PRESS RELEASE: Saїd Business School and The Pershing Square Foundation announce first scholarship winners for the Oxford 1+1 MBA Programme

The first five Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholarship winners have joined the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme, entering their MSc programmes in departments across the University of Oxford this autumn, before joining the Oxford MBA programme in September 2015. The application process for the Oxford Pershing Square Scholarships for 2015-17 has recently opened. Extraordinary individuals determined to tackle social challenges are invited to apply to the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme.

The Oxford Pershing Square Scholars come from a variety of professional and cultural backgrounds and share a remarkable commitment to creating social change in communities around the world. Their individual projects include creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Ghana and Nigeria, protecting consumer privacy through strategies for ethical and responsible advertising, developing a model for critical and creative learning in primary schools, improving sanitisation in India, and early childhood educational reform in low income communities. The scholars were chosen for their ambition and innovative solutions to global challenges, as well as their persistence and determination to understand the wider context of these problems.

“The Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholarship has helped me realise my dreams of studying at the University of Oxford,” says Gayathri Balan, Oxford Pershing Square Scholar 2014-16. “My aim is to harness the welfare component of the MSc in Comparative Social Policy programme and the social entrepreneurship element of the MBA at Saïd Business School in order to design a sustainable solution for sanitation in India.”

The Pershing Square Foundation established the Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholars Programme in 2013 to allow up to five exceptional individuals to develop and realise their potential to become global leaders of social change by studying the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme at Saïd Business School. The Scholarships are awarded to individuals who have a combination of academic and leadership potential; strong personal character; and experience and the intention of pursuing a career that addresses global challenges.

“We are thrilled to announce these exceptional individuals as the first-year winners of the Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholars Programme,” said Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management and co-founder and trustee of The Pershing Square Foundation. “Gayathri, Alexandria, Yasmin, Eve and Tarun represent a growing generation of diverse students who share a common desire to drive social change and solve world-scale challenges through mastering an innovative business education.”

The Oxford 1+1 MBA programme pairs the one-year Oxford MBA with one of a selection of one-year Oxford masters programmes. The programme provides individuals with a two-year Oxford postgraduate experience that combines the depth of study of a specialist masters with the management and leadership breadth of an MBA. Participants are able to draw on the resources and community of both the Business School and the University throughout their time in Oxford.

‘I am delighted to welcome the first Oxford Pershing Square Scholars to Oxford to begin their two year programme of study. The unique “depth plus breadth” approach of the Oxford 1+1 MBA offers a challenging and rewarding pathway to a rich learning experience for these leaders of the future. The combination of the two complementary programmes and approaches will well-prepare students for successful careers that will hopefully address issues that will challenge us far into the future.’ said Professor Peter Tufano, Dean of Saїd Business School.

The five 2014-16 Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholars are:
1. Gayathri Balan of Pune, India. Gayathri was a Piramal-Gandhi Fellow during 2012-2014 where she focused on developing the leadership skills of government school head masters in the tribal area of Dungarpur, Rajasthan. As part of the Fellowship, she completed a ‘Village Immersion’ where she lived in a tribal village for one month. During this time Gayathri witnessed the true depth of the sanitation crisis in India. She hopes to help alleviate this urgent issue by creating a for-profit social enterprise which would generate demand for sanitation at the bottom of the pyramid in India. Gayathri is completing an MSc in Comparative Social Policy. Gayathri is completing an MSc in Comparative Social Policy in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention.

2. Alexandria Crampton of Miami, USA. Alexandria has spent the last two years working as a kindergarten teacher in a low-income school in Miami and previously taught in Mexico on a Fulbright Scholarship. Having worked with school districts in various capacities over the past decade, she has identified several aspects of the education system that hinder students from reaching their potential. Alexandria is focused on educational reform, with a particular interest in scaling high-quality early childhood education programmes to serve low-income students and families and in promoting a more individualised education system. Alexandria is completing an MSc in Child Development and Education in the Department of Education.

3. Yasmin Kumi of Berlin, Germany. Yasmin has a passion for West African development originating from her half-Ghanaian background. For the past three years she has been a consultant at McKinsey spending a considerable amount of time working in sub-Saharan Africa. Yasmin plans to focus on providing youth entrepreneurial education in developing countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. She is completing an MSc in African Studies, at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, which she thinks will help her understand cultural sensitivities by understanding the historical and social context of West Africa.

4. Eve Binder of New York, USA. After starting her career in corporate crisis communications, Eve now seeks to develop her knowledge of the expectations and priorities of online shoppers through an MSc in Social Science of the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute. Eve believes that escalating concerns about digital privacy and corporate data tracking have created demand for a more ethical approach to commercial marketing online. She hopes to contribute to the development of digital advertising strategies that better protect the interests of both companies and consumers.

5. Tarun Varma of New Delhi, India. Tarun’s search for impact, high intrinsic motivation and passion for change led him from a large corporation to co-founding a start-up and finally into the classroom as a primary school teacher with Teach for India. He believes we can build better citizens if the focus in primary school is on creative thinking instead of grades. He plans to find and scale an educational model that focuses on high quality learning by doing in order to help students think creatively and critically from a young age. Tarun is completing an MSc in Child Development and Education in the Department of Education.

Individuals dedicated to creating sustainable and transformative solutions to social challenges or those interested in working to solve world-scale challenges through a range of solutions, not exclusively social entrepreneurship, are encouraged to apply for the Oxford Pershing Square Scholarships. Details of how to apply are available here.

For further information or to speak with one of the Scholars, Professor Peter Tufano, Dean of Saïd Business School, or Paul Bernstein, CEO of The Pershing Square Foundation, please contact:

Kate Richards, PR Coordinator, Saïd Business School
Tel: +44 (0)1865 288879, Mob: +44 (0)7711000521

Jenny Tartikoff, Rubenstein Communications for The Pershing Square Foundation
Tel: 212-843-8496

Notes for Editors

1. About the Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholarship

2. About the Oxford 1+1 Programme
The programme was established at Saїd Business School in 2012 to address the complex challenges of the business environment. Inspired by the Rhodes Scholarships which attract high-calibre individuals to Oxford for two years, the programme will welcome high-potential individuals who will progress to a range of leadership roles.

Students have the opportunity to apply to both the MBA and a masters programme at the same time, and are required to meet the admissions requirements of both programmes. Five departments within the University are currently partnering with the School in this initiative with more soon due to join the scheme. The 1+1 will appeal to highly qualified applicants with well-defined career goals in a particular sector which can be best met through a specific combination of a particular masters with the Oxford MBA. Please follow the link for further details.

3. About The Pershing Square Foundation
The Pershing Square Foundation, based in New York, was founded in December 2006 by Karen and Bill Ackman. Bill is the CEO and Portfolio Manager of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. Since its founding, the Pershing Square Foundation has committed $250 million in grants and social investments to support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable impact.

4. About Saïd Business School
Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of new and old. We are a vibrant and innovative business school, but yet deeply embedded in an 800 year old world-class university. We create programmes and ideas that have global impact. We educate people for successful business careers, and as a community seek to tackle world-scale problems. We deliver cutting-edge programmes and ground-breaking research that transform individuals, organisations, business practice, and society. We seek to be a world-class business school community, embedded in a world-class University, tackling world-scale problems.

In the Financial Times European Business School ranking (Dec 2013) Saïd is ranked 12th. It is ranked 14th worldwide in the FT’s combined ranking of Executive Education programmes (May 2014) and 23rd in the world in the FT ranking of MBA programmes (Jan 2014). The MBA is ranked 5th in Businessweek’s full time MBA ranking outside the USA (Nov 2012) and is ranked 5th among the top non-US Business Schools by Forbes magazine (Sep 2013). The Executive MBA is ranked 23rd worldwide in the FT’s ranking of EMBAs (Oct 2013). The Oxford MSc in Financial Economics is ranked 7th in the world in the FT ranking of Masters in Finance programmes (Jun 2014). In the UK university league tables it is ranked first of all UK universities for undergraduate business and management in The Guardian (Jun 2013) and has ranked first in ten of the last eleven years in The Times (Sept 2014). For more information, see