With this phrase in mind, I decided to start my journey in March 2019. My new job title for one year was going to be a part-time postgrad student and a part-time world traveller. With the absolute conviction that the things I was about to learn and the places I was about to see were going to guide me to an exceptional road, I sold my house and packed my life in two pieces of luggage.
I made sure to put three important things in those bags, and if you are considering Oxford as your next step, I suggest you do so: an open mind, a pair of running shoes, and a good dose of courage.
It wasn’t that I was a professional runner, but I was sure that this journey was going to take me out of my knowledge comfort zone and I needed to be fast enough to make the most of it, to adapt quickly to the unknown, be courageous to ask questions, to admit I did not have the answer yet, and to immerse my head into extensive reading and hundreds of hours of self-instruction. I needed to run fast – to follow the pace of this learning process. This process has an intensity and attractiveness that will give you such a level of ecstasy that the time will fly. When I look back again, I notice how fast I have run and how far I have reached in my personal and professional goals.
My other ‘must’ in the travel bag is an open mind. It was especially useful when I was facing the best-in-class minds in the auditorium, not only in strategy or innovation but in topics as diverse as cosmology, molecular biology, and natural history. I needed an open mind to truly absorb concepts, interact with amazing people from all over the world and be humble enough to participate and promote diverse conversations with professionals whom I did not have anything in common with at first sight. It may sound like a cliché but only through a genuinely open mind can one build powerful networks, analyse multiple perspectives, and recognise brilliant opinions from others. In the end, isn’t it what we, as global leaders, are supposed to have – an empathetic spirit that allows us to boost the best from others?
And the last item I suggest in your bag, whatever your story is, is courage. The Oxford experience is as impactful as you dare to let it be. You can choose to challenge your mindset, feed your curiosity, re-think your concepts, make small experiments in your working environment, read more than the mandatory, develop new entrepreneurial ideas, sit at the table with somebody new, and even disagree with what the lecturer said.
To pursue my time in Oxford, I stepped out from nine years of a corporate career, released the responsibility of managing sales for eight countries, and decided this year was going to be the opportunity to do something different. You do not need to leave your job to pursue an Oxford Diploma; you neither need to start a world trip. All you need is to be brave enough to bet for a life-changing experience, a career-boosting milestone, and a beautiful memory to share with your beloved ones and your new friends.