Alanna Petroff, Saïd Oxford A new life and I can’t stop smiling

Since I arrived in Oxford on Monday, I can’t stop smiling. My heart is feeling all a-flutter. Frank Sinatra’s version of the song It’s Almost Like Being In Love keeps playing over and over in my head.

I absolutely love it here. The town is gorgeous, I love all the quirks of the place and I’m enjoying learning about all the subtle cultural differences between England and my home country, Canada.

Aside from my fantastic accommodation and the area in general, I have been meeting some astounding people in my programme. MBA classes officially begin on October 11th, but many students have been organising pre-MBA events through Facebook and Google Groups and there have already been multiple meet-ups.

Yesterday I went to a student-organised poker game attended by a scientist, two small-business owners and a consultant. Later on, our group went to a local pub to meet more MBA students and I chatted with one person who did micro-finance in Africa and another student who worked at the consulting firm, McKinsey.

Students also got their first taste of the MBA classroom experience today at the “Management Consulting Bootcamp,” organised by Saïd’s career service.

The bootcamp is a two-day event to inform students about the general field of consulting. It also gives students guidance on how to snag a job in the industry. I went into the event not knowing if it was a field I would be interested in, but throughout the presentations I noticed countless synergies between business journalism and consulting.

For example, we learned that consulting involves relationship-building, problem-solving and working with bright people. We also heard about the tight project deadlines and the need for consultants to have top-notch verbal and written communication skills.

Quite frankly, it sounds like a perfect fit for a business journalist like me! As a journalist, I’m always building relationships with my interview subjects, there is plenty of problem solving, daily deadlines and I pride myself on my communication skills. Plus, I get to interview brilliant business people every day.

Of course later in the day, one presenter mentioned in passing that journalists are generally not considered ideal candidates for consulting. I found that surprising and a bit disheartening. But regardless, I really enjoyed the presentations and I’m glad I now know more about the field. I will be sure to keep consulting in the back of my mind as a potential career option.

Perhaps journalists in general aren’t known to transition well into consulting… but maybe this journalist will!