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Real Humans of Oxford Saïd’s MBA Class of 2019

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Maria Bernier, Saïd MBA Class of 2019

Maria Bernier, Oxford Saïd MBA Class of 2019

Age: 28
Hometown: Montreal, Canada
Undergraduate Institution and Major
: McGill University, majors in Economics and Philosophy
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
Most recently, I spent two years in management consulting at McKinsey. Prior to that I worked in the public sector doing monetary policy research for two years.

Why business school? Why now?

I am passionate about renewable energy and environmental sustainability. After working in McKinsey’s energy practice for a year, I wanted to gain more functional and industry knowledge to help better serve my clients in this space – and this year felt like the right time to gain that perspective.

Why Oxford Saïd? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Oxford Saïd’s emphasis on responsible business, as well as the diversity of its students, were the most important factors in my decision. I knew that the school’s international student body would allow me to engage and collaborate with classmates from a variety of career and cultural backgrounds – providing a global perspective on the societal issues that are most important to me.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?

I believe my leadership style is one that emphasizes collaboration and inclusion, and I hope to bring those elements to my group work this semester. In addition, I have been happy to share my experiences in the consulting industry with my classmates and help with case preparation.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
My ancestor was a famous explorer and his picture is in the Canadian passport.

Post-MBA career interests?
After my MBA, I will be returning to McKinsey. In my role as a consultant there, I hope to help business leaders and policy makers build a more sustainable energy system through improved market design, greater organizational effectiveness, and implementation of new and disruptive technologies.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Take time to reflect on your motivations for an MBA, and which school is the right fit for your aspirations. Speak openly to as many alumni as possible.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have started speaking to alumni earlier in the process, to learn more about the distinctive factors of each school.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Taking the GMAT! My supportive partner and friends helped me to get through it.

What is your initial impression of Oxford Saïd’s students/culture/community?
I am incredibly impressed by my peers’ accomplishments and intelligence. The culture at Oxford Saïd is extremely collaborative and generous.

One thing you have learned about Oxford Saïd that has surprised you?
I was pleasantly surprised by just how integral the focus on responsible business is to the school. Every year, students work on solving a complex social issue called the “GOTO project.” This year, the theme is “The Future of Energy,” and I’m incredibly excited to get started.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Making the most of my time in Oxford and keeping pace with all the incredible people around me.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m excited to explore everything that the wider town and University have to offer, from entrepreneurship opportunities to theatre and community events.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.