A magical place called Oxford
Oxford is simply a magical place. You can expect a stimulating environment with first class teaching from renowned professors and distinguished guest lecturers, with most up to date theories, concepts, and frameworks applied to tackle complex and global scale major programmes.
You are also a part of an amazing and talented cohort of ca 50-60 candidates, from all corners of the world, and different industries. Learning is very immersive with a lot of group work, so you learn as much from the professors as from each other. The discussions and learnings are not restricted to the classroom, they continue during the coffee breaks and during the multiple dinners throughout the programme set in beautiful colleges.
A personal highlight has been sharing this journey with some top female leaders from the cohort, who inspired me throughout the course and continue to inspire me.
It has been very enriching experience, something I will cherish for life.
How would you describe the programme in three words?
Personal transformational journey. I would use the analogy of starting as a cocoon and emerging as a butterfly, but that would imply that you come with a closed mind. You need to join the programme with an open mind, but you really do emerge as a much more ambitious, determined, and confident leader. More convicted in your mission to make a positive difference in the world.
Suited for all programme managers in any industry
It's a MSc in Major Programme Management, but the course is not just for programme managers, it's for senior leaders in any industry or sector wanting to lead their complex programmes or businesses more successfully and for developing themselves as leaders.
I have a background in engineering, and in my engineering studies you are mainly taught technical skills. But as you move on to more senior roles, you are faced with all kinds of issues and problems which you need to tackle taking a holistic approach. You learn on the job, but you don't necessarily have that training.
The programme focuses on several important subjects from designing organisations, building resilience for better risk management, applying systems thinking to optimising the whole and not just the parts, effective stakeholder management, contractual frameworks for successful partnership, to personal leadership development.
And so for me, I wanted to sharpen and broaden my skills and my thinking in multiple areas, and after so many years in Industry, the reflective learning was really powerful.
How has the programme helped you practically face a challenge?
I work in Aerospace, with complex ecosystem and decarbonisation as a priority, we face multiple challenges. The programme has changed my thinking, it equips you with the skills to solve complex business problems, to lead holistically and make a greater impact.
For the programme: much of the experience and learning on the course depends on the makeup of the cohort. So, my advice to applicants is to explain how you will contribute to the course with your engagement, with your relevant experience and with your unique sector perspectives. I think this is an important element in the application.
For the scholarship: I think it is important to highlight what sets you apart, how you overcame challenges despite obstacles or barriers and your quest for making a positive difference.
In many industries, women in senior leadership are still very, very much underrepresented. It’s great that Saïd Business School is enabling women to join the course on a scholarship, but it’s important that we also take the responsibility, and we support and develop the younger generation and make their journey easier towards reaching senior roles.
Lastly do not underestimate the effort required. The two years on the programme will be challenging, trying to juggle between demanding full-time jobs, family, and studies at the same time, but it will also be very stimulating and rewarding. If you think of any of proud achievement, there is always a challenge behind it, so at the end of it you will look back and feel very proud and grateful for the experience.
How did you feel when you found out you received a women’s scholarship?
I did not expect it. I knew that the competition was very high, and I knew that all the candidates were super strong, so I had no illusions there. I was informed by email, I was on a business trip, and I was so shocked, it took me two days to respond with a thank you note!
I will forever be grateful to the School for the scholarship and making it possible for me to be on this programme. The programme has been transformational, I learned so much, I made great friendships, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I am kind of sad that is coming to an end soon. But we have created great friendships within the cohort, so I really believe we will stay in touch and still get together for many years to come in Oxford and elsewhere, also through very active Oxford Alumni events.