An insatiable quest for continuous learning

4 minute read

At the age of 30, I had worked in five different industries in five different countries. I was skilled at adapting to change and cross-cultural communication, and was someone who eagerly accepted new challenges, allowing me to take on stimulating missions already from an early age. My latest challenge had been to lead the market expansion in Asia, based out of Hong Kong, for a French design agency.

Having high standards, I am the type of person who is constantly looking for ways to improve my performance at work and learn new things. When I returned to Europe, some of my closest friends from when I studied at the London School of Economics had recently completed executive education programmes at Saïd Business School and recommended me to do the same.


Initially, I undertook the Oxford Digital Marketing: Disruptive Strategy Programme, followed by the Oxford Leading Strategic Projects Programme. With my broad profile, I wanted to undertake programmes that could be valuable and relevant for numerous positions and industries. I also wanted them to build upon my experience in Asia, and I found that to be the case with the programmes I enrolled in.

In this blog, I will share my experience on the second programme and what I found so special about it.

What is the secret recipe for mastering the delivery of strategic projects?

The programme encourages participants to critically reflect on a strategic project they have been involved in, the different dimensions of complexity encountered while delivering it and appropriate response actions. It further allows participants to think carefully of the definition of project success and their own potential to lead a strategic project.

It is a six-week programme, you learn from a mix of videos, infographics, e-learning activities and more traditional written study guides by leading industry experts and Oxford Saïd faculty, as well as weekly online discussion groups. The programme experts and the ambitious and diverse range of fellow participants on the programme sparked many stimulating and thought-provoking discussions.

Throughout the programme, I based all my weekly activity submissions on my market expansion experience in Asia. It was a fantastic opportunity to step back and gain new perspectives, whilst enhancing my strategic project execution skills. Week by week, we broke the project down into its constituent parts. We looked at what the objectives and goals of the project were, relevant stakeholders, and dived into the different structural, socio-political and emergent complexities involved in leading the strategic project and how to respond to them, asking:

  • What could have been done differently?
  • How well was the project set up for success?
  • How can we capitalise on opportunities?

Lastly, in the final assignment, we had to assess and reflect on our own potential to lead a strategic project, and why we should be the leader of it, by applying several models and facets that were presented to us.

Thanks to the pandemic, I had a bit more time at hand and felt I could allocate enough time to fully immerse myself in the programme. Right from the start I received very stimulating and positive feedback on my assignments, so the biggest challenge was to keep performing at the same level throughout the duration of the programme.


Yet another high-quality and highly relevant learning experience. I left the programme more aware of my own abilities, with a set of new strategies, practical tools and a greater insight into how to understand risk, tackle complexities, manage stakeholders and motivate project teams in the face of complexity and uncertainty. The programme further fostered my interest in the topic, and I am excited to take these skills with me in my career.

I have realised that we should never underestimate the power of self-reflection, which significantly can improve learning and performance. By thinking about what transpired, what worked, what did not and so on, we develop new skills and review our effectiveness. This is something I apply in my career and personal life more often since the completion of the programme, which has helped me think more long-term, increase operational efficiency, and perform projects effectively with high standards despite sometimes facing increased complexity.

Embracing continuous learning is also a good way to avoid professional stagnation and ensure one’s aptitude for learning remains high. It is greatly satisfying knowing I still have what it takes to be able to perform at a world-renowned university and being thanked for the quality of my work, which further strengthened my self-confidence.


The inaugural Oxford Saïd Elumni Reunion in October last year was the cherry on the cake. A fantastic initiative, I loved coming back to Oxford, meeting likeminded professionals, and attending the college dinner at Balliol College. I have met with elumnis in London after the event already.

It should not come as a surprise that I highly recommend Oxford Saïd’s executive education programmes.

Oxford Leading Strategic Projects Programme