Meet Oxford Saïd’s MBA Class Of 2018

Eva Hoffmann  

Lincoln College / Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A nomadic, sustainability-obsessed designer who spends too much time dreaming about poverty eradication.

Hometown: New York City, New York

Fun Fact About Yourself: I embrace pretty much any challenge as a learning opportunity, and as a result I have had a really bizarre set of jobs — catching sharks in the South Pacific; teaching 3D printing; sorting recyclables with Cambodian wastepickers; writing copy for pharmaceutical ads; and combing rats’ fur in Africa.

Undergraduate School and Major:

BA, Human Biology, Stanford University 2011

MS, Mechanical Engineering Design, Stanford University 2013

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Beyond Interiors (Cambodia) – Recycling Design Consultant

Proximity Designs (Myanmar) – Design Fellow

Stanford Solar Decathlon – Interaction Design Team

d.light Design – Design Engineer

d.light Design – Design Director

IDEO U – Teaching Assistant

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At d.light, it was the launch of the A1 solar lamp, which is the world’s most affordable quality solar lamp (retailing around US $5). It has already improved the lives of millions of consumers in developing economies by allowing them to stop using dangerous and costly kerosene lamps.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Don’t be afraid to keep looking until you find a school that is the perfect fit; go with your gut rather than what you think you’re supposed to do. Talking to my peers and mentors in the US, I felt a lot of pressure to go to school there; I probably wouldn’t have considered schools outside the US if a colleague hadn’t encouraged me to apply to Oxford Saïd. But even Oxford’s application process made me fall in love with the school, and I knew that it was right for me.

Restrain yourself from spending too much time looking at ranking and admissions stats of schools — you will drive yourself crazy and it will never help you get a sense of which community is a good fit for you!

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? Saïd’s commitment to social impact, and the fact that the school actively invests in establishing itself as a leader in the social innovation field. It’s so exciting to see Oxford constantly prototyping new initiatives, courses, and workshops to refine how it prepares students for meaningful social impact. You really see this paying off when you look at what happens after graduation. Most MBA programs will talk about how they support social innovation, but when you look at the impact that alumni are actually having on the ground, Oxford Saïd’s track record is outstanding!

I also love that Oxford has become a magnet for people that share this commitment to positive impact; the classmates I’ve met so far have already completely amazed me with how considerate, diverse, and globally-conscious they are. Oxford Saïd’s self-definition as “the business school the world needs” sounded like a catchy marketing slogan to me at first, but each conversation I have with students, staff, and professors here only reinforces how true this tagline is. I am so excited and humbled to be a part of this!

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? It would be having a diverse network of classmates that I can rely on to challenge me with unexpected questions and new perspectives. At this point in my career, I’ve easily built a network of people with similar experiences and approaches, but I believe it’s far more valuable to be able to call on peers who stretch my thinking by pushing me in unexpected ways. Thanks to a cohort that is ultra-diverse in pretty much every dimension, Oxford Saïd is the ideal place for me to build a lifelong network of friends who think so differently that our conversations knock me off my feet.