Gina Turtoiu

My Education

Oxford

MBA | Private Equity, Corporate Finance and Strategy

Bucharest University of Economics

BS | Computer Science

Bucharest University of Economics

BA | Management


Career

PricewaterhouseCoopers Management

Consultants S.R.L.

Khazanah Europe Investment Limited

Investment department

Gina is an Oxford MBA 2016-17 with 5 years of experience in PwC as a consultant and finance professional in Advisory - Deals - Valuation and Economics – providing management consulting, valuation and financial modeling for clients mostly in energy, banking, telco and IT. Gina has a passion for economics and for technology, having two bachelor degrees in both areas, she is a rolling stone, loves technology and is curious about the world, about people and what makes both tick.

3 Lessons Learned Applying to the Oxford MBA

Gina Turtoiu, MBA - Private Equity, Corporate Finance and Strategy - Oxford

The Oxford MBA is an impressive program. As described on its official page, it is a “top ranked program embedded in a world class university”1. But even though this is a spectacular description, I was told by Alumni that reality beats the presentation.As an applicant, all this sounds at least a bit intimidating, making you question who you are, what you would bring, why you should be there.

Do your homework

The first step in convincing the admission team you should do a program is to convince yourself why you should be there. Because regardless of how experienced you are, of how you are planning to fund your studies, of how bright or extraordinary you may be, you will make an investment of (at least) one year of your life in this program. Speaking in general terms, of course this is a good investment, but to determine whether it is a good investment for you, you must make sure that you did your homework diligently, that you know as much as possible about the program, that you researched the University, the profile of cohorts, of Alumni and that you have a decent chance to become one.

Don’t be afraid to show how unique you are

Any top program you apply to may overwhelm you with what people had to do to get in, what their Alumni are capable of etc. It is all well and true, and their accomplishments are real and valid, but when you think about what your achievements are you shouldn’t downplay them.Have a hard thought about how your life has been so far, think about what you did, what sets you apart, what makes you tick and when you shined. Given your research on the program, what is it that is unique to your experience that nobody else may be able to bring but you?

Communicate clearly how the program fits your plans and how you’ll fit their plan

At the end of the day, the decision of taking an MBA, as well as the decision allowing you to become part of the cohort is more than a matter of whether the program or you checked the boxes of a list, which may include, for the program: ranking, success of Alumni, profile of candidates, professors, companies that recruit etc.; and for you: test scores, number of years of work experience, previous undergrad schools etc. The MBA, especially a full-time program, is a place in which you will grow, you will evolve alongside people that used to be strangers but by the end of the year you will consider friends, form life-long friendships or professional relations, you will have a sense of belonging.

Have the audacity to aspire to be an Alumni of an impressive program. In many ways, applying to it is like applying to a job –you must do your homework, highlight your accomplishments, and communicate clearly what’s in it for the program and for yourself. As an MBA Alumni, applications may seem like a lot of work, but looking back on it, the challenge was worth it.

Best of luck with the admission process!

Best wishes,

Gina Turtoiu


Q:  Why are you passionate about your academic field? When and how did you discover your love of your subject?  
A:

My academic field is actually a double one – IT and economics. I discovered my love for the two fields ever since I was little, as I have always been curious about how the world works and what drives it. I guess both of these areas combined give you a pretty good understanding of where the world is headed and, used carefully, may even help you make an impact on the course the world is taking.

  
Q:  What are your three top recommendations for a student targeting a masters in your field? What if they are preparing to switch their major to your field?  
A:

Top three recommendations for a student targeting a master in my field, especially if they are switching to this field, would be to do their homework, to not be afraid to show how unique they are and to communicate clearly how the program fits their plans and how they will fit the master program.

  
Q:  What resources can students use to educate themselves on your subject?  
A:

For a student with background in business, an MBA plays on the general understanding of a business – so general functions, Accounting, Finance give a good head start that allow students to hit the ground running. Reading the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and keep up with developments in the region and the world would be recommended. For somebody switching from another field, they may consider doing CFA or an ACCA in preparation. In addition to that, before the MBA, you may have access to various resources – such as wallstreetprep.com or preparation material on the internal websites of programs, which, if taken seriously, make it easier to shine.

  
Q:  What are your top tips to showcase an applicant  
A:

In my opinion, to showcase your strengths, you have to understand what these would be for Admissions Officers. This way you can target the message to reach them. You have to put yourself in their shoes – what is the program searching for in terms of cohort, what would be the attributes that they appreciate, what is it about you that would interest them.

  
Q:  Any pitfalls or mistakes an applicant should be aware of as they apply to your program?  
A:

One of the most common pitfalls an applicant is prone to make is assume that the Oxford MBA has the same profile as other MBAs. No, it is not targeted to consultants or finance people, it embraces all professional profiles and its pride is in diversity and global context that it provides. So just showcasing yourself as a regular MBA applicant does not necessarily make you a strong candidate. You have to dig deeper into how your experience brings value to the cohort.

  
Q:  Why did you apply to your university and program? What other universities and programs were you admitted to?  
A:

I always wanted to do an MBA, thought I would do it when I’d reach Manager level and around 5 years of professional experience, and somehow thought that would be later on in my career. The choice in University was always between Oxford or Harvard, and Oxford made more sense for me because it was closer geographically, opened up my career prospects more than to the US market and the diversity in professional background that they promote within the MBA is something that I came to value during my professional experience as well. So, for me – and this is not something I recommend to other candidates – it made more sense to apply only to the Oxford MBA, especially since I had such a short window to make it work, due to considerations such as Brexit.

  
Q:  What are the common career paths for graduates in your field?  
A:

Many graduates in my field use the MBA to advance or to have a geographical or industrial change. The common career paths for graduates in my field are finance or consulting positions – Associate level in general, MBA leadership programs or just other types of positions that mix their previous experience (e.g. engineering, medical etc.) with management roles.

  
Q:  What aspects of the campus culture are your favorites? Which aspects surprised you? Which would you change if you could?  
A:

My favourite part of the campus culture is having access to so many bright, diverse people from around the world, that speak their mind and share their experience openly and in this way increase the value of the overall program and improve the knowhow of the cohort. What surprised me most was the ties that we formed by the end of the year – we have been through so many assignments, projects, intense emotions that brought most of us together, made the ties and friendships stronger.

  
Q:  What is your favorite fun fact about your university? Any special events or traditions or legends?  
A:

My favourite fun fact is that when we matriculate, take exams or graduate, we are wearing the traditional gown – called a subfusc. Tourists in Oxford often think that they are in a Harry Potter movie when they see us, they are really amused and generally ask you to take photos with them – sometimes funny to think where in the world a photo of you may have ended up.

  
Q:  How did you spend your summer vacation during university? Any advice for making the most of summer?  
A:

As the MBA program in Oxford University is full time and I had a summer internship, I did not get to do all the amazing things you can do in extremely nice weather in Oxford, like punting, walking around Port Meadow, going on foot and visiting all the colleges – as a student you are allowed in all of them – catching up with friends and, why not, going for some road trips around the UK or Europe. My advice – if possible, finish with assignments and exams as soon as possible and just lay low for the summer – enjoy Oxford.

  
Q:  What makes you smile? Share more on a favorite hobby.  
A:

I love technology, so what makes me smile most often is learning about new hardware, software, devices, new applications, going to conferences and talking to people that do great advancements in this wide area. Apart from my passion, I love hanging out with friends, travelling, reading and listening to music – these really make my life more beautiful.

  
Q:  Why are you excited to mentor Dyad Scholars?  
A:

I am excited to mentor Dyad Scholars because throughout my life I was lucky to find people that encouraged me to pursue my dreams, encouraged me to work hard and focus on what’s important, shared their wisdom, their life experiences guided me to get where I am now. More often than not it is impossible to thank them as you should, so my way of thanks is to repay the favour and help Dyad Scholars achieve their dreams, share my experience, understand them and encourage them to see things from various angles before they make the right decisions for themselves.