Univ Dates: 2014-2017
Degree: BA PPE
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Strategy Analyst in Burberry
Biography: Agatha-Christie Onwuzuruike works as a Strategy Analyst in Burberry, having started her career as an Investment Banking Analyst at Credit Suisse Securities UK. As JCR President, she pushed for College to become a Living Wage accredited employer. While at Univ, she was also a student ambassador and student advisor to the Social Mobility Foundation.
Did you have any particular preconceptions before visiting Univ?
I had all the preconceptions about Oxford that you’d expect from an 18 year old from Peckham. Was I right about most of these preconceptions? Of course! I met the poshest, smartest and most cultured people I know at Univ. However, I also met some of the kindest, most outward-looking people I know during my time as a student. Unsurprisingly, some of these people also happened to be incredibly posh. I remain pleasantly surprised by the consistency of the warmth shown by people of all backgrounds at Univ.
Who was your biggest influence at Univ?
It’s incredible how much timing makes a difference in all aspects of life. As I was being elected JCR President, the College was in the process of appointing Angela Unsworth to the position of Domestic Bursar. In such a short period of time she showed so much compassion towards both me and the student body, taught me the importance of strategy and provided clarity on many issues that were bigger than the both of us. It’s no exaggeration to say that many of the lessons she taught me then will stay with me for years to come.
Do you have a favourite memory from your time at College?
What a challenge to choose only one! In my most memorable tute with Professor Marc Stears, I almost jumped out of my seat in excitement after coming to an epiphany about what Marx really meant by “false consciousness”, or all the wins the JCR enjoyed during my time as President.
However, the reality is that like most Univites, my favourite memory from College is a story about people rather than events. It was April of third year, everyone had their heads down studying for finals and my friends and I had used my last birthday in Oxford as an opportunity to finally try the food at Gee’s after a year of cycling past the warm, inviting lights of the restaurant twice a day when my year group lived in Staverton. The uneventful cycle back to College via the cobbled Merton Street that evening with my closest friends remains etched in my memory and serves as proof that what is so special about the Univ experience is the brilliant people you have the privilege of making meaningful connections with.
What was being JCR President like? What are you most proud of having achieved as President?
Being JCR President was undoubtedly the highlight of my time at Univ. The opportunity to be so tapped into the pulse of College was never something I took for granted. The task of representing the naturally progressive views of Univites to College remains one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve had the pleasure of tackling. I am most proud of being on the Committee that approved Univ’s flagship Opportunity Programme. Knowing that Univ was the first (and hopefully not the last!) to make active steps towards improving the representation of students from “non-traditional”, real backgrounds, like mine, is something that still fills me with pride.
What do you think the importance of the Young Univ Gallery project is?
The Young Univ Gallery is a reminder to the students who do not fit the profile of many of the men traditionally displayed in halls around Oxford that Univ is yours too. It is a reminder that Univ truly is a meritocratic community that welcomes and celebrates the achievements of those deserving, regardless of their backgrounds. To see women and people of colour recognised by College is something that makes me proud to call Univ home.