Dr. Emma Karanja
Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
“Dr Miranda Bailey meets Margaret Hale.”
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love period dramas, like The Crown & Downtown Abbey.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Nairobi: Bachelor of medicine, & Bachelor of Surgery
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital: Medical Officer
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: With the introduction of free maternity health service and being the medical officer in charge of the maternity ward in Tigoni District Hospital, I needed to maximize the impact I could deliver through my team by focusing on two areas; strengthening my team’s skills so as to maximize their impact, and empowering pregnant women to be part of this improvement. The result of my initiatives was a decrease in maternal mortality, infant mortality and an increase in vaccination uptake rates in the hospital.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Honestly, one quality wouldn’t do my classmates any justice, so these will start you off: fun, genuine, intelligent, driven, and diverse.
Aside from your classmates, 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? GOTO: Global Opportunities and Threats: an action-oriented problem-solving community project that proves Oxford Saïd’s dedication to solving world-scale problems. This is important to me, as healthcare is included. An example of a previous topic is a global problem that students from all disciplines in the MBA class discussed and formulated scalable solutions.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Having dinner at all the colleges in the University of Oxford.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? When I realized that I wanted to start my journey in social impact, and found that the set of skills I needed to help me along my new path, came all bundled together under the Oxford Saïd MBA program.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? The MBA is an investment in myself and represents a value add for me in terms of acquiring a very specific skill set, personal growth and access to networks that I would otherwise not have had, had I not taken this risk.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? NONE. I have always loved Oxford, and Saïd Business School was my first choice, and I was abundantly blessed to have got in during the first intake of the 2019 class.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? What I wanted most out of this experience was a different approach to understanding business, and the program at Oxford Saïd offers you the opportunity to not only learn the core elements of business but how to run a responsible business in today’s world. What better way to learn about global business than to be in a school that boasts of an international class representing 62 countries. Alongside the business school, is the Skoll Centre of Entrepreneurship that allows students to not only understand entrepreneurship better but takes a deep dive into social impact, that I believe should be capitalized more in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
To understand the core elements of the program better, I did my research online. To understand the cultural fit, I relied more on my interactions with current and past students of Oxford Saïd, who spoke highly of their experiences at the school, with most, if not all the students, wishing they had more time to spend at the school.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? As a doctor, my decision to apply to business school was atypical to say the least, arduous to say the most, but so worth it. Coming from a typically non- traditional business background, I have learned to be resilient, meticulous and focused in my entire application process, and have found joy in the person I have become.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? To return to home, equipped with the skills, knowledge, and networks to drive Universal Health Coverage in Africa.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Dedicating myself to starting an African scholarship fund to allow more students to realize their dream of studying at Oxford #itsanOxfordthing.