Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Jacob Bignell, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Jacob Bignell

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

“A quintessential Kiwi passionate about business, personal finance, sport, and a good game of Texas Hold’em.”

Hometown: Nelson, New Zealand

Fun Fact About Yourself:  My brother and I run a side-business each summer selling cherries at farmers markets and on street stalls across New Zealand

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Canterbury – Bachelor of Commerce (Economics & Marketing)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: AsureQuality Ltd – Commercial Manager

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? I chose Oxford specifically for the focus that the Saïd Business School places on admitting a diverse cohort. Coming from a small town in New Zealand, my top priority was to broaden my horizon and learn as much as I could, which I knew would come from getting to know people with experiences different than my own.

What is the most “Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? In our Launch week, the school organized a black-tie social event at Oxford’s Natural History Museum. Several hundred eager MBA’s gathered together to meet one another and kick off the term. At one point, someone asked me where they could get a drink, to which I replied, “Just over there mate, there’s a table of Prosecco under the T-Rex”.

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? It’s tough to pick one moment. However, the most interesting conversations always happen over dinner in your college dining hall when you learn about people’s past lives. One night, you sit between an investment banker and an opera singer, the next you sit between an astrophysicist and a professional rugby player; either way.  the conversation can’t be beat.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In my first job out of University, I joined one of AsureQuality’s Business Units that had been given a mandate to improve their performance. Working with a small, tight-knit management team, we took our Business Unit from -5% EBIT to +18% in a 12-month period.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? After picking up Boxing and joining the Varsity Team, I was able to have my first amateur boxing match in the middle of the Oxford Union in front of 300 spectators; getting punched in the face has never been so much fun.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Cambridge and London Business School

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? It doesn’t matter if you’re studying at the world’s best University or your local public college, students everywhere are made of the same stuff. Be kind, face challenges with curiosity, and remember that all good conversations start in the classroom and end at the pub.


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