In our “What I Learned at…” series, MBAs discuss the tools and skills their business schools provided as they launched their careers.
Paul Watson is the co-founder and COO of Ledbury, a producer of high-quality menswear created in response to a simple problem: the difficulty of finding a great-fitting shirt. In the final part of this four-part series, Paul reflects on how the diversity of his classmates at Said helped shape his business and how these fellow graduates continue to be a part of Ledbury today.
I have mentioned in my earlier posts the various projects and classes that made the Said Business School so valuable to my business education, but the piece that really pulled it all together for me was the group of students I studied with and those that were attending other programs at the university.
My class at Oxford was an eclectic group of international students representing countries from all continents and with a plethora of various professional backgrounds. These diverse backgrounds made for a great learning environment when we worked together in small groups on case studies, on our Strategic Consulting Project and just out at the pub for a beer after class.
This diverse group of classmates also came to be integral in the creation and founding of Ledbury. In the early days of polishing the business plan, we relied on the counsel and perspective of many of our classmates. As we continued to refine the Ledbury proposition and moved toward fundraising, a number of our classmates took part or connected us with potential investors. To this day, we continue to work closely with many of our former Oxford Said Business School classmates as Ledbury faces new challenges related to growth, financing and discovering new sales channels.
In addition to our business school classmates, we had opportunities through our college affiliations to interact with many other students at the university. This interaction with the university at large was a great way to round out the classes and projects at Said and interact with a broader base of backgrounds and skill sets. From athletics to debate societies, we were able to undertake a number of extracurricular activities that added to the overall experience of business school.
I look back at my time at Said Business School with a fondness for the lessons learned and the relationships I made. These lessons and networks continue to play an integral role in the growth of Ledbury.