Wayde Edwards


Masters in Major Programme Management




Life Sciences


2017 - 19

By Wayde Edwards

I got in! Now to see where the rabbit hole goes

I’m sitting at my laptop surrounded by a pile of papers… on my left, the first draft of my formative assignment. The equivalent to a pre-season friendly that will no doubt show us how much work we have to do to start producing outputs worthy of a Master of Science degree from the number one university in the world*. Coach Ansar and the team are waiting to tear them apart and start building us into proper academic scholars from the ground up. Which I’m pretty grateful for! It has been a long time since I sent in an academic essay and starting with a marked assignment would have been terrifying. Still, got to get in something respectable. I don’t want to be one of those players sent to train on their own.

To the right of the dining table… an extensive list of pre-reading that needs to be done before we show up in October. In front of that an ever growing pile of print-outs of said reading. The printer was spitting these out at speed, while complaining about ink running low and I was on Google typing in searches like “best home printers” and “should I buy a laser printer?”. Until my wife reminded me that a top tip I received was to use a tool called Mendeley**. Hard copies are so retro! Hooray for that. I do love reading in hard-copy but since they’re already scattered all over the place it wasn’t going to end well. Now where is that Amazon delivery guy and my text books?

I’m busy preparing for the first module of the Masters in Major Programme Management. Major Programmes are basically extremely large-scale projects and if you know of any you’ll know that as a society we’re generally pretty poor at managing these. I’m not sure if everyone is, since China has probably built 5 high-speed rail connections in the time it has taken me to complete and publish this blog post. But in general it seems we have some way to go. This is the course for people like me who have experience with what are probably considered small to medium sized projects and would love to get involved with projects and programmes that really transform our world and impact millions of people.

Of course I’m super excited to be joining the class. Oxford University is long way from where I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and it got further away when I graduated from the University of Cape Town with a slightly speckled academic record. Partially the result of trying to tread the fine line of working and studying, which means constant prioritization and risk evaluation! Something I wasn’t always successful at but that has left me better prepared for this course. As it turns out once you get a bit older in life, your practical experiences count for a lot and I have been fortunate enough to work on some exciting projects with great teams, in countries all over the world. I’m looking forward to bringing that experience to the class along with insightful tips such as how not to blow the cover of your bodyguard in Karachi airport and the importance of keeping your interpreter on-side in Japan.

I hope you’ll follow my journey on the course via these blog posts. Presumably you’re either in my cohort, one following it or are giving some thought to doing this or another course. If like for me Oxford seems a long way away for you but it is something you keep as a secret dream I suggest getting in touch with the team at the Said Business School. Everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful – like me, you may be surprised to learn that the right course is here waiting for you.


** – a program for managing and organizing research papers amongst other features.

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