Meet The MBA Class of 2021: Bianca Vermooten, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Bianca Vermooten

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

“Independent film producer with a love for travelling, good wine and interesting people.”

Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa

Fun Fact About Yourself: Despite my lack of sporting abilities, I have a knack for winning miniature golf.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Cape Town, BA Honours Drama

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Optical Films | Film Producer

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Oxford Saïd’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? One of the cornerstones of Oxford Saïd’s programming is redefining what business success looks like. Success in business is more than a paycheck; it’s an opportunity to change the world from our unique positions of influence. As future leaders and alumni of Oxford, we have a mandate to leave the world better than we found it. The design of Oxford Saïd’s MBA course is curated to equip students to be socially responsible in whatever industry or position they will find themselves. We are all tasked with playing a pivotal role in the success of our world.

What is the most Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? In my first week at Oxford, I had the chance to go punting along the Thames. Navigating the canals from the back of a skinny boat with a long stick in the water is much harder than it looks. It’s exhausting, and despite many close calls I was really proud of myself for making it back to the boat house without falling in the water.

Oxford is known as a place where worlds collides, be it in the classroom or the dining hall? What has been the most interesting interaction you’ve had so far as an Oxford MBA student? Making connections this year has been very different. We haven’t had the experience of dining halls, large full lecture rooms and networking events. Our interactions have been in Zoom breakout rooms and walk ‘n talks. But the most fantastic thing about Oxford Saïd, is the extreme diversity of the cohort, I don’t think I’ve been in one session when everyone has been from the same background or even the same continent. What a unique privilege it is to be constantly learning from different perspectives no matter what conversation you are a part of.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest achievement so far is my most recent documentary that I produced, KUSASA. The film has won the Best Feature Documentary award at three international film festivals to date with a couple more festivals on the horizon. Despite the awards, which are always great to receive as a filmmaker, this film was used to raise funds for COVID relief during 2020. It is also currently being used to fund scholarships and place a group of children into good schools. Seeing a project that changed my life, change the life of others in-turn is an accomplishment that will stay with me forever.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? One of my biggest accomplishments was getting into the programme. I dreamt of coming to Oxford one day, but I honestly didn’t think I had the ingredients that Oxford was looking for. I wasn’t a banker, a consultant or an established entrepreneur, but I took the chance; I worked incredibly hard on my application, studied for the GMAT, sweated through my interviews and here we are – the drama student/film maker is at business school.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I had my heart set on Oxford, so I only applied to Oxford Saïd. I managed to get my application in round one so if I didn’t get in I could consider other options, but there wasn’t a need for that – phew.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? I’ve felt like an imposter at many stages of my life, always feeling like I’m teetering on the edge of people finding out that I really don’t belong. The first couple of weeks at Oxford was clouded by this feeling, but I quickly discovered that most people feel the same way. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be paralysed by imposter syndrome and it’s good to be aware of that. Imposter syndrome shouldn’t hold you back from fully embracing the opportunities you’ve been given, but I’ve found it helpful to keep my inner imposter around as it keeps me grounded, humbled and thankful for where I find yourself.


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