Meet The Oxford Saïd MBA Class Of 2017

Katharina Gromotka

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Introvert frequently disguised as the sociable, cheerful host. I always have room for dessert.

Hometown: Hamburg, Germany

Fun Fact About Yourself: My accent suggests I grew up somewhere in North America, my surname alludes to Eastern European roots; and my pale complexion and auburn hair hint at years in cold, wet climates.

Fun fact(s): I was born in Germany, went to primary school in Niger, middle school in Germany and high school in Vietnam before moving to the UK at age 17 to start university.

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Exeter, Management and Leadership Studies with Proficiency in French

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: (In reverse chronological order)

Global Head of Sales – Bloomberg Institute (the education division of Bloomberg LP)

Content Development Assistant – Bloomberg Institute

Account Manager – Bloomberg Institute

Communications Intern – MyBnk

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When I made the (very tough) decision to leave the extraordinary world of Bloomberg to pursue an MBA, I was overwhelmed by calls and messages from colleagues from across the organization and around the world, wishing me all the best and offering their support for any future endeavor in which I may need it. Dozens of clients also went out of their way to say Thank You for the years we worked together.

Establishing such a strong, supportive network of mentors, advisors and champions for me and my ideas in the workplace is what I consider the biggest accomplishment in my career to date.

(Founding a corporate field hockey team which made national news for attracting so many newcomers to the sport is a close second though!)

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? I participated in the year-long Forté Foundation MBA Launch Program and can honestly say that I would not be at Oxford today had I attempted to tackle the application process on my own. Only through the MBA Launch program did I fully comprehend all the steps I needed to take and how much time I should allow for each part of the process. The program places you in peer groups with other Launchers, which meant that I got to meet a group of bright, talented and fiercely ambitious women all based in London and all looking to further their careers through an MBA. My peer group met regularly to share how we were getting along, help each other with particularly tricky GMAT questions, and proofread each other’s essays.

On top of connecting me with a network of like-minded women, participating in the program gave me exclusive access to a portal through which I was able to reach out directly to admissions officers from any top business schools around the world. I sought out the representatives from Oxford right away and, as a result, by the time I arrived at Oxford for my interview, most of the admissions team knew me already and welcomed me with open arms (literally!).

I was fortunate to receive the Forté Foundation Fellowship shortly after being accepted to Oxford which covers a significant portion of my tuition fees. So ladies, if you’re serious about Business School, get involved with Forté!

Regarding the GMAT, my best advice would be to study for it in the winter months, when it is dark and cold outside (it will become much harder to concentrate when the opportunity cost of studying is sitting outside in the sunshine!).

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I went for the high risk strategy of only applying to one school because I fell in love with Oxford and could not picture myself anywhere else.

Most top Business Schools have some kind of stereotypical career-path associated with them and in the process of researching MBA programs, you will undoubtedly read a myriad of blogs saying that if you want to break into management consulting, you should go to XXX Business School or if you want to go into finance, your best bet is XXX. If you research Oxford, I guarantee that you will struggle to find any kind of stereotypical career path associated with the MBA, and I think that is awesome!

The alumni, faculty and staff I met from Oxford during the application process all highlighted how diverse the cohort is in terms of their career backgrounds and future career ambitions, which is exactly the kind of environment I knew I would fit into and get the most out of.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I enjoy making data-driven decisions and working on projects that require collaborative and creative problem-solving. My dream job would therefore involve working across different teams and departments, connecting the dots between them and coming up with solutions to issues that have an impact beyond the bottom-line.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? “She’s going to do great things one day.”

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