Meet The Oxford Saïd MBA Class Of 2017

Ndakuna Fonso Amidou

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I am ambitious and persistent.

Hometown:  Bamenda, Cameroon

Fun Fact About Yourself: Before primary school, my dream was to become a fisherman.

Undergraduate School and Major: Brunel University, BEng(Hons) Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

NHS, England, Mental Health Nurse

System Engineer, United Nations

IT Specialist, Problem Manager, IT and Telecom Project Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I founded a healthcare clinic in Cameroon, in 2008. The clinic provides cheap and affordable healthcare and has delivered close to 3,000 babies today. It focuses on basic health issues such as disease management (e.g., HIV-AIDs), vaccinations, maternal clinic. It currently employs eleven nurses and works with two visiting doctors.

Designed a £11M COMMs System for UN agencies in Afghanistan.

I was also delighted to be awarded the UK Best Black student of the year (2016) award, by the UK Houses of Parliament and Rare agency.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Take your time to make a compelling application. It’s not a race. Define a strategy that works for you, not what others do. Play on your strengths and remember GMAT is only one of many data points for MBA admission. Invest the time to visit your chosen B-schools before making a final decision. Take your family and friends on the journey. They need to understand why you have suddenly become so busy; then, they will support you. Get your essays reviewed by people around you. Make sure you apply early if you are interested in scholarships. Approach the interview like an exam in which you aim to get a distinction. There are standard questions (irrespective of the B-school) every candidate must anticipate, such as motivations for the course and B-school and how the B-school complements your vision.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I visited Said Business School three times before making my 1+1MBA application. The 1+1 MBA is unique to Oxford, and it has enabled me to study business in conjunction with a Social Science of the Internet MSc. I chose Said Business School (SBS) for many reasons. One of them is the social entrepreneurship aspect of the programme. Also, the breadth, return on investment and depth of the 1+1MBA Programme at SBS were just unmatchable by other B-schools. Whether you do an MBA or 1+1MBA at SBS, you are first and foremost part of the wider university network.

The Pershing Square Graduate two-year Scholarship also drew me towards the School, and I was delighted to be one of five students to be awarded the Scholarship this year. It is a life-changing opportunity that has given me the chance to greatly expand my skills in an unparalleled learning environment.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream employer would be one that understands, articulates and embeds the meaning of purpose, ownership and governance in its strategy. It would be an organization with values (e.g., trust and honesty) that reflect modern times, such as acknowledging and taking care of the environment where they operate. The business of business isn’t just business.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?   That I taught them something they didn’t know, especially about Africa.

  • 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?