The beginning. Where is my comfort zone?
It has been one year since I matriculated and officially became an Oxford student. I believe that now is the best time to share at least a small portion of my experience which may be helpful for prospective students or people who are just curious about how the experience looks through the eyes of an insider. I recall when I was about to start the course – the anxiety, as I did not know what to expect in each and every regard. Everything was new, the city, the people, and the words ‘’the world’s best university’’ frequently associated with my new alma mater in the press and on the internet were not making things any less intimidating.
The risk that my new journey carried was high. Definitely. I was aware of the challenges because I had already studied for an MBA, and spoken to MMPM course alumni. There was a long list of potential obstacles; non-existant work-life-school balance, sleepless nights, challenging readings and classes, huge intellectual effort, financial commitment, and my professional career at stake…and yes, you are right, this was not the most encouraging list I could have thought about. However, after one year I can safely say – although it seems risky, it is worth it.
The melting pot – global business environment condensed in one department.
First and foremost, the Saïd Business School brings world-class professors and business practitioners together within one full-of-passion learning environment. The Oxford brand, due to its rich history and world recognition is an ultimate destination for many prominent people. In our first day, we were welcomed by Dean Peter Tufano who before joining Oxford spent 33 years with Harvard Business School. Then, in the course of study, we had classes with professors who had taught not only at Oxford but also other excellent universities (e.g. Stanford). Still, an enormous added benefit I have found in the diversity of our cohort which is comprised of managers who have worked in a variety of industries, in every continent in the world, and are graduates of institutions like London Business School, Cambridge, Yale, just to name a few.
It is worth mentioning that most of the Oxford Saïd professors are also active business consultants, and they put their best effort to enrich our classes by inviting other senior managers who work for international companies to share with us their experiences. Therefore, at Saïd Business School you will be taught by the most engaged individuals who enjoy having the opportunity to join us in our journey and immerse in the society. One can say that after speaking with them during one of coffee-breaks, or college dinners. They are all passionate about what they do, and they are genuinely interested in their students as, it happens that, this is the source of their inspiration and new ideas. It feels like their unwritten rule is to remain humble and open-minded as you never know what ideas might be generated when you are immersed in such a melting pot of business concepts and ideas.
We know you can think BUT… The business knowledge, soft skills, and how to rescue companies.
At Oxford, the overarching goal is to learn how to think ‘’the Oxford way’’ and approach challenges dismantling their complexity. It is not only about teaching students about business concepts and how to apply them in a real-life situation, more importantly, it is also about how to challenge the status quo, objectively criticise, upgrade, adjust or reinvent the idea. Objectivity and remaining open-minded is the foundation of seeing through the particular phenomenon which for most managers is taken for granted. It is about the ability to change your perspective, and see the world through the lens of other stakeholders and then come up with well-suited business solutions.
The cultural diversity and social life is the ultimate tool to hone your soft skills. Our Master of Science degree consists of modules based on a number of disciplines such as management, economics, finance, strategy, law, global business among others. However, the hard skills that we get would have been nothing without possessing soft skills that enable effective communication and execution. Oxford is the best place to have it all. There is always dinner, a debate, or a meeting at one of 38 colleges where you can mingle with people from every each country in the world and discuss their careers, hobbies, passions. A variety of institutions embedded in Oxford University offer the opportunity to engage.
Every Saïd Business School student can be a member of a vast array of independent institutions that may open many avenues for understanding more in-depth international business and political environment. Just visit the Oxford Union, founded in 1823 at which I met Devin Wenig (eBay CEO), or the Oxford Foundry opened in 2017 by Tim Cook (Apple CEO). If you think of these opportunities and add workshops, conferences, and social events that are held at the Business School building, and are available for both students and alumni, you just cannot complain about lack of inspiration.Back to top of article