Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Anastasia Lite, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Anastasia Lite

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

“Fierce feminist, passionate Pan Africanist, coupled with a flavour for finance and two left feet for dancing.”

Hometown: Durban, South Africa

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was born in the little town that Winston Churchill was captured in, in 1899 (Estcourt, KwaZulu Natal)

Undergraduate School and Major: BCOM in Finance, Economics and Statistics at the University of Cape Town

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Fixed Income Sales Trader at Absa Bank in South Africa

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? The key part for me was the gender balanced cohort. Business schools have historically been very male-dominated spaces, much like the trading floor environment I come from. This is something I hope to meaningfully transform when I head back after my MBA. I wanted to be in a space that successfully made that shift to a more gender-balanced environment in order to learn from it and replicate it in the organizations I work in going forward.

What course, club, or activity has been your favorite part of the Oxford Saïd MBA experience? My favourite part of the Oxford MBA experience has been the formal dinners at the various colleges that the MBAs are a part of. There are a couple of reasons why. First, I am a massive foodie and quite enjoy the three-course meal journey. I also enjoy getting to visit these different colleges and learning about the different histories. It is so fascinating to me to see how different all the colleges that make up the Oxford experience are. You have the more formal, traditional colleges like Oriel, where no phones are allowed at dinner to the lovely. Then, there is the more informal, more modern college like Green Templeton College that has no high table and has the ‘honoured guests’ sitting amongst the students. Lastly, I enjoy these formal dinners because they allow me to connect with my classmates in a more intimate setting. It is here where we’ve broken bread and shared our deepest vulnerabilities. It’s over these dinners that true life-long friendships are forged.

What is the most “Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? The most ‘Oxford’ thing I have done as a student so far is ‘punting’. ‘Punting’ is when a couple of people get on a boat and steer it with a long pole and a little paddle. It looks a lot easier than it is. I went with a couple of classmates and it as incredibly fun…until our pole got stuck in the mud at the bottom of the river and we got stranded and had to be rescued.

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? Narrowing it down to just one interaction is so tough, given the wealth of experiences and depth of conversations I have had. One conversation that has stuck out to me, was from a classmate who was working in a bank. She was about to resign because she truly did not enjoy it. Then, she heard about a couple hundred frontline service employees who were about to be laid off, so she put off her resignation and approached the bank with a detailed plan on how to re-skill and re-deploy these workers into different parts of the business and got it across the line.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I could list off the numerous industry awards my team and I have won. Honestly, my biggest accomplishment thus far is having been involved in co-running an Employee Value Proposition focus group where I got to meet with 40+ young people on the trading floor and truly hear them out. We then collated the feedback to Executive Management with some proposals, of which 3 were adopted across the bank. It was extremely fulfilling to do work that led to the improvement of the overall well-being of my colleagues.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My biggest accomplishment so far is being elected as the Co-DEI Officer on Student Council. Pitching in front of over 150 over my classmates was terrifying but exhilarating. I have got to do some interesting and insightful work, as well as plug into the DEI structure of the school as whole. We’ve hosted a couple of intimate breakfasts where we have tackled topics such as unconscious biases and microaggressions.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? Coming into Oxford, I thought very highly of my knowledge of the world but what I’ve realized is that I still have so many blind-spots and so many misconceptions and every day, I am slowly breaking them down and learning new things. It’s humbling at times but also so, so rewarding.


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