2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Benoit Dubief, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Benoit Dubief

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford

(College: Christ Church)

“Driven, forward-looking strategist bringing together consulting, product management and technology towards digital impact at scale.”

Hometown: Nice, France

Fun fact about yourself: While also being a digital media entrepreneur by age 18, I formed and led a Britpop band as a songwriter for several years between my high school and undergraduate time, during which I headlined the rock stage of Karneval der Kulturen in Berlin back in 2014.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Master of Science in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Management – Imperial College London

Master of Arts in Business Law – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Master of Science in Management, Programme Grande École – EMLyon Business School

Bachelor of Arts in Law and Politics – Université Côte d’Azur

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was a digital-focused Associate at McKinsey & Company in London, mostly working on go-to-market strategy, B2C/B2B growth, marketing, product and new venture building across Europe and the United States.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? N/A—I was still working as a full-time Associate at McKinsey & Company in London.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be returning to McKinsey & Company as a Senior Associate in London.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I have been an active Oxford MBA ambassador creating content for prospective MBA candidates to show what life at Saïd Business School and Oxford University looks like through various social media channels. This ranges from interviewing our MBA Director to diving into the Oxford Seed Fund operations, or blogging about my entrepreneurial journey with the OX1 Incubator. I am also organizing a wine tour in the Bordeaux area, through which MBA classmates from across the world will get to visit some of the most magnificent châteaux and taste some of the finest French wines in Saint-Émilion, before visiting the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux. I have also been helping with the planning of the Oxford band that will compete during the battle of the bands held at HEC Paris as part of the MBA Tournament gathering top MBA programs—which Oxford won four times! On the career front, I am also involved in helping our MBA classmates with their consulting interviews, and especially their process with McKinsey & Company around the world, providing them with overall guidance on their applications, as well as insights and tips on best practices whenever helpful.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud to have taken the leap into startup building by designing and launching RightPick, which allows talent from top European universities to browse exclusive job offers in consulting, finance and technology. Roles match their background, industry of interest and seniority across Europe effortlessly, while businesses reduce hiring frictions, cost, and time to market by scaling up their workforce seamlessly. Starting from Oxford, word of mouth spread so well across European universities that it triggered a significant user traction on the early access portal, to the point where the project got incubated at OX1, Oxford’s incubator program backed by Entrepreneur First, Christ Church and Magdalen College. I really look forward to expanding RightPick to the wider Oxford community and beyond in order to aim at helping hundreds of thousands of qualified professionals find opportunities that suit them better across Europe. Here is the early access portal.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In hindsight, I think building a multidisciplinary and international profile, both academically and professionally, had a strong impact on my career, which I am both proud of and grateful for. When I decided to pursue three Master’s degrees overlapping together across France and Britain, I wanted them to shape my academic background through complimentary fields such as business law, management and entrepreneurship. The ultimate goal was to build a well-rounded profile that could go quite broad and deep when it comes to the expertise needed to understand and run a technology company in the medium run. Similarly, my career track led me to go off the beaten path by combining a strong digital expertise gained at Facebook’s EMEA headquarters, with a senior—traditionally post-MBA—consulting experience at McKinsey & Company in London. At the latter, I pursued an internal product management rotation enabling me to spearhead the product strategy and development of new software features for McKinsey’s AI-powered pricing solutions with a team of partners, digital leaders, and developers across the United States, EMEA and APAC. This fantastic exposure happened in quite a short timeframe and helped me see the bigger picture with more clarity while empowering me to take bold steps.

Why did you choose this business school? Oxford Saïd was best positioned in a sort of MBA matrix I had in mind—and actually designed later on a slide as would any consultant! It just really fit with the expectations derived from the strengths of my specific background. Following the above career trajectory, using some time for a transformative MBA started making sense to me, as long as it would tick my–rather picky–boxes.

I wanted to keep it short to take advantage of my professional options while optimizing opportunity cost with a 1-year program. As opposed to standalone business schools, it also had to happen at a global, world-renowned university, with a college system. Benefiting from an unrivaled international outlook and strong entrepreneurship infrastructure, the institution where I would study should be meant to serve as a springboard for any longer-term project, thanks to a diverse network of talented minds in all fields, ideally in Europe. It had to be the kind of place where one can randomly debate with a PhD student in Computer Science or Astrophysics from anywhere on earth at dinner — and hear from world leaders or attend century-old rowing competitions.

Realistically, this left me with nothing but one – right, perhaps two – options I may have really been willing to apply for. Then came the dream factor, the Hogwarts bias my inner child’s memories never really stopped nurturing: I would apply to Oxford and nothing else. After my MBA application was successful, it turned out I was also honored to be admitted to Christ Church, the very college whose illustrious history, from educating British prime ministers to hosting Albert Einstein, was topped by some of the most famous scenes from the Harry Potter films. I feel truly inspired by the privilege of enjoying formal dinners every evening in our mesmerizing hall, while walking through the cloisters and stairs so many distinguished alumni experienced before me.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Mungo Wilson, our professor of Business Finance in Michaelmas term, had a brilliant teaching style that engaged the whole class throughout every single lecture. Being an Oxford alumnus himself, he would give great advice for us to navigate Oxonian customs. He could also literally answer the most niche finance-related questions while telling us fascinating stories about the research of other world-renowned economists he worked with during his PhD at Harvard.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? During the first half of Hilary term in our MBA curriculum, we had to work in teams to craft an innovative approach to a systemic societal issue as part of GOTO, which stands for Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford. Our section was focused on helping the Adaptation Innovation Marketplace of the United Nations Development Program. My team chose to work on ways to leverage blended finance to address the $72b climate mitigation funding gap in Latin America that is required to build a safer and more resilient society. On top of dealing with some of UNDP representatives’ most pressing challenges, I truly enjoyed systemic issue mapping, which was quite different from other problem-solving approaches. It also shone a light on the wider group of stakeholders businesses can have a positive impact on while maintaining profitability.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? The perks of studying at Oxford also mean there are far too many things one can realistically handle in a given day, and especially over a single year. I was expecting to be faced with this dilemma before the MBA experience even kicked off, but my desire to get a decent grasp of traditional events at Oxford, combined with my existing business knowledge, led me to focus more on the university-wide life than the business school environment. Looking back over how the first term unfolded, I would probably split my time more equally between the two in order to get acquainted with even more people from my cohort, while staying focused on building RightPick.

What is the biggest myth about your school? In certain MBA spheres, I had heard about a few observers depicting Oxford Saïd as being comparatively younger than some of its American and European peers, and how this gap might have an impact on the MBA experience candidates are provided with. Coming from business circles that all coveted MBA programs prepare for, I ignored this misleading narrative thinking commenters may lack the big picture offered by a more informed professional practice. It clearly dismissed the younger school myth by acknowledging Saïd Business School as an academic department of Oxford University, the oldest in the English-speaking world that consistently takes the top spot in the Times Higher Education world university rankings, and not a standalone business school. In terms of real-life opportunities. The aforementioned university-wide synergies go far beyond the sum of its world-class academic departments, and mostly explain the reason why Oxford Saïd does not necessarily need to compete in degree or field-specific rankings. Back when I decided to apply, I wanted my profile to be associated with Oxford Saïd over any other option in the world knowing how much of a strength such a legacy is.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Oxford is an inspiring town, blending tradition with futureproof knowledge-building capabilities in all fields. There is hardly a single place where architectural beauty is not met with some gifted people or thought-provoking stories that collectively nurture the high level of contributions to society, and the broad impact they have on them. It also grows a strong sense of responsibility that brings the whole community to wonder how they can make the best use of the lifetime privilege they have been given.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected amount of self-reflection a year out of the workforce triggers, and how it leaves space to get out of one’s comfort zone to consolidate past learnings and become a better version of oneself—more importantly in an uncertain world where time has become an increasingly scarce commodity.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I probably ensured my profile’s strong fit with Saïd Business School by getting knowledgeable about Oxford while connecting with the admissions team early on, both to check then better showcase the alignment between the school’s requirements, my expectations, and strengths.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? During the break of one of our GOTO sessions, I got to meet Aki Higuchi, another of my MBA classmates with whom I started talking about entrepreneurship. Her story was peculiarly remarkable, as she used to be the founder of Selan, an education startup tackling the lack of childcare support and English education in Japan by providing tailored services to more than 5,000 children and parents. Even more interestingly, she managed to run the business and oversee the sale process that would lead her to a successful exit once based in Oxford while pursuing her MPA at Harvard. Her experience is a strong example of how profitable businesses can still deliver social impact and help communities.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The second item is basically derived from the first one, which is aiming to create a profitable yet social impact through my own venture in a field I believe in, currently embodied by HR tech with RightPick. I am also convinced than HR tech is a relevant industry to fulfill the second item, which is bringing cultures closer together by building bridges through knowledge and economic empowerment.

What made Benoit such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“As Associate Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the MBA here at Oxford Saïd, what immediately struck me about Benoit was the breadth of experience he brought to the cohort from both his professional accomplishments and the range of extra-curricular activities he has involved himself in throughout his career. Benoit has an extremely strong corporate background that stretches across multiple countries and will continue to be a huge success in his career, but when considering the impact he has on the cohort that we built in Oxford this year, it’s the passion for activities within the community that stands out and makes him such an asset to his peers.”

Liam Kilby
Associate Director, MBA Recruitment and Admissions


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