The Oxford Saïd executive education programmes offer a powerful combination of academic, business and thought leadership delivered by world-class faculty. It was this reputation for excellence that initially drew me to Oxford, coupled with its cultural heritage. In the words of Oscar Wilde: 'nowhere else are life and art so exquisitely blended, so perfectly made one.'
I have been fortunate to attend two executive education programmes, in 2016 (on campus) and again in 2020. As my excitement reached fever pitch, so did the Covid-19 pandemic, and my 2020 trip to Oxford culminated in a virtual classroom. The course prospectus promised we would 'explore leadership skills for the complex and dynamic modern workplace' – needless to say, we had ample food for thought.
Don’t waste a crisis
This is what our tutor advised during a particularly tense time in 2020. He wasn’t being flippant, simply guiding us to examine the situation as it was and identify clear actions we could take for the better. My business, ACTA Medical Ltd, set up since my time at Oxford Saïd, is built on the foundation of 'taking action for better health.'
Amongst the wealth of knowledge gained during those weeks together, the powerful mentorship and practical guidance from these 'captains of industry' really stood out for me and have made a lasting impact.
Network when you don’t need it!
Our tutors actively encouraged us to network far beyond our usual comfort zone and to keep the conversation going between us as a group. The image above, for me, will always be a highlight – our online community getting together in Oxford in April 2022, solidifying friendships and collaborations that continue to this day.
A clearer purpose
The course set out to help us 'explore our strengths and weaknesses as a leader, learn to articulate our vision, study the way decisions are made in organisations and consider the role of leadership in driving change.' Throughout the course, I found these insights and guidance to be of great value, and regularly use my stated purpose to guide decision-making. Our work has also helped surface blind spots and offered advice on how to best address these in a constructive manner.
These comprehensive and practical approaches to the business of leadership were key strengths of the course for me, as I always want to examine the 'so what?' and the 'now what?'.
Ahead of both executive education programmes, it is safe to say my expectations were sky-high, but I was also a little anxious. This was a big commitment, in both time and cost, but I needn’t have worried as Oxford Saïd delivered in spades. The world-class quality of the academic education – a faculty and staff that were second to none, paying kind attention to each and every student – as well as access to the Oxford networks, gave me a foundation that continues to pay dividends to this day.
Oxford Saïd revealed new horizons for me, professionally and personally, and I would urge anyone who considers executive education to look at the wealth of opportunities they offer.