Meet The Oxford Saïd MBA Class Of 2017

Ana María Ñungo

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Passionate and compassionate Colombian woman; love engineering, transformation, and exploring.

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I got married really young (22 years old), but it has been an awesome journey.

Undergraduate School and Major: Universidad Distrital Francisco Jose de Caldas and University of Illinois at Chicago, Electrical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

SEP-14 – MAY-16   SunEdison Inc.                                               San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Interconnection Planning engineer – Transmission and Interconnection Planning

APR-11 – AUG-14   Pacific Gas and Electric                              San Francisco, CA, USA

    • Journey Engineer – Substation Project Engineering
    • Associate Engineer – Transmission Planning, Transmission Substation Asset Management
    • Entry Engineer – Asset Strategy, Energy Procurement  

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Founded AccesoSolar, an organization that seeks to empower low income Latin American communities through the development of sustainable energy systems. We are currently working to provide access to cleaner, sustained, and more affordable water for 800+ people in Las Piedras, Sucre, Colombia.  This community has been working on rebuilding after suffering for nearly six years of violence and terror from illegal armed groups. Our project will replace their existing gasoline water pump with a solar-powered pump. The expected fuel cost savings are US $1,700 annually (average household income is US $3 a day), allowing families to invest more in food, health, and education. It will also abate approximately 4,216 kg of CO2 emissions annually and eliminate the risks involved in transporting fuel on a motorcycle every week.

This has been an amazing opportunity to use what and who I am to help those who were born in environments that lack of opportunities in my beloved Colombia.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Find someone that has already been through an MBA (preferably from a top school) and ask for help in reviewing your essays and providing advice for applications, interviews, etc. I was fortunate to meet a few people through my work who had just finished their MBA’s at Columbia, Duke, and Cornell, and their help was crucial.

After doing some research, pick your top tow or three business schools and stick with them. Attend info sessions, webinars, etc. Make yourself known to at least one person of the admissions committee. If that one person believes in you and really sees your genuine interest, they will help you, particularly in the areas of your application that are not very strong.

For the GMAT, don’t give up. It was probably one of the hardest parts for me. At points, I was even disappointed given the fact that I am an electrical engineer and took six math college classes. However, believe the saying: practice makes it perfect. Do and review as many problems as possible from the OG using GMAT strategies, not real math approach. At some point, your brain figures out the tricks.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? It was Said’s strong focus and network in social entrepreneurship, as well as Oxford’s community, history, culture and reputation. I was also looking to have another international experience, which for me meant to study in Europe.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My goal is to scale and make AccesoSolar a true sustainable social enterprise. I want to continue to use my knowledge and skills to work with and for communities that have suffered social and economical conflicts, and help bring more opportunities for them. Not only focusing on what they lack of, but rather looking at their potential and how they can offer something valuable to their region, country, and world. Entrepreneurship is something that has always been hunting me and it is time for me to give it a real try.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?: That I cared about building strong relationships with them, was able to contribute to their development, and learned from them. And that I was fun to be around!

  • geoff elliott

    An interesting discussion. however, how do reconcile that most business schools teach/replicate 1970s/80 Anglo?US management models and concepts which are invariably reductionist and analytical. they are predicated on the Cartesian paradigm

  • Spartan 22

    I imagine that being a 1-yr program makes it more difficult for career switchers to get placed. Also, Europe is in a bit of an economic “down” period (particularly places such as Spain, Italy, France, etc). Your best bet remains a top 15 U.S. based program unless you’re adamant on working in Europe

  • radish

    It was Steve Ballmer NOT paul allen!

  • tamix

    I heard he was a saudi businessman with a controversial business career in arm dealing and other questionable things. The students union and many faculties and professors and alumni of Oxford protested such degrade and urged the university to decline the fund, but they couldn’t find any alumni who can fund a business school. Cambridge has managed to get its business school named after one great alumni, but oxford could not. Many attribute this to the unloyal alumni and weak network nature of european schools in general. Partially because they are public, but essentially it is a cultural thing. I heard also that the current dean has persuaded Paul Allen of microsoft to donate to the school to name it after him, but he refused.

  • DD

    Comes from a syrian businessman named Wafic Said who donated funds to start the business school at Oxford.

  • Rimond

    What does the word of “Said” mean ?!

  • thor

    Not even the INSEAD or LBS program?

    No offense, I agree the top US programs (HBS, Stanford GSB, Wharton, Haas, Sloan, etc) are stronger. But I think your general view on European business education is myopic. Perhaps that’s caused by your lack of exposure to, or lack of knowledge about, European business schools.
    The only advantage I can see of attending a top US b-school is its ability to send its graduates to top banks and consulting firms, which I admit, they offer very lucrative remuneration packages to fresh MBA graduates. But other than that, I think there’s no clear advantage of attending a top US b-school vs a top European b-school. I don’t think the scope, lectures, professors, level of difficulty (standards), students or facilities vary significantly that an MBA candidate can confidently differentiate any major distinction favoring the top US b-schools.
    I’ve visited Oxford-Said, Cambridge-Judge, LBS, Warwick, Manchester and LSE (which doesn’t offer MBA but is also an excellent choice for those who want a career in banking and finance), and I’m quite impressed with Oxford Said, Cambridge-Judge, Warwick and LSE (in that order) the most.
    Personally, I’d go for Oxford or Cambridge if I can’t get into what I consider the top 5 MBA programs in the world: Stanford GSB, HBS, Berkeley-Haas, Wharton and MIT-Sloan. Meaning to say, Oxford-Said and Cambridge-Judge are, for me, the better choices than Chicago-Booth, Kellogg and Tuck. But then again, I’m one of those who think Yale-SOM and Columbia are better choices than Booth, Kellogg and Tuck.

  • josh

    It is quite surprising that the GMAT range starts from 550 while in their website they say the threshold for admission is 600 !!

  • Hayward78

    Which points? The post’s points seem valid!