Navigating entrepreneurial finance in Silicon Valley

3 minute read
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Embarking on the Oxford Saïd Business School's Executive MBA program has been a transformative experience for me as a seasoned investment professional in the asset and wealth management industry. One standout academic week, the Entrepreneurial Finance elective course, offered a valuable chance to explore the Silicon Valley tech ecosystem in Palo Alto, California.

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The EMBA program has exposed me to a comprehensive understanding of industries beyond my specialised field of investments. Through coursework and collaboration with more than 70 accomplished peers from different corners of the globe, I developed a global view that complements my investment expertise. This broader perspective has proven invaluable in enhancing my decision-making capabilities and strategic thinking and providing me with a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of industries in our rapidly changing world.

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Having worked across different asset classes in my career, including investments in private and publicly traded tech companies based in Silicon Valley, the Entrepreneurial Finance module became the perfect opportunity to explore the nexus of entrepreneurship and finance at the heart of innovation. Palo Alto, often referred to as the birthplace of Silicon Valley, has played a significant role in the development and growth of the global tech sector. Historically, it has been a breeding ground for entrepreneurial talent and has housed several iconic technology companies, including Google, Facebook, HP, and Tesla. Its proximity to Stanford University has fostered a rich innovation ecosystem, attracting visionary entrepreneurs and VC investors from around the world.

The Entrepreneurial Finance module was meticulously organised, ensuring a seamless learning experience for our EMBA J22 cohort. The program brought together high-calibre speakers, including leading venture capital investors and serial entrepreneurs, to share their insights and experiences in Silicon Valley. By exploring the different funding stages, from seed investment and negotiations to exit options for both founders and investors, our cohort gained a comprehensive understanding of the start-up ecosystem and financial intricacies.

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During the module, we had the unique opportunity to visit the headquarters of Google. This visit allowed us to engage with fellow Oxford Saïd Oxonians currently working within the organisation and discuss how AI is transforming their business and reshaping the entire tech industry. It was an engaging and thought-provoking experience, witnessing first-hand the impact of cutting-edge technologies on a global scale.

While class and company visits were enriching, our time beyond the classroom was equally fulfilling. We actively participated in numerous social events and engaged in sports activities, including invigorating early morning runs alongside Professor Tim Jenkinson around the breathtaking Stanford University campus. These experiences fostered camaraderie among the cohort, creating a lasting community beyond the program's duration.

As our cohort approaches the end of class this autumn but only begins another phase of our joint voyage, I reflect upon my experience on the program and the Entrepreneurial Finance module. I cannot overstate their impact on my professional and personal growth. The program has expanded my understanding of global industries, provided unparalleled insights into entrepreneurship, allowed me to explore the business ecosystems across continents, and brought fantastic lifelong friends to my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this transformative journey and look forward to applying the knowledge and network gained to make a meaningful impact in my future endeavours.

Executive MBA