As a strategist, I have always found the venture finance industry fascinating, so when I found the Oxford Entrepreneurship: Venture Finance Programme I was beyond thrilled. I chose the programme because it is listed as one of the best in the world for venture finance, the faculty and the relationship that this industry has with my work.
When I started the programme, I had a lot of questions: what are the different investor types in venture finance? What makes venture finance different from other types of finance? How are investment cycles in venture finance? In summary, how does the venture finance industry work?
And as I was taking the programme, I was thrilled to find answers to the questions I had at the beginning. I can say without a doubt that the programme not only met but exceeded my expectations. The modules were well structured, the lectures were very informative and even fun at times, and it was great to interact with fellow classmates and faculty. It definitively helped me to follow discussions during meetings, as well as to have solid conversations with a broad range of stakeholders. By taking the programme I have grown not only as a professional, but also as a person.
The parts that I found most useful were the ones focused on financial modelling, particularly the module dedicated to valuation. These are also the ones that I enjoyed most. The module on negotiating deals and the part about crisis management were tremendously valuable. On the other hand, I found the part about the investment cycle the most challenging. Though it was very informative, I think it took me some time to fully understand the dynamic of the first assignment, which was part of this module. However, it was a good exercise to prepare for the rest of the programme and I consider it part of the learning process.
Reflecting upon what I would have done differently now that I have completed the programme, I wish I had connected more and interacted more with my fellow classmates. The forums were a fantastic tool to engage with them, and I wish I could have found the time to talk more with them. They were a group of very talented and interesting individuals, and the discussions we had were very enriching. After finishing the programme, and with the perspective that time provides, I miss those discussions and I wish I could have them again.
If I had to use one word to describe my experience on the programme it would be ‘growth’. I believe that education is one of the driving forces of growth. Growth for individuals, growth for businesses, growth for economies and growth for societies. While it is not easy to see how that growth will materialise, there is one thing that I know for sure: growth will happen, and it will very likely be transformative in many dimensions, some of which we might not even be able to foresee.
In conclusion, what I would say to those considering taking this programme is do not hesitate and enrol now. There will be moments with challenges and there will be moments with uncertainty, but also there will be moments of collaboration, there will be moments of satisfaction and even exhilaration. This is what we call learning, and this is what we call education. As Malcolm X said: ‘Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today’.