2021 MBAs To Watch: Dave Muriuki, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Dave Muriuki

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

Deeply curious about how the world around me truly works.”

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

Fun fact about yourself: In another life I might have been a race car driver – I have spent far too much time thinking about racing lines and wheelspin.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Maseno University: Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science; University of Nairobi, MSc. in Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Centum Investment Company Plc, Principal

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Not applicable.

Where will you be working after graduation? Not known yet

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am a member of the Oxford Africa Business Alliance at Oxford Saïd.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Coming in second in the Morgan Stanley Investment Banking Challenge. I had an absolutely cracking time working with our team of 4 to dissect a packaging business for an LBO and presenting the case to the head of coverage for Morgan Stanley in the U.K. My favourite part of the whole affair was having some black pudding my quintessentially English teammate had made at one of our get-togethers – it was just like being back in Kenya!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Co-founding a boutique corporate finance advisory firm in Kenya and subsequently raising millions of dollars in local currency funding for businesses. Kenya has tremendous potential to be an economic powerhouse and it’s been the highlight of my career to actively contribute to the development of a new area of the capital markets industry in the country.

Why did you choose this business school?

Africa Focus – The School has a strong commitment to and focus on Africa. What attracted me to the Oxford MBA is than more than 12% of the cohort every year comes from Africa.

As I am returning to Africa post-MBA, it was critical to join a programme that would provide an extensive network in Africa and have dedicated content and electives focused on doing business on the continent.

GOTO – An immersive project that leverages Oxford’s tutorial method to sharpen one’s thinking and analytical skills and applies them to wicked problems. This was extremely important to me as nations across the developing world, my home country among them, are still at the stage where they’re designing, developing or tweaking their fundamental systems. It’s been an invaluable opportunity for me to immerse myself in system level issues. Being at the University of Oxford is also a phenomenal experience in and of itself – my GOTO team will, for example, be speaking directly with the researchers who created the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Michael Gill: His method of debating cases made the content come alive in an astounding way – you could relate with the challenges faced by decision makers and felt as if you were in the room with them. Even when you knew they were making the wrong call, you could see why they did it through their eyes.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Pre-lockdown – punting on the Thames and hitting the pub afterward!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Drawing a blank here – I’d do it just the same!

What is the biggest myth about your school? That it’s a British experience. What I’ve found instead is a global experience from a wonderfully diverse group of students. There’s such a rich mix of perspectives on every issue because we all have different backgrounds, it makes discussions incredibly stimulating.

What surprised you the most about business school? How close one can get to people you’ve only known for a few months. I’ve met amazing folks that I’m going to treasure for the rest of my life.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Speaking with alums to get an insider’s understanding of what makes Saïd different and how to make the most of my time here. It helped me craft compelling essays for the AdCom.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Shiemaa Ahmed, a first-generation graduate from Sudan who won a Skoll Scholarship to attend Oxford. Over and above her day job, she co-founded a platform for marketing Sudanese crafts as well as a centre for promoting critical thinking and debates among university and high school students. Her drive and ability to get things done in the face of significant challenges is spectacular.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Not at all – the school had experience from the previous cohort and have used that to craft how they deliver content during our time here. The lockdowns have been quite sad though. 

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My first boss, who happened to be a Cambridge alum and the smoothest, most effective operator I have ever met. His delivery – on time, to spec, every time – was beyond belief. His ability to take on roles outside his comfort zone and master them is a trait I’ve looked to emulate throughout my career.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Close a billion-dollar transaction
  • Do deals in all four corners of the continent

What made Dave such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Dave brings a wealth of experience and insight into doing business in Africa. Dave is passionate about growing the private capital markets in Africa. He is applying the business skills he is learning on the MBA programme to fundamentally change the credit landscape in his home country, Kenya.

Although the Oxford MBA programme will help support him in his future aims, it is more his ability to educate the wider (non-African) network at Oxford Saïd on the opportunities that exist within Africa. By showcasing this to his peers, who are a global audience, the narrative on how to navigate the challenges and access the opportunities in Africa will be improved for generations to come.”

Tammy Brophy
Africa Initiative Manager


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