From admiration to admission: my journey to Oxford University

3 minute read

When I learned about the Executive Diploma in Global Business through Saïd Business School, I was eager to grab the chance to immerse myself.

Oxford University has been an institution that I have greatly admired ever since I learned there were universities in existence at an early age. I toured the hallowed halls and the various colleges throughout the years, and even spent some time working and living in the Cotswold area not realizing I would be a student one day at the University.

But aside from the historic grandeur and well-deserved reputation of Oxford University, the credentials for Oxford University (ranked 1st in the Times Higher Education, World University Rankings) and Saïd Business School (ranked 12th in the world for an Executive MBA in the Financial Times) paved the way for easy conversations with my employer about the need to spend a small amount of time away for study, and to be able to accommodate a very busy work schedule. Oxford University and Saïd Business School speak for themselves in terms of the great 'Why'.

The course material itself (Global Strategy, Risk and Reputation, Corporate Diplomacy, and Business Challenges in Emerging Markets) was intriguing to me because early on in my career my interest lay in global diplomacy, but life had taken me through a path of various Information Technology industries. I felt that this diploma was a way to marry my past interests with my current work, and that has proven exponentially correct from the onset. 

I remember becoming shockingly emotional as I was reading the required pre-course material in preparation for Global Strategy. I began to realize how intensely interesting and soul-fulfilling the content was for me.  It was an overwhelming feeling of 'rightness'. And whatever the pre-reading assignments are, the in-class lectures were even more incredible, learning from the people who are truly the subject matter experts of our time for this information. It is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. Post-module, I find myself often gaining new insights as the combination of reading, lectures, in-class exercises, post reading and written assignments provide the base for further education, even after the module is done.

The amazing professors and staff take thoughtful preparation for us in each Module to provide an overall Oxford experience with cohort dinners and enlightening guest speakers throughout areas of Oxford University and help plan activities for us that facilitate a comradery and greater appreciation of the beautiful town and University.

The effective way that Dr Mari Sako ties the program material together from a global level to a ‘grass roots’ level has particularly helped me to make everything directly applicable. This program has already greatly impacted me in my current employment.  It has affected my management style, helped with conflict resolution and has made me think differently about general approaches, making me a better asset to America First Credit Union. The Global Strategy and Corporate Diplomacy modules particularly shaped my day-to-day work with my leadership, providing a greater edge that enables better positioning for the company at large.

But one of the largest, most surprising assets that I take away from this experience is learning the greatness of my fellow cohorts. Already on paper so capable and accomplished, the opportunity to meet and interact with them for the intensive weeks have made the whole combined experience life changing. I, naively, thought that my life would be too busy to have more great relationships, but as Mari Sako told us the first day, ‘…you will meet people you connect with and even like right off’.  She has been right. It is a very great privilege to learn alongside my classmates, in this environment, with this material, with all these different people, and absorb insights from the varied backgrounds and thinking.

Oxford Executive Diploma in Global Business