Meet Oxford Saïd’s MBA Class Of 2018

Katie-Coral Sicora 

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  I’d say I’m ELECTRIC. I have the audacity to see possibilities and the gumption to act.

Hometown: Ventura, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I had a baby this past year during my first masters at Oxford. Everyone told me that having a child would be challenging and rewarding. Not enough people talk about how much FUN it is to help a small person come to know the world and become wholly themselves…Plus, you get to build forts!

Undergraduate School and Major: 

University of Oxford: MSc Human Geography in Nature Society and Environmental Governance;

Emerson College: BS Political Communication, Social Advocacy and Leadership

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Senior Marketing Specialist (Program Manager), Experiential Marketing, Bluebeam Software

Communication, Brand, and Marketing Manager, Dedoose

Market Research and Operations Projects Manager and Strategic Communication Associate, Maslansky + Partners

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am quite passionate about promoting the role of women in business, and proud to be a Forte Fellow this year. To that end, I had the good fortune to be a consulting producer on the web series GODCOMPLX, part of Google’s diversity and education initiative. I worked with Google and the creative team to leverage stories from my own career to showcase women in technology roles.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? 

  • Decide if the MBA is right for you: I volunteer with the Forte Foundation and one thing that women often tell me is that they are scared that they are not ‘ready’ because they don’t have it all figured out.’ Ladies — In my opinion, people who ‘have it all figured out’ are either lying or just not thinking big enough. Personally, I am excited that the MBA will be a time of exploration and transformation. That said, if you are not sure if the MBA itself is right for you, that is a valid concern, and there are pre-MBA programs that can help you decide. I recommend the Forte Foundation MBA Launch program and/or the Riordan MBA Fellowship at UCLA. I loved both.
  • Find the right place: Not every top tier school is going to be the school for you, no matter how they rank or who is on the recruiter list, so be patient and don’t give up on finding a program that makes you come alive. And when you find it, focus on building relationships. Go to multiple recruiting events. Show up for the open days. Shadow students and join a club meeting. Ask to connect with alumni in your area. Visiting Oxford, I was concerned that it would be, in the words of Joni Mitchell, it would be too ‘old and cold and settled in its ways.’ I was dead wrong, and instead it was like coming home, to a home I had never known existed. It may sound cheesy, but if you don’t feel that strongly about a school then move on. Life is short and this is a big decision that stretches beyond your first post MBA opportunity.
  • One note on the GMAT: The GMAT offers accommodations. If you struggle with any kind of disability, you should know there are options for you. From extra time to special chairs or computers to private rooms, the GMAC team can meet your needs. It takes about 3 months and requires a great deal of paperwork and verification, so start the process early.
  • A word to the parents: Don’t be too afraid to bring your family on the journey. It was a tough task to have a baby mid-program, but it has also been the coolest opportunity for my son and my husband, who has been the most amazing support. Now, no matter what my son decides to do with his life, he will have his ‘Oxford Aunties and Uncles’ to help him along his way. And that is priceless.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? To me, business plays an important role in improving society and the two key drivers for me are listed below. But more than that, Said’s mission aligns with what has always driven me—that I can and should leave the world better than I found it.

  • 1+1 and Pershing Square Scholarship: The 1+1 dual degree program was a huge draw as it pairs a variety of masters degrees across the university with the MBA. I have just completed my MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance and I will now bring a deepknowledge base to the MBA and act as a resource for my peers. I am also grateful to be one of the five students chosen for the Pershing Square Scholarship, which offers full funding plus a stipend for both years of the 1+1 program. My cohort just returned from a scholarship trek this summer in New York where we were able to meet the head of Pershing Square Capital, foundation leaders and grantees such as the Innocence Project, Echoing Green, The Social Impact Fund, the Robin Hood Foundation and many more. I feel honoured that I will be part of such an impactful community for the rest of my life.
  • Skoll Center For Social Entrepreneurship: I was also inspired by the Skoll Center, which offers a host of co-curricular programming including the Oxford Global Challenge, the Skoll Academy, and the Leading for Impact Fellowship. As a Leading for Impact Fellow this past year, I got to see first-hand the impact that such programming can have and it far exceeded my expectations.

From the recruiting process to now being in Oxford, it has ultimately been the people demonstrated the culture. At every turn, they opened my eyes to the fact that Oxford Said’s mission is not just important for students, but lived in the daily passions of the staff.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? This summer I attended the Forte MBA Conference and met recruiters from Whirlpool and fell in love with the company. I will be joining them for an internship next summer as part of their Global Leader Program, where I will tackle cross-functional projects that can have a real and immediate impact on the business and its global footprint. I think that after this first, and only year, being invited to join the Whirlpool family full time would be amazing. Ultimately, I want to be employed at a company (even my own!) where I can make a difference and where my intrapreneurial mind-set and penchant for seeing global possibilities and taking action to solve problems will be celebrated and encouraged.