Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Zorawer Singh, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Zorawer Singh

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

“Pursuing disruption by building revolutionary business products while exploring the entire world.”

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I acted in a Bollywood movie during my undergraduate studies! This happened very randomly (no background in acting apart from a few bit part roles in plays back in school) and I ended up shooting for 18 days across different cities in India. I hung out with a lot of famous Bollywood actors, and it was amazing to see what goes on behind the scenes in a movie shoot!

Undergraduate School and Major:

Undergraduate School: University of Delhi

Undergraduate Major: Bachelor of Commerce

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Most Recent Employer: Stashfin

Most Recent Job Title: Associate Vice President – Product

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? Having visited the University of Oxford in 2015 and having been enamoured by its rich history and strong traditions, I had yearned to come back to study at this prestigious university. When I decided to pursue an MBA, I instantly researched about the Oxford MBA and very soon decided that it would be my primary choice. A one-year program to help accelerate my career, the rich opportunities offered in the UK. It is the world’s Fintech hub, the focus on sustainable and responsible business. I also appreciated Oxford’s thriving ecosystem for transformational leadership, the truly diverse cohort, the large alumni base, and the endless networking opportunities.

What course, club, or activity has been your favourite part of the Oxford Saïd MBA experience? Founding and running the Fintech Club has definitely been one of my favourite highlights of the Oxford MBA experience. It was in June 2022, three months before the MBA program began, when the five of us – all fintech enthusiasts – came together to discuss everything Fintech and the opportunities to enhance our knowledge about the industry during the MBA. So, in October 2022 when Saïd business school held club elections, we pitched the idea of creating a Fintech Club and received the most votes among all the clubs! Since then, we have got industry experts and thought leaders in the Fintech industry to come and interact with students, and these events have been extremely well received by all attendees. Working together with my co-chairs to serve the members of the club by organizing these insightful sessions has been extremely rewarding.

What is the most “Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? The Oxford MBA life is very different from that of any other university and there are way too many “Oxford” things I have done so far! I was matriculated into the University of Oxford, a tradition that has been carried out for centuries, where all students are formally inducted into the university in the Sheldonian Theatre – one of the most classically-inspired and important buildings in Oxford.

I also always look forward to formal dinners! For context, formal dinners are these delicious Hogwarts style three-course meals served in dining halls that are hundreds of years old. Here, everyone wears a suit and the traditional Oxford gown! It’s quite a surreal experience every time.

Other Oxford things include punting on the river Cherwell that has pulled me out of the library on many sunny Sundays, and trying my hand at rowing, the most popular sporting tradition at Oxford! However, the most Oxford thing I’ve done as a full-time MBA student is to attend debates and speeches at the Oxford Union, one of the most prestigious private students’ societies in the world. Every year, distinguished speakers from different disciplines are invited to talk. Students of the Oxford MBA automatically become lifetime members of the Oxford Union. Meeting the inspiring Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai at the Oxford Union and listening to her talking about her life and her current work for the women of Iran was definitely a highlight!

Oxford is known as a place where the world collides, be it in the classroom or the dining hall. What has been the most interesting interaction you have had so far as an Oxford MBA student? One of my most interesting interactions was with a classmate of mine from Eritrea. I had spoken to him briefly in the corridors of Saïd business school, but it was not until I had invited him to my college for dinner that he told me about his amazing background! Eritrea is a tiny country in the northeast of Africa, with a population of less than 4 million and only 1% of the population has access to internet! He told me about the numerous challenges that he had to face living in a country with very limited opportunities, including how the education system in Eritrea forces students into indefinite military service. We also discussed his immense struggles of leaving Eritrea to come to study in Oxford. Eye-opening conversations like this put so many things in life into perspective.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I used to work at StashFin, a neobank focused on digital lending in India where I used to work before the MBA, When the CEO asked me to find our next growth driver, I instantly told him that we should start serving lower credit score borrowers. As we were rejecting 95% of loan applicants, the change meant gaining more customers immediately with no marketing cost. However, giving credit to the wrong people could mean losing money or even going bankrupt!

I offered customers who our system had rejected a 1,000 rupee (£10) loan, less than 1% of what they had applied for. Even to my surprise, 80% accepted the offer, and a large majority repaid on time. To understand how such low credit customers were utilizing their borrowed funds, I conducted research, spoke to customers, and analysed a lot of data. I discovered that our customers had bona fide reasons for their low credit score. My team spent the next 6 months revamping our decision engines, using alternative data to analyse credit worthiness.

StashFin Elev8, the micro loan product that I launched back in 2018, now contributes a significant share of the company’s total annual revenue. It has also revamped our credit decision models and provided financial assistance to over 2 million underbanked people across India. Conceiving and scaling it is definitely my biggest accomplishment in my career so far.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? There’s a lot that I’ve been able to accomplish in a short space of time since I started the MBA. These include founding and running the Fintech Club, sourcing early-stage start-ups, and serving as the Director of the Oxford Seed Fund. However, my biggest accomplishment so far has been expanding my worldview both professionally and personally. Professionally, I’ve gained first-hand insights on different industries in different geographies, and various intricate nuances about certain industries and businesses that one would normally not gain exposure to. Personally, I’ve had the chance to interact with my classmates who come from all over the world and from different backgrounds and cultures. Having meaningful and intellectually stimulating conversations with such a diverse cohort has definitely helped me broaden my horizons.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? The biggest epiphany I’ve gained since the MBA started is that the sky is the limit and that one should not limit ourselves on the basis of our current skill sets and experiences. Be ambitious, aim high, work hard, be curious, have the hunger to learn, and we should be able to achieve whatever we want to!


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