Becoming an Oxford Executive Diploma Scholar: three tips for success

4 minute read

Finding out that I had been awarded one of the Director’s Awards for the 2022 Executive Diploma in AI for Business was one of the best days of my life.

If I had to summarise in three simple words how I feel about being an Oxford Scholar, I would say proud, responsible and confident. Why? I feel proud to study at the University of Oxford – a world-class institution that’s always among the top five universities in the world. Being offered a place to study there has made me feel proud of my achievements.

Being recognised amongst a talented community of both UK and international programme participants also comes with great responsibility. Oxford University has a rich history of academic excellence and, as a scholar, I feel I am responsible for continuing this tradition. Regarding responsibility, the Oxford Diploma not only focuses on advancing your professional knowledge but also increases your awareness of your social responsibility and ethical behaviour. The idea that the ‘human is first’, leads us literally in each of our sessions and discussions. It makes us participants feel responsible for our present community and future world and teaches us how to respectfully apply our newfound knowledge and tools to improve lives globally.

Finally, the knowledge I have obtained or advanced during my studies, thanks to the Oxford professors and my classmates, has given me a strong sense of confidence. I now feel comfortable having discussions or high-level debates with executives across the globe.

Hopefully, by this point, you are feeling inspired to prepare an application to become one of the next Executive Diploma Scholars and continue in this tradition and responsibility. So, how should you prepare your application?

Here are my top three tips for success:

1. Prepare your application with care

Your application is your ‘elevator pitch’, and an opportunity to make a great first impression. Remember, this is your card to open the door to your future. Your CV should be clear, concise, and relevant. It should be well-organised and structured, with key highlights regarding your previous and current roles, academic experience, and achievements.

If you choose to apply to study the Oxford Executive Diploma in Artificial Intelligence for Business, make sure to show where and how you were involved in the use, application or governance of artificial intelligence in your organisation, be it across business processes and transformations, product development, regulation, risk management, development or any other relevant activities. If you don’t have experience in these areas, don’t panic! It’s definitely not necessary to be directly involved in the technical side of AI development and products – many of my classmates, like me, are from a business background, not a technical background.

2. Pay special attention to your essays

When you apply for an Executive Diploma, you need to submit two 500-word essays. One of these is focused on your motivations for joining the programme, and the other is focused on what unique value you think you could bring to the cohort. If you decide to apply for a scholarship, there’s also one additional essay question which is specific to the scholarship that you are applying for.

These short essays are a great way to demonstrate not only your previous experience but also your passions and interests, and how these relate to the diploma programme you are interested in studying. My advice would be to try to start your essays by linking your diploma programme of choice to your business or entrepreneurial experiences and background. 500 words might seem a lot from the outset, but it’s really short! Make sure your essays are succinct and clearly evidence your motivations, the value you could bring to the cohort and how you intend to utilise your newfound specialist expertise, and the toolkit that you will learn on the programme.

3. Reach out to the Oxford Executive Diplomas Team

Finally, remember that there are great people at Oxford who are on hand to support you at every stage of the process. In my case, it was Recruitment Manager Kate Richards-Whitworth. Kate not only helped me to prepare my application but did it wholeheartedly, offering great encouragement and professional recommendations when needed. Do not hesitate to contact the Executive Diplomas Team at Oxford Saïd – they will be sure to give you all the valuable support and helpful guidance that you will need to succeed.