This post is by Tania Gupta who worked for us in 2013-14 whilst studying for her MSc at Oxford University.

Tania is now a senior analyst for MRM in Dubai, part of the McCann group.

tania-gupta-digital-marketing-analyst-oxford-thumbRow, row, row: my time in Oxford

A recent announcement of the Times Higher World University Rankings for 2016-2017 has had me thinking about my time at Oxford. The University of Oxford has been ranked as the number 1 university in the world and is the first UK University to top the table.

Having had the rare privilege to study with the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford in 2013-14, I couldn’t help but reminisce. I have since moved on and lived and worked in London, and now Dubai. However, I fondly remember my time at the University, the wonderful city of Oxford, and her people, some of whom I have had the opportunity to work with.

So, when Ned Wells reached out to me to write about my life since Oxford, I jumped at the opportunity. I worked with Ned at Zanzi, as a part-time Digital Analyst supporting various digital marketing activities.

Gently down the stream: going down to London

A lot has happened since I last wrote about my experiences at Oxford. After receiving my degree, I moved to London to work as a Digital Analyst at OgilvyOne.

Living in London was daunting at first. I remember being lost almost every single day. It was as though London in her old and wise ways conjured up new streets, rows and alleys for Londoners to stumble into for her amusement.

No two days were ever the same, no two places were ever alike, and her people so unique. I understand how London imbibes her inhabitants with a spirit that sets the city apart. Having read London’s biography, I would in my own fantasies imagine myself walking down Victorian London in the docks of the East End with the clickety-clack of carriage horses making their way down the flagstones that still line the roads.

While in London, I engaged in a lot of cultural and social activities that allowed me to build on what I had learnt during my studies and work while at Oxford. While at work, I incorporated learnings from Zanzi Digital into my research for clients such as British Airways and EY.

I managed to merge data from search engines and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to better understand customer insights and how they use the Internet.

Alternatively, I presented my research on concepts such as the digital divide and internet access at conferences. I also worked with social cause related organizations such as Chayn who use the Internet as a medium to empower women, and the Social Media Impact Study at University College London.

In the space of two years, I spent many hours just walking across London. I may not have walked every street like a lady who did, but I may have been close.

Merrily, merrily, merrily: in the city of Dubai

Life has since brought me to the futuristic city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

I moved to the city of perpetual sunshine with the prospect of working as a Senior Analyst for MRM, which is part of the McCann group. Taking up the position has allowed me to expand my analytics offering across multiple digital platforms (online, social media, paid media).

I also now work across sales and marketing teams to help analyse the impact of digital activities on sales, and revenue. This helps provide visibility on the return on investment on digital marketing activities.

In addition, I am still able to apply what I learnt at Oxford in the research I am involved in. Since moving to Dubai, I have been contributing articles related to the Internet to online magazines. I am also looking forward to having a book chapter and a journal article published at the end of the year.

My work helps me stay connected with Oxford as does the Dubai chapter of the Oxford Alumni society.

Life is but a dream…

Reflecting on my life since Oxford is humbling. A number of experiences there have shaped my understanding of the world and impacted my professional and academic life.

However, what I hold on to most strongly is the value of keeping our dreams close. Oxford in all her states of dream-like existence taught me that despite the unexpected twists and turns, life is but a dream that we need to work to realise.