Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Sanoma Jean, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Sanoma Jean

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

“Plant-obsessed, coffee-drinking, world-exploring, people-connecting, pursuer of tech, entrepreneurship, & social impact!”

Hometown: San Diego, California, USA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a certified personal trainer, owned a personal training business, and competed in National bodybuilding competitions.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Denver – Business Information Analytics & Marketing Dual Degree

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Google – Finance Business Intelligence Engineer

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 Saïd because of so many reasons, but two of the most important to me were the internationality and diversity of the talent that the school attracted, and the social impact focus the school bolsters. These were key deciding factors, as the network you get out of b-school is one of your greatest assets. I knew having the chance to meet and work with driven, intelligent people from all over the world on social impact problems that matter would be the opportunity of a lifetime.

What is the most “Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? I did my best to entrench myself in the Oxford lifestyle as soon as I got here, knowing a one-year program would be over before I blinked. In this pursuit, I took up rowing my first term, in which I had absolutely zero experience. It was incredibly enriching seeing the history and traditions behind the rowing sport at Oxford and the impressive athletes that have competed on the Isis river. Early mornings and cold hands were made up for by the connections with amazing people and the beauty of the sunrises.

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? The people of Oxford University are some of the top talent of the world. I have met people from all over the world and the industry map. I have met someone working on a cancer vaccine, NHS doctors, tech entrepreneurs with multiple successful exits, founders of NGOs, and Olympic competitors. I have attended talks from Hillary Clinton, Professor Sarah Gilbert (the co-creator of the AstraZeneca vaccine), Alan Jope (the CEO of Unilever), and so many more notable people. I can’t pick a single interesting interaction because I genuinely cross paths with mind-blowing people every day.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Sometimes, I have to pinch myself when thinking of all the amazing projects and people that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I have been part of the Global Trade & New Markets team at Tesla and working on nuanced and complex issues during the US-China trade war and became a Googler and champion of LGBTQ+ Pride in the Finance organization. I have been fortunate to work with so many uniquely accomplished and supportive people, who were ultimately instrumental in my decision (and ability!) to attend Oxford for my MBA.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? As an MBA student, there are so many opportunities at our fingertips, and it becomes a complex effort in prioritization and time management. One of the things I am most proud of being a part of at Oxford is the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Oxford Business Network. Along with my co-chairs, we have been able to bring an impressive selection of notable speakers and workshops to the entrepreneurship world at Oxford. It is an incredibly supportive peer network and has facilitated some of my most meaningful connections.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Imperial College London, London Business School, INSEAD, and Oxford. It was clear I wanted to be in Europe for my MBA!

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? As a woman in STEM and business coming from an under-privileged background, it is natural that I have fought with significant imposter syndrome throughout my entire career. Being able to openly discuss these feelings with peers, who are also incredibly accomplished in their own ways, has contributed to my realization that I can truly do anything. This sounds a bit cheesy, but it genuinely was a lightbulb one day that I may not know everything or be experienced in all areas, but I can genuinely learn and do anything that I put my mind to. This mindset shift has led me to put all my resources into pursuing founding a startup focused on mental health, which has always been a deep area of passion for me. Because if not me, then who? If not now, then when?


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.