Meet your MCR President for 2018/19

17 July 2018

Alexander Copestake (DPhil Economics) has been elected as the new President of our Middle Common Room, representing all Kellogg students. We have asked him a few questions, if you would like to get in touch with him email 

Why did you apply to Oxford?

I originally came as an undergraduate to do Philosophy, Politics and Economics, so I applied because Oxford is seen as the best place to study that combination. I came back for my Masters, and stayed on for the DPhil, because I found the teaching to be of such high quality, the company so stimulating, and the city such an enjoyable place to live.

So far, how has your time at Kellogg benefited you – personally and/or academically?

Academically I have developed a lot – graduate work in Economics is very technical whereas my undergrad was very broad, so in the last two years at Kellogg my understanding of complex theory and statistics has improved a lot. Personally, I’ve met a lot of great people here, I’m a regular in Hall and in the library, and Kellogg has also supported me financially through the Progress Scholarship and as a field hockey Blue.

What do you think makes Kellogg stand out from other Colleges at Oxford?

The diversity of students. Not just across nationalities and income backgrounds, but also across ages and occupations. We have more part-time students than any other college, and they all bring fascinating perspectives. Practicing surgeons, tech entrepreneurs, artists and designers, C-suite executives from large corporations – you chance upon all sorts in Kellogg.

Why did you run for MCR President?

On a practical level, I’d been Treasurer for the last two years and there are a few projects I wanted to push forward, particularly increasing the MCR budget to cater for our growing number of members. On a more idealistic level, I don’t think people in Kellogg always realise quite how exciting a place it is. Demand for lifelong learning will grow faster than ever before this century, as people are living longer and longer and technological change is destroying and creating occupations faster than ever before. Oxford is adapting to take on more and more part-time students, which means working out how to best provide an integrated full-time and part-time experience – and that prototyping is being done at Kellogg.

What advice do you have for new students at Kellogg?

1.      Buy a bike. Cycling everywhere will save you so much time.

2.      Don’t feel new for long. The time goes very quickly, especially if you’re on a one-year course, so jump in, challenge people, start societies, get involved. Don’t fall victim to ‘impostor syndrome’ and let opportunities pass you by.

3.      See Oxford as the start of a journey, not the end. For lots of people getting here is the culmination of a long plan and a lot of work, and having achieved that it’s not clear what the new goal is. There are amazing opportunities here, so I’d definitely recommend thinking about where you want to go after Kellogg so that you can use the resources here to help get there.

Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody else knows…

Several members of my family over three generations have spent time in Antarctica, and I’ve always assumed that I’ll somehow end up going there myself at some point. They mostly went as surveyors or engineers (i.e. people who brought useful practical skills); as an economist it’s not so clear what I can offer to justify my going – but time will tell.