Meet The Oxford Saïd MBA Class Of 2017

John Kakungulu Walugembe

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I am a hard-working, and fun-loving introvert who gets things done, right.

Hometown: Kampala, Uganda

Fun Fact about Yourself: At the moment, my pet (in Uganda) is a goat and my favorite book is the The Pet Goat, a 1995 storybook written by Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine C. Bruner.

Undergraduate School and Major: Makerere University Kampala: Bachelor of Science (Psychology and Zoology)-First Class Honors

Employers and Job Titles since Graduation: Founder- Better-Livelihoods Uganda-Founder; Senior Green Growth Specialist-Global Green Growth Institute

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I managed the scoping phase for the Global Green Growth Institute establishment in Uganda. In the process, I worked closely with the Government of Uganda to develop a pipeline of projects worth $10 million dollars. Some of the pilot projects include: a waste-to-energy project, a solar home systems project and an integrated water management project.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? For most MBA applicants, most of their time will be spent preparing for the GMAT. This approach is correct and any applicant needs to invest time in this endeavor. In preparing for the GMAT, applicants need to be consistent and rely on the best training materials available. The Official Guide for GMAT Review is a must!

Moreover, there is no trick that will substitute hard-work and consistent practice. It is also important that one identifies their areas of weakness early and tries to make improvements. Personally, I had weaknesses in certain quantitative sections and a lot of my preparation was focused on these areas. However, this did not mean that I ignored the rest of the sections.

Applicants should also be aware that the GMAT is not testing for their mathematical skills or their knowledge of a particular subject matter. Thus, any efforts to cram or memorize information will be an exercise in futility. Finally applicants ought to know that for business schools, the GMAT is not their only consideration in the admission process. They look at the quality of the candidate’s prior work experience, their undergraduate GPA, their essays, and letters of recommendation. Consequently, future business school candidates ought to spare no effort in ensuring that they can ably represent their previous achievements well through these alternative avenues.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was delighted to win a Skoll Scholarship, which has enabled me to undertake an Oxford MBA. For a social entrepreneur like me, it is extremely helpful. As you can imagine, the kind of work I do is not often very financially rewarding. As a consequence, this means that many deserving social entrepreneurs might find it impossible to pursue their ambitions. Thanks to the Skoll Scholarship, I can tap into the skills and resources I need to scale up my work in Uganda.

I chose the Oxford MBA programme because it is one of the best (if not the best) and most intense one year MBA programmes on offer, globally. Secondly the Said Business School is an integral part of Oxford University- a World Class University with a unique heritage and “brand”. No wonder Oxford University has been ranked the best university in the world by the Times Higher Education for 2015-16. Most importantly, as a social Entrepreneur, having access to the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business School was of special interest to me.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream sector is international development. My dream Employer is the World Bank. As a social Entrepreneur, I am passionate about contributing to ending extreme poverty in the world-particularly in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and promoting shared prosperity.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? “He enriched our MBA cohort with his very unique experiences and perspectives.”

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