In 2018, five years after I had graduated from Oxford with an MSc, I was at that point in my career when I was thirsty for more knowledge, and had several questions about my career path and what it would take for me to get to the next level.
Of course, given the enriching experience I’d had at Oxford while pursuing my MSc in Clinical Embryology, my first destination for options of courses to study was Oxford! The Oxford Executive Diploma in Strategy and Innovation seemed particularly attractive because the course content seemed to be just the answer to all the questions I had in mind. The mode of delivery was also just right for my crazy schedule as a full-time employee and mother of two feisty little boys.
I deferred my application for another year, given the impending arrival of my third child, whose difficult delivery was an inspiration to pursue the course in the hope of attaining the right knowledge, skills and networks to transform healthcare in Africa. A year later, I applied for the course amidst ‘fear of the unknown’, such as going back to the classroom after a number of years of absence coupled with a multitude of responsibilities with my job and young family, not to mention how to meet the costs associated with the course.
The financial support offered through the Women’s Scholarship came as a great relief and motivation to soldier on and put my best foot forward.
‘Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous’ (Albert Einstein)
Just when my appetite had been whetted for the rollercoaster ride, Covid-19 struck, the course commencement was deferred and then I started a new job that entailed supporting the Covid-19 response, forcing me to defer my course start to 2021. Perhaps the reason destiny has me as part of the Diploma in Strategy and Innovation 2021, Stream 2 cohort is because it really is the ‘best cohort ever’!
Three modules and eight months later, I have had a truly inspiring experience so far, even with the constraints of having the course delivered virtually, which hasn’t been much of a deterrent as the team at Saïd Business School have been very supportive throughout the journey. The class is also very active, with the Zoom chat always brimming with smart ideas throughout the day.
Engaging in very insightful discourse with 50+ highly intelligent and experienced industry leaders has also not been greatly impeded by the virtual learning environment, and I have found it very useful to build a network of highly resourceful professionals from diverse backgrounds, with networking happening actively on the Zoom chat, WhatsApp groups, LinkedIn and Slack, even as the often very charged and informative discussions/debates go on during the lectures.
Beyond the ‘toolbox’ of frameworks that will be very valuable as I tread my career path, the individuals I have met and the social capital acquired are an even greater asset. I look forward to what the rest of the course has to offer and to building more partnerships.