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Real Humans of Oxford Saïd’s MBA Class of 2019

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Boingotlo Gasealahwe, Saïd MBA Class of 2019

Boingotlo Gasealahwe, Oxford Saïd MBA Class of 2019

Age: 29
Hometown: Taung, South Africa
Undergraduate Institution and Major
: University of Cape Town, B.Bus.Sci (Economics)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
Public Policy, 5 years

Why business school? Why now?
I have just completed an MSc in Economics for Development at Oxford. The MBA is a complement to this. The MSc deepened my understanding of the economic challenges facing developing countries, however it was a very theoretical programme. The MBA is an opportunity for me to explore the ways in which the insights I have learnt can be implemented in a practical, commercially viable manner with a high social impact.

The MBA will also allow me to pivot my career from government and public policy to finance—specifically development finance and impact investing. I had always held the belief that public policy would be the best tool for me to impact the lives of many people.

However, in the 5 years that I worked for the finance ministry of South Africa, I came to appreciate the role that the private sector can play in driving sustainable growth and creating jobs, especially when the public sector is constrained.

Why Oxford Saïd? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
My entire career and interests are focused on making an impact on people’s lives. And so Oxford Saïd, as the only program to be so passionately focused on the broader social impact that businesses have on their communities, is not only the best program for me to take given my goals, but also the only MBA I would take.

Further motivating my decision is the diversity of the programme and the fact that it has the highest proportion of African students among similar international MBAs. This will allow me to interact and network with other like-minded individuals who are as equally passionate about the continent as I am. Whilst my MSc class was diverse, South Africa was the only African country represented. Lastly, the MBA will enable me to confidently transition out of government.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?
I have a very good understanding of the macroeconomic and policy landscape in South Africa and the region. This knowledge and my network is useful for people looking to do business on the continent.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I ran the Paris marathon in 2017 without planning to and with no training. I was trying to enter the half marathon, entries had closed and so I entered through a charity. When the confirmation came, not only was I signed up for the full marathon, I was also required to raise some funds towards the charity. It was tough, but deeply rewarding.

Post-MBA career interests?
I would love to join an international organization such as the IFC and CDC that fosters growth in developing countries by supporting the private sector. I am also interested in learning more about impact investing.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Meet and speak to lots of different people.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have applied sooner. I was very fortunate to get a scholarship, but it was the only scholarship I was eligible for. Applying early maximizes your chances of securing funding.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I quite enjoyed the application process. It was a lot less demanding the application process for the Msc.

What is your initial impression of Oxford Saïd’s students/culture/community?

I love it. I love the people. It is a very friendly and supportive community. Also it is a place full of possibility and everyone is so willing to help.

One thing you have learned about Oxford Saïd that has surprised you?
I am impressed at how well the recruiters have selected individuals who are truly passionate about tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. Everyone I have met so far genuinely wants to make a difference.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Group work.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Learning more about finance and impact investing.

Clear Admit Resources
We hope you enjoyed these profiles of current Oxford Saïd students!  As you work on your Oxford Saïd MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Oxford / Saïd offerings:

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.