Meet The MBA Class of 2021: Jo Goodall, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Jo Goodall

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

A proud “Yorkshire lass”, marathon runner, and long-distance cyclist who loves a challenge and adventure.  Passionate about improving wellbeing in others.”

Hometown: South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Fun Fact About Yourself: In August, prior to starting my MBA, I cycled solo from Yorkshire to Vienna in 17 days.  It was a journey of 1,000 miles, during a global pandemic and I raised £2,000 for the charity, MS-UK.  I wrote a daily blog, which has now turned into a popular weekly blog about my Oxford experiences.

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Exeter, Business & Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Started my own health & fitness business

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? GOTO – Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford.

GOTO is an action-oriented, problem-solving module which aims to address some of the most complex challenges the world faces today.  The module is entirely team-based, and throughout Hilary term we explore complex 21st century challenges to drive towards creating new businesses, policies, or interventions that go some way to tackling the issue. As much as our core modules teach us the fundamentals of business, GOTO gives us the opportunity to face up to real problems in the world today.

What is the most “Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? Amongst many other things, Oxford is famous for matriculation and rowing. Even though the world is living through this global pandemic right now, and matriculation could not be held in person, it was really special to be part of the first “virtual” one.  We all wore our “sub-fusc”, which isn’t something you get to do every day.

Before the national lockdowns, I managed to squeeze in a rowing session with my college novice team.  One of the UK’s most successful rowers, Matthew Pinsent, is an alumnus of my college, so we have lots of memorabilia dedicated to him in our college boathouse.

Oxford is known as a place where world 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? There have been too many to pick just one.  I have met so many interesting and incredible people, both on my course and in my college.  The diverse group of students that make up the MBA cohort is brilliant, and I can happily say I have made some friends for life.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I spent three years undertaking the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA) qualification.  For one of the exams, which was taken by over 6,000 students, I was ranked 3rd in the world.  I achieved this whilst working on a large-scale transformation project at one of the Big 4 Consulting firms, so most of my studying had to take place late into the night in a hotel bedroom!

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? For the duration of our MBA, we have been in some sort of “lockdown.” This means gyms have been closed and/or exercise opportunities have been limited. I understand the positive physical and mental benefits of regular exercise, so as soon as the lockdowns started, I began running a weekly online workout for my MBA class. Each week I receive messages from my classmates thanking me and saying how helpful they are finding the workouts. I’m really proud to be helping my classmates out, even in just a small way.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? That place which cannot be named in Oxford (due to the famous, long-standing rivalry)!

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program?

Myself: I really do deserve to be here, as much as everyone else.  When I first arrived, I admit there was some “imposter syndrome” but as our Dean, Dean Tufano, said in his welcome speech to us: “No one made a mistake in accepting you.  You all deserve to be here.”

The World: We can tackle anything; living through a global pandemic at one of the best business schools, has shown me that we are in safe hands if my classmates are the blueprint for the global leaders of tomorrow.


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