From Africa to Oxford: How the Bank Governance Programme amplified my ESG voice

4 minute read

Saïd Business School, located in the heart of Oxford, is renowned for its world-class business education. With a focus on innovative thinking and global perspectives, the School offers a range of programmes designed to develop leaders who can navigate complex business challenges. The faculty consists of esteemed professors and industry experts who provide exceptional guidance and research opportunities. The strong network of alumni and industry connections further enhances the learning experience and opens doors to exciting career opportunities.

In July 2023, as a proud Cameroonian, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the Bank Governance Programme at Saïd Business School. It was an unforgettable experience. From punting on the river to exploring the Oxford Artistic House, every moment was filled with wonder. The people were warm and welcoming, and the diverse cuisine was a delight. Walking from my hotel to the School each day allowed me to soak in the beauty of Oxford. Being taught by top-notch lecturers from such a prestigious institution was truly inspiring.

The programme has been an invaluable experience for me. The materials and learning provided have proven to be highly relevant to my work, especially in the areas of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) and sustainability. It equipped me with the knowledge and insights necessary to address these critical topics in the banking industry. I am thrilled to share that the learnings from the programme have opened up new opportunities for me. As a result of what I learned, I have been invited to speak on ESG and sustainability at the upcoming ACCA Africa event in December. This is a testament to the quality and impact of the programme, as it has directly contributed to my professional growth and recognition within my field.

One particular aspect that stood out during the programme was the focus on strategic alignment and leadership styles of companies. This deep dive into understanding how effective leadership can drive organisational success was eye-opening. The discussions surrounding bank runs and bankruptcy were also highly informative, shedding light on the potential risks and challenges faced by financial institutions. Additionally, exploring corporate governance standards provided valuable insights into best practices that can enhance transparency, accountability and overall governance effectiveness.

These topics not only broadened my understanding but also equipped me with practical tools and frameworks that I can apply in my work. The programme's comprehensive coverage of these areas has undoubtedly enhanced my ability to navigate complex governance issues within the banking sector.

For me, the programme couldn't have come at a more opportune time. In our rapidly evolving financial world, where challenges such as climate change, social responsibility and ethical practices are at the forefront, having a deep understanding of bank governance is crucial. The programme's emphasis on ESG and sustainability aligns perfectly with these emerging trends.

By addressing these timely topics head-on, Oxford Saïd has positioned participants like me to be at the forefront of change and innovation. They have provided us with the knowledge and tools to effectively navigate the dynamic landscape of the financial industry while ensuring ethical practices, sustainability and long-term value creation. 

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The programme boasted an exceptional and highly diverse cohort, comprising of participants from varied seniority levels and nationalities.

The active participation of women in the programme was particularly noteworthy, contributing to vibrant discussions and offering unique perspectives. The breaks provided valuable opportunities for insightful interactions with fellow participants; I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with every participant.

The opportunity to connect with professionals from around the world has been truly enriching. Through the interactive group created by my cohort on LinkedIn and WhatsApp, I have had the privilege of building lasting connections with like-minded individuals who share a passion for bank governance.

These connections have proven to be invaluable sources of learning and inspiration beyond the programme itself. Engaging in discussions, sharing insights and collaborating on industry-related topics has expanded my perspective and deepened my understanding of global governance practices. The continuous exchange of ideas and experiences through these platforms has fostered a supportive network that I can rely on for ongoing professional growth.

If given the opportunity, I would enthusiastically participate in the Oxford Bank Governance Programme again. The comprehensive curriculum, relevance to current industry trends and the connections formed with professionals from around the world make it an exceptional learning experience that I highly recommend to anyone working in bank governance or related fields. As I now proudly call myself an Oxford alumni, I wish a heartfelt thank you to the programme coordinators and lecturers who made this experience possible. 

Oxford Bank Governance Programme