From the heart of Colombia to the halls of Oxford: an invitation to aspire and achieve

3 minute read

I am originally from Colombia and have been living and working in the UK for the past 16 years. From the time I was a little girl I dreamt of studying at the University of Oxford. I must admit I wasn’t optimistic. I am the daughter of a single mother who had to work extremely hard to raise us and therefore to me, studying at Oxford was an unreachable dream.

I believe the university’s initiative to educate people online at a relatively low cost was a stroke of genius, bearing in mind the wonderful connections, education and experience you receive when you finish the programme.

I completed the Executive Leadership Programme in 2021. The programme is completely online and takes eight weeks to complete. At the time I had a one-year-old baby, I was working full time and navigating a relatively new role and we were in Covid lockdown. It wasn’t easy as the programme demands time and effort, but it was so rewarding that I was looking forward to waking up every day to read, research and work on my assignments. I was so keen to study that I felt like Hermione Granger!

Some people say the University is an intellectual Disneyland; to me it is something I simply can’t get enough of. I grew up dreading exams but when I studied at Oxford I was submerged in a positive way. So much so that I hope to go back next year for a Diploma in Financial Strategy followed by an Executive MBA.

The education at Saïd Business School helped put my work into perspective, it completely shaped and reinforced who I am. I consider myself a leader whose main attributes and capabilities are empathy, resilience and inspiration. Being encouraged to look at my biases and strengths was an enriching experience. The programme has provided tools and frameworks that I use on a daily basis, and it has also given me the confidence to be an assertive leader and decision maker.

participants and faculty in a marque in Oxford at an elumni event for online participants

The world needs less self-centric leaders and more leaders in line with the University’s guiding principles of being caring, supportive, appreciative, embracing differences and valuing each other’s opinions.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the first elumni reunion, I met the Dean, Soumitra Dutta (pictured top centre), along with the remarkable professors, and had the opportunity to network and meet inspiring people. As a female from a minority, I was particularly proud to meet other Latino and Asia-Pacific women who are successful here in the UK and in Latin America. We embraced each other and shared our experiences, challenges and triumphs. We built what I hope will be long-life friendships and support network.

Finally, I have decided not to use artificial intelligence to write this blog, I refuse to let a new technology wipe out my authenticity. I have an accent, I am unique, I am different and I love the person and professional I have become.

I encourage you to take the leap and invest in a programme. There are so many options that I guarantee you will enjoy, no matter your background, your industry or the country you originate from. You can have a little taste of the number one University in the world!

Oxford Executive Leadership Programme