Education is something I approach very practically. I believe it should serve its purpose supporting one’s career and professional development. Fortunately, my company, to which I have been loyal for many years, and which I consider a family, has supported me on this journey. The fact that I had to fly from Singapore did not limit me at all despite seeming so far away. On the contrary, I would choose only England, a country that I am familiar with from having lived there many years back and which I find so inspiring.
There was something about Oxford that I liked even more than London. Its authenticity, atmosphere, and architecture gave me unforgettable inspiration. I found out immediately after I flew there that a major publishing house wanted to sign a contract with me for the release of my first book; a moment at Pembroke College which became incredibly symbolic for me. For anyone with a creative spark in their soul, Oxford is a place of incredible discoveries. The energy and atmosphere of this city are exceptional.
Oxford is highly aesthetic and organised according to its own laws. During my first encounter with the university, I was taken for a late walk around the city which was when I first visited the Oxford Union. I felt I could write a book about love, no matter how trivial it may sound. My time in Oxford was spent self-reflecting, enjoying early morning walks and late nights, hardly sleeping and even developing an addiction to the beautiful wisteria growing along the old stone walls! I seriously thought that I would most likely return to these walls and devote my time entirely to the study of literature or philosophy. Those thoughts deeply surprised me and made me discover more about myself.
University people amaze me with their stories, their willpower, and ability to overcome the impossible. I never would have guessed that connections outside my group could be so significant, transformative and motivating. It was mostly people from my field who I wanted to dive even deeper with, to understand the essence of things and determine what the next step, and ambitious goals, should be. It is this kind of education that I find particularly valuable when you already have a career and a sense of who you are and an understanding of life. There are no coincidences when there is awareness and you are right on target.
The Executive Diploma in Organisational Leadership fulfilled my expectations. As I had hoped, it gave me impetus and inspiration, but the fruits were dependent on your own efforts and what you expected from your chosen path. Writing my final paper, for example, gave me indelible pleasure. In fact, I was on fire and living it, precisely because I received an incredibly positive response from each expert that I had approached about it worldwide. I appreciated their expertise and their sincerity when answering my provocative and controversial questions. The quality of the dialogues that took place was more than satisfactory. I could not even imagine that I would be so passionate about my work and academic writing - I got so carried away with the process that I even drew a meme and decided to use it in the body of the text! I felt curious and playful simultaneously. I wondered whether I should do it or not and if I could get away with it, but then I decided that pedagogues marking my work should reflect the image of Saïd Business School: belonging to rich and extensive history, but being progressive, having a modern approach to the world, and having a sense of humour.
If I had to summarise the feelings and experiences I associate with Saïd Business School and the University of Oxford, I would say it is a ‘domino effect’. You make a small push, and with it, a greater force takes effect, as events give rise to something bigger. It grabs you and takes you where you've never been before. One only has to be open to this wave.