Meet The Oxford Saïd MBA Class Of 2017

Matthias Zwanzger

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: An ambitious, hardworking dreamer who wants to change the world through business

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Fun Fact About Yourself: In my spare time I love to play classical music on my guitar.

Undergraduate School and Major: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Industrial Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Hamatch Group, Managing Director

SPITEC Group, Director of Strategic Planning and Development

SPITEC Group, Chief Financial Officer

SPITEC Group, Head of Projects

LATAM Airlines Group, Supply Chain Planning Analyst

LATAM Airlines Group, Performance Management Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Instead of focusing on quantifiable accomplishments, I would like to highlight an accomplishment that I feel made a significant impact on a colleague.

Years ago, I organized an innovation contest that considered more than 250 colleagues from our department. This contest included people from every level and qualification. After presenting the format to the people, a period of one month was given for my colleagues to present their work. Thankfully, the contest was a success and a handful of innovation proposals were presented. At the end, the team of managers voted for the winner, who was a maintenance worker whose project allowed the company to save a significant amount of money in the long run.

This contest not only allowed the maintenance worker to receive a prize and the congratulations of the managers’ team, but also helped him further his career inside the company.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? First and foremost, build a well-structured plan and try to stick to it. As the time required for the application, including GMAT, essays and interviews, is extremely long; good planning will help you get through it. In addition, consider what you are looking for before defining your target schools. There are a large number of schools and it is important to find a school that matches your expectations and is able to prepare you for your dream.

In a more practical sense, I would recommend the following for each step of the application:

GMAT: First, go for the quick-wins, such as quant and SC. Those two are the easiest to improve in a short time lapse if you learn from the correct sources. Afterward, improve your RC and CR skills by reading quality material, such as The Economist.

Essays: Before writing, think about your career, accomplishments, and failures before you thoroughly reflect on your dreams. After getting a good grasp on those elements, writing the essays will be the easy part. Always ask two or three friends to review your essays so you can get useful feedback.

Interviews: The routine that worked for me was asking a friend to do several mock interviews. In particular, if English is not your first language, these sessions will help you greatly.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA?

  • The fact that the Saïd Business School is embedded into the University of Oxford makes the MBA a life-changing experience. You will not only meet amazing and diverse people from your class, but also incredible people in your colleges and on the University.
  • The Saïd Business School offers a unique program that combines perfectly with the tradition and history of the University of Oxford. For instance, the GOTO project and the entrepreneurial orientation reinforce the commitment of the school towards world-scale problems and market tendencies. On the other hand, the school allows you to be part of events that invoke the tradition of the University of Oxford, such as the debates or the college dinners.
  • I was looking for a program that promotes diversity in every aspect, so that I could meet people from different cultures, professional backgrounds and dreams. When I learned that the Saïd Business School could offer me that diversity, I was completely sure about my fit with the school.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job would be to lead a company that challenges the way business has been conducted so far. I would like to be part one of the current group of leaders who are redefining the relation between the businesses and the community and environment. However, in order for this job to be my dream job, it would also have to allow me sufficient time to spend with my family and on my hobbies. 

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like them to say that I had an impact on them, even a slight one, that positively changed the way they thought about the world. In addition, I would like that they think of me as someone who passionately wanted to fulfil his dreams.



  • 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!