A real-life Hogwarts...

3 minute read

I was eight years old when I saw a movie about a waitress who got into a school where the uniform resembled her work attire (what I later realised was known as ‘sub fusc’). She said, 'I made it to Oxford,' and I thought to myself, 'Ox what?!'

Where I live, in the Philippines, we are more likely to be educated in the US than the UK – at least until the release of ‘Harry Potter’; that’s when we really started investigating English culture.

‘Harry Potter’ became so popular with our generation that we would pretend to be wizards attending Hogwarts, because who wouldn’t want to attend such a beautiful school and eat in the dining hall? Eventually, I learned it did exist, at least in the form of Oxford’s traditions and architecture, and attending the University has always been a dream of mine since then. 

In the spring of 2015, I had the opportunity to go to the United Kingdom for the first time. My main objective was to visit Oxford, and it did not disappoint! I recall uploading a photo on social media and receiving jokes about how I would fit in as an ‘Oxonian’. I saw this as a sign and began my journey enquiring about the different programmes at Saïd Business School. As a result, I started enrolling in executive education programmes and short courses. I also had the opportunity to live in the city as I pursued my postgraduate studies. 

Seven years later, I am again enrolled at the School, taking advantage of my alumni (OBA) discount, and this year I am reading for the Oxford Executive Diploma in Global Business. Despite my background in Real Estate and Capital Markets, this is the first time I am not pursuing a finance-related programme. Instead, I opted to attend the class to understand more about globalisation advancements that may benefit my country. As the world shrinks, economic leaders must learn to address challenges through negotiation, adaptation, business diplomacy, and risk management, all of which we will learn during the course of this programme.  

While I have always been an analytical and quantitative guy, I appreciate learning global strategy frameworks. The teachings at the business school are practical, timely and address real-life scenarios. For example, I for one have been more curious about the items I buy, and whether they are really imported. When I started reading the fine print on beer bottles and chocolates, I discovered that they were locally manufactured to save money while being marketed as worldwide brands. 

The Oxford experience has always been more than just learning. The college dinners, the architecture, the feeling of reading business cases inside the Radcliffe Camera, the sharing of knowledge, and the change of season (which we do not have in my country!) – these are all priceless lifelong memories.  

While I am writing this from Christ Church College, Michaelmas term begins in a few days and we are ready to commence our final module. I can’t help but reflect on what a year it’s been. It seems like only yesterday that we were introducing ourselves to our cohort. Our time in Oxford may be limited, but just like at Hogwarts, magic does not fade, and it remains with you. I am eternally grateful for being given a chance to be a student at the best university in the world.