What first inspired me about getting an MBA was the fact that class sections are meticulously manufactured to create conflict and diverse thoughts. If a school can manage it, nobody from the same firm, school, state, etc will be in the same section. This creates an environment where everyone is approaching a problem from a different perspective. It forces students to realize that diverse perspectives provide the best solutions. It forces conflict which creates stronger resolutions that are better for business.
When I realized this, the kid who grew up in very homogeneous Salt Lake City, Utah was intrigued. At BYU 98% of those I met were white, American, and Mormon, at the University of Utah where I finished my degree it was a lot better, more like 90%. An MBA would force me into this environment that I had seen first-hand during my time at Google and learned to embrace.
I mention this aspect of diversity because when I learned that Oxford gave me the opportunity to add an additional layer of diversity onto my education beyond my fellow MBA classmates I was hooked. The biggest differentiator between Oxford and any other program is the college system.
Oxford University is comprised of autonomous self-governing Colleges which to simplify it for my readers, are essentially Hogwarts houses, except instead of four there are 38. Each college has a history, a separate alumni association, housing, scholarships, doctors, nurses, chapels, rivalries, and most importantly common rooms.
As an MBA student this offers a dedicated space and community comprised of graduate students studying law, philosophy, economics, medieval literature, latin, engineering, and even medicine. So when I have a solid idea I have another space filled with intelligent people who approach problems from a completely different perspective. My college, Lincoln, is clearly the best 😉 … or at least the first college to create a common room like this for graduate students.
After getting into the MBA program you are able to apply to a college. In addition to their history and size of their middle common room, I chose Lincoln in part because of a professor at Georgetown University whom I have guest lectured for over the past 3 years. He is a fellow Lincolnite who attended a mere 50 years ago and during my selection process he was certain to highlight the best things about Lincoln, even introducing me to other Lincolnites in DC.
I say a “mere 50 years ago” because despite what some of my American friends have asked, no it isn’t named for Abraham Lincoln. In fact, Lincoln is one of the oldest colleges at Oxford founded in 1427. For context, that is a few years before Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, 65 years before Christopher Columbus set sail for America, 100 years before the Church of England was founded, and 200 years before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock.
Famous Lincolnites include John Wesley the founder of the Methodist faith, John le Carré the former MI5 & MI6 agent & author of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”, Rachel Maddow, actress Emily Mortimer, and Dr. Seuss. Yes Dr. Seuss is a proud graduate drop-out of Lincoln college.
It may not be Slytherin or Ravenclaw, but Lincoln is my
Hogwarts House College. Besides the friendships I will gain through my MBA, I am looking forward to building lifelong friendships with graduate students of all types, so long as they are Lincolnites.
Join me next week as I talk about my application process and how I got in, including parts of my essays.