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!

  • Tesla

    For DPhil, yes, For Politics, Economics, Social sciences, yes, but for professional degrees such as MBA, No, it is not a dream school. In fact, I don’t believe in any european based mba.

  • Yaniv

    University of Oxford, undergrad, MPhil programs, DPhil, are all different than the MBA program there. The Mckinsey chairman and CEO is a DPhil graduate and he still believe that the MBA there is way behind Indiana and CMU, let alone Darden or Tuck.

  • Mhier

    Dream university. Dream program. But I don’t think I have what Oxford is looking for in a candidate.
    Oxford Said is better than Yale SOM or Dartmouth Tuck and such school.

  • C. Taylor


  • Brad Headley

    I thought that the two “classes” of students’ pay excluded from salary reports were 1) sponsored students returning to their previous employer and 2) students engaging in entrepreneurial activities after business school.

  • C. Taylor


    “These aspects of the school have always been its pride but also curse when it comes to rankings”

  • Sandra McNeal

    Oxford is undoubtedly best in the world for Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship – two career tracks that generally provide comparatively low starting salaries. These aspects of the school have always been its pride but also curse when it comes to rankings, which generally are based on very skewed statistics.

  • C. Taylor

    Oxford is currently somewhere between Yale and McCombs, depending on your purposes.

    EU guys don’t have to score as high on the GMAT, so they don’t bother. This fake ‘MBA-Recruiting’ guy is trying to mislead you on a number of points.

  • MBA-Recruiting

    Well, for me it is obvious that Oxford MBA is totally different thing than Oxford University other degree programs. MBA is new thing to both Oxford and Cambridge. In fact, both business schools of Said and Judge are not yet accredited by the AACSB. They are very new. They are just like the Carey business school of the great university of JH. People in business world, and people who know MBAs, know that both MBA programs of Oxbridge are mature yet. They need time. They, however, got an unmatched asset of the brand of Oxford and Cambridge, and they need to build very smart on it. But, the reality is that MBA industry is changing and there are lots of good players with mature, and already established alumni base and stable recruiting clients.
    It was not surprise for me that Oxford MBA did so poor in the marketplace. Go to MBB recruiting websites, and you will find that they recruit from Oxbridge for undergrad and other degrees, not the MBA. The Cambridge MPhil in finance is its flagship, most prestigious program, not the MBA. Oxford PPP is its most prestigious program, not the MBA. Keep in mind that, MBA is really really an american thing and highly regarded by the american corporations, continental european companies prefer Master of management degrees at schools like HEC Paris, ST Gallen, etc.. MBA is seen as executive thing. In england, the good business professional would have done his/her undergrad at Oxbridge and MBA at INSEAD, LBS, or M7 in US, it is quite rare to find someone with oxbridge undergrad will back to his/her alma mater for MBA. Also, keep in mind that the employment numbers of Cambridge are also comparable to Oxford, the difference is that Cambridge manipulated the figures by adjusting to PPP, and therefore numbers looked bigger ! anyway, I always say, for anyone want real and genuine MBA experience, to do it in US, any top 30 MBA program will provide much much better experience than any other non-US school including those of INSEAD, LBS, and IE. Just look at any employment report of any top 30 american school, Vanderbilt, USC MArshall, INDIANA, Emory, ..etc to see the very obvious difference.

  • Brad Headley

    Can someone please explain to me Oxford Said’s poor performance in employment statistics? It baffles me. Any U.S. business school in Top 25 seems to outperform Oxford MBA graduates in terms of starting salary, % hired, etc. Why?