Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Samuel Bailey, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Samuel Bailey

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

“A legal mind with a passion for business and a heart for service; Caribbean Citizen.”

Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica

Fun Fact About Yourself: For several years, I played the saxophone and bass guitar in a Jamaican reggae band #TNNMusic.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of the West Indies – Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

Postgraduate School and Major: Balliol College, University of Oxford – Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Judicial Counsel at the Caribbean Court of Justice, headquartered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

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? Growing up in the Caribbean, there is a certain respect for British schools which already narrowed my focus in choosing a business school to the UK. However, Saïd Business School’s focus on impact investment in its syllabus made it the easy choice. Throughout the course, we are constantly challenged in the way we think about creating portfolios, assessing investments, and advising companies. When we propose an integration of ESG goals, our lecturers ensure that this is done practically, recognizing all the obstacles, and eventually resulting in the innovation of new approaches to our business ideas. This was extremely important for me since my goals have always involved eventually returning to my home country Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, with a hope to make a meaningful change. Through our future businesses, we have the power to impact education, employment, crime, and economic growth. Since studying in the MBA at Saïd, I have been able to grapple with my ideas, ensuring that specific goals can be met whilst still being financially successful.

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? Oxford has been an extremely unique experience for me. Each time I attend a formal dinner, play on the rugby field, or watch an Oxford Union Debate, I am amazed by the people I meet. Last year I attended a formal dinner at my college (Balliol), where I sat at the table with a diplomat, a film director, a politician, a writer, and three postgraduate students in history, computer science, and economics respectively. This conversation began with the short interrogation of me, as the resident lawyer, on the possible implementation of AI in the judicial system and eventually ended with a discussion on failing economies and modern philosophy. We traversed through several topics that night with the assistance of some Port wine and perhaps left with more questions than answers, but it was unbelievable the knowledge and wisdom that was shared in those five hours. This is the beauty of studying in a place such as Oxford, where you get access to a wider community of scholars with diverse backgrounds, ages, and studies to benefit from experiencing. Saïd Business School itself also promotes this diverse experience with 71 nationalities in the present class. Being the only the Jamaican in the class, I gain new perspectives every day!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My greatest accomplishment so far has been my work at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), assisting our region in fulfilling its goals. At the CCJ, my main role was to advise the senior judges of the court on new developing areas in the law as it concerned final appeals or cases with an international law aspect under our Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Whilst I was at the court, the CCJ had its first Advisory Opinion, deciding on issues of reciprocity between states, a principle necessary for true integration to be fulfilled. This was one of the most significant cases I could witness during my time working at the court, as it embodied the purpose of CARICOM. I truly believe that as a Caribbean region our success can only come from abolishing an individualistic mentality and becoming one. From a business perspective, judgments such as the Advisory Opinion instill confidence, which lead to increased regional trade, movement, and cooperation. This will undoubtedly create more opportunities for businesses development, which will benefit the entire Caribbean.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far has been my successful mastery of financial aspects of the course. As a lawyer, one of my main aims going into the MBA was to expand my financial knowledge. Courses such as Business Finance, Analytics, and Accounting are usually daunting for persons in my profession, but I made a point to challenge myself and I have been pleased with the result. Not only have I benefitted from experienced lecturers, but also brilliant classmates with finance backgrounds who have generously taken the time to clarify any points I found confusing. I have also spent hours practicing financial modeling using online platforms provided by SBS. This dedication to mastering a new area has been instrumental in my consideration of future career options in IB, PE and VC. The MBA at Saïd has equipped me with all the knowledge and skills needed to make any such future career change possible and has given me a strong network on which to build it for years to come. This knowledge has also been helpful as an attorney for international corporate advisory work.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None. I was absolutely convinced that Saïd Business School’s MBA was the only MBA program I wanted to pursue.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? The biggest epiphany I have gained during the MBA is that there are many ways to define and find success. As a young Black Jamaican man growing up, there were very specific goals set for us and anything else was deemed far-fetched. After qualifying as an attorney in two jurisdictions, being employed to the Caribbean’s highest court, and receiving a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford by 23 years old, it felt as if all those goals were quickly being knocked down one-by-one. The logical question thereafter was: What next? In answering that question, I am constantly reminded by the amazing career coaches at Saïd to expand my mindset. I am no longer limited to goals which are “within reach”, but could finally consider truly every opportunity in the world and decide where I would feel most fulfilled and could contribute best given my skills and experience. This has been an amazing journey to embark on, as I continue thinking through what success looks like for me. Where I plan to be in five years is now very different than I had previously imagined.


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