The next level of business
As I reflect on my professional career, I'm reminded of the pivotal moments that have shaped my career and the decisions that led me to where I am today. I have had the privilege of learning from amazing people along the way, such as pitching new innovations to Amazon's CEO in person and having 1:1 executive leadership mentoring sessions with Google's vice president of people development. These experiences have taught me that no matter how professional or qualified we think we are, we are always a work in progress on a continuous lifelong learning journey.
As I climbed up the tech ecosystem and its value chain across diverse sectors such as defence, gaming, and giants like Amazon web service and Google, from software engineering to product to leadership roles in government, enterprises and startups, I saw how technology can disrupt and impact the way people live. Yet, I was always curious about the financial backbone that fuels technological evolution. So, when I was considering my options for further education, I was drawn to the Private Equity Programme at Oxford for its academic excellence reputation and its unique curriculum tailored to industry professionals. I embarked on an academic adventure that not only challenged me but also equipped me for the dynamic world of venture capital and private equity.
For me, Oxford was a seamless blend of rich history and cutting-edge financial insights. But more than that, the quality of people; both in terms of faculty and peers stood out. I wanted to be surrounded by minds who could help me learn and grow, take me out of my tech comfort zone and immerse me in the world of business, investments and finance. With a holistic approach, the programme not only offers theoretical knowledge but also provides hands-on experience and exposure to real-world challenges. This blend of theory and practice was precisely what I was seeking.
Expectations and reality
I anticipated acquiring a deep understanding of venture capital and private equity principles, refining my strategic thinking, and honing my skills in deal evaluation and structuring. Looking back, the programme exceeded my expectations. The dynamic classroom discussions, case studies and hands-on exercises challenged my assumptions and encouraged me to view investment opportunities through a new lens.
We assessed opportunities and risks from various aspects including portfolio allocations, fund performance, selecting and comparing funds, fundraising strategies, and structuring venture capital and private equity investments. We dived into risks and limits of leverage, understanding returns, fees and carried interest distribution, co-investment and direct investment, alignment of incentives through to exit routes and future market trends.
My top three takeaways
Several aspects of the programme at Oxford left a mark on my approach to business and investment:
1. The programme equipped me with a robust framework for understanding a wide range of perspectives, from the institutional investor perspective of the venture capital and private equity value chain to the relationships between limited partners (LPs) and general partners (GPs), risks, costs, and limited partnership agreements.
2. Networking and collaboration: interacting with professionals from diverse industries broadened my perspective and provided opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas. The relationships I built during the programme continue to be an essential part of my professional network.
3. Global outlook: the programme's international cohort exposed me to a wide range of cultural and business practices. This global outlook has been instrumental in navigating the increasingly interconnected nature of today's business world.
To anyone on the fence about the programme
Do it if you're looking for growth. Do it if you're seeking challenges. But also, do it for the incredible community. The OBA (Oxford Business Alumni) network is a treasure trove of professionals who are ever-willing to lend advice, share opportunities, or simply discuss the latest market trends over coffee.
That sense of community, the post-programme bond, has been instrumental in my professional trajectory. It's not just about the knowledge you gain but the people you journey with.