2018 MBAs To Watch: Sakina Mehenni, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Sakina Mehenni

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

I’m a curious individual, always seeking to maximize my experiences, who adores meeting new people.”

Age: 27

Hometown: Born in Algiers, Algeria, but have lived in Montreal, Canada most of my life.

Fun fact about yourself: I lived in 6 cities, across 5 countries, on 4 continents, most before the age of 10. Caught the travel bug early and proceeded to backpack. I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica.

Undergraduate School and Degree: McGill- BCom- Management

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? L’Oreal – Marketing Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? N/A – I was still working full time

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Scholarships + Awards:

Forte Fellow; Alumni Annual Fund Scholarship; Said Business School Foundation Scholarship; Selected for Top 100 MBA- MBA World Summit


Co-Chair Consulting OBN; Said School Ambassador; Oxford Union Committee; Keble College Ball Committee; MBATs Team Captain

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being accepted to the Top 100 MBA World Summit, which I will attend in CapeTown this March. I am honoured to be included and excited to interact and learn from other students outside my program, coming from around the world.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Developed new best practice with first permanent display in a major retail client for L’Oréal Canada. This was identified as a company-wide best practice, and was duplicated across the firm and internationally. Our team entered the display in an internal competition called the “Beauty Shaker Awards” and won first place in the “Excellence” category – focused on projects which have achieved sales and share growth for the company. I loved that, even at an entry level position, I was trusted to make a significant and lasting impact in such a large organization.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Joel Shapiro – I went from Finance being my worst subject to my favourite. He has an excellent way of explaining, and of bringing out the most interesting aspects of the finance practice to keep it both practical and interesting. He keeps it light, and clearly has a passion for the subject. I now love finance, there – I said it!

What was your favorite MBA Course? Global Strategy: I have learnt important elements on how to do business in various countries. More importantly, this is the class where I was able to learn the most from my fellow classmates’ experiences. This is the course which best leverages our VERY diverse backgrounds. Marc Szepan does an amazing job of facilitating interesting discussion, and bringing in knowledgeable speakers.

Why did you choose this business school? Because it’s more than a just a business school. Besides the incredible professors, I learn from my international cohort (60 nationalities), and from the wider university. From meeting Sir Ian McKellen to learning about propulsion systems from the rocket scientist in my college, the university has more to offer than you can imagine.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? They TRULY value diversity – so be yourself, and shine with what stands out!

What is the biggest myth about your school? That it’s “old-school.” Yes, it’s embedded in 800 years of history. While it appreciates the antiquities, the 20 year-old business school is very modern.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Just your run of the mill FOMO! Too much to do and experience! (Luckily, I still have some time to tick more off my list in my last term!) From getting on a horse and playing polo to rowing to visiting every college for dinner- time to start checking off the Oxford Bucket list.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Patrick Watson. He is one of the most impressive people in our course. He has a laundry list of achievements and experiences, and yet, when speaking to anyone, he is genuinely, and humbly impressed. His love for absorbing from everyone around him is what makes him so great!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad. More than anything, he appreciates the value of new experiences. He’s always supported my decisions to run off and travel for months at a time, and always boasts the importance of absorbing as much education as possible.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…likely staying ambitious and working my way up the company ladder, not fully understanding how much I don’t know.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? We are split into sections very quickly. I would love more chances to interact on a working level with more of my classmates.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Go to every country.
  2. Once I’m done – go to space.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want them to remember me as a genuine friend whom they can turn to in the future.

What is your favorite movie about business? Catch Me If You Can. I learnt that a little creativity, and a lot of hustle can kick any boundary. (That being said, I hope to transfer this lesson to legal goals!)

What would your theme song be? “Hakuna Matata” by Timon and Pumbaa

Favorite vacation spot: Colombia. From beaches, to UNESCO sites to an amazing party atmosphere and food to die for, there isn’t much missing from Colombia. But, what drew me the most are the Colombian people. Colombians exude happiness! They are always smiling, incredibly helpful and have a joy for life which was contagious.

Hobbies? Scuba Diving, backpacking, Baking elaborate cakes.

What made Sakina such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Sakina Mehenni has embraced life at Oxford Saïd. Despite the rigorous demands of our one-year MBA, Sakina finds time to co-chair the student led Oxford Business Network, represent her class as an ambassador, sit on the Keble College Ball Committee and work as a Guest Liaison Officer for the historic Oxford Union. Sakina’s ambition and drive has allowed her to quickly progress through her career at L’Oreal, and I’m excited to see what she will achieve with the knowledge, experience and networks she has gained during her MBA.”

Ian Rogan

MBA Programme Director





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