with this for a while as all the MBA programmes looked the same to me (the only resource I used were their respective websites). There was no way to really tell the schools apart.....and then I stumbled on a blog by an MBA student at INSEAD. It was the first time I had got an inside view of a school from the perspective of a student and I loved it.

After that, I read blogs from many different schools and was able to make a more informed decision as a result. I decided I wanted to contribute to this pool of shared knowledge by starting to blog myself. I remember agonising over my first post, and I almost closed the entire blog after writing two lines as I was convinced no one would ever read it....so it’s extremely gratifying to see that the blog has crossed the 15,000 page view mark.

What is the hardest thing about being involved in the blogging world?

Well, when I first started, I was my own audience so I could basically treat the blog as a semi online diary. But as readership grew, I had to be a bit more circumspect with my posts. It was also really difficult to blog consistently given the significant time constraints...there were times I would take a break from an overnight study session to put up a blog post.

Tell us the most helpful thing that being an MBA blogger has taught you.

I think it has helped improve my ability to express myself in writing. I guess subconsciously, it also helped me try to experience the best of Oxford (the city and the wider university). Given the intensity of the programme, it’s very easy to say no to a lot of extracurricular activities but a lot of the time I decided to do some things in the hope that it would provide good blogging material. Some of these activities ended up being the highlight of my stay in Oxford.

Have you got any advice for MBA students who are thinking of sharing their own experience online?

Just start. Even if you think you won’t find the time, or you might not be able to write in an entertaining way, just start putting your thoughts down. That’s what I did!


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