Alumni Profile: Joe Ungemah

Dr Joe Ungemah (MBA, 2000) is a Principal in EY’s People Advisory Services, working to transform organizations by realigning, enabling and motivating talent for changes in the operating model or business environment. Here, he details his time in Oxford:

Joe UngemahAs I approached my final year of undergraduate study in psychology, I was at a crossroads. I enjoyed the subject matter a great deal, but was unsure whether I wanted to become a clinician.  I decided to broaden my perspective and learn about how psychology could be applied in the world of business.

I was accepted for an MBA at the newly formed Saïd Business School. At the time, the business school did not have a dedicated building, but rather held classes in the hospital at the Radcliffe Observatory, which had the effect of making the program a bit quirky and even more endearing.

I quickly landed on Green Templeton College as my choice for college, due to its dedicated resources and programs geared for business students. It didn’t hurt that the college was also known for its kitchen and full breakfasts. For the year, I lived in a converted farmhouse on the college grounds at Egrove Park and remember fondly looking out at the daffodils and rabbits that welcomed springtime in Oxford.

My education at the college did not disappoint. I gained a broad appreciation for how businesses operate and a set of tools that I can apply even today as a Principal at EY.  After completing my MBA, I continued to define a career for myself that walked the line between business and psychology, attaining a Doctorate in Occupational Psychology and becoming a registered psychologist.  My work today focuses on business transformation, helping organizations attend to their people through considerations of culture, organizational design, and diversity and inclusion.

There is still a part of me that strives to be a scholar. My second book, Punching the Clock: Adapting to the New Future of Work (also available via Amazon), has just been published by Oxford University Press, and I am currently writing a third book that is geared towards general psychology.  The academic flair I experienced at Oxford and Green Templeton College has stuck with me.

For students considering the college, my recommendation is to fully devote yourself to the college experience. Go punting, eat at the Trout, and buy a bicycle. Join the crew team, even if you know nothing about rowing. Connect with friends and take a day trip to the countryside. Be a guest for dinner at a different college and take a stroll through Christ Church Meadow. There is so much to experience in such a short amount of time; enjoy every minute. But definitely, buy a bicycle.

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