It was the first day of term. I remember walking into the modern, crisp Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre, finding a seat in a hall full of fellow MBA students. The experience was here and I was excited to be immersed in it.
It has been about five months now, and the journey is still brimming with excitement and opportunity. But for now, let's talk about the journey so far.
The journey so far
I would summarise the Oxford experience in the following distinct but interwoven groups - people, learning, impact, choice.
The warmth in the school is palpable. Oxford Saïd has a superb set of staff and brings together brilliant yet kind minds from around the world. Sixty-four nationalities, but it's more than a number. It's in the experiences, cultures and unique backgrounds.
Beyond the classroom, the MBA journey is laced with lovely accounts of conversations and observations that have made me think, reflect and learn. It’s the way my classmates articulate their perspectives, it's the respect towards one another, it's the warm smile on faces in the hallway, it’s the cerebral faculty, it's the friendliness of the career team, it's the willingness to help one another on WhatsApp groups. It's simply beautiful.
Non-market strategy, organisational culture, predictive analytics - these are just a selection of the topics that have been illuminated to us in a very short space of time. The programme is one year long and can feel fast-paced with high pressure, but you are certainly not left alone. There is a team behind you in the faces of friends, faculty, career experts, to help you succeed.
A significant part of the MBA is peer-to-peer learning. For me I have benefited from my peers, through group projects, Slack posts, and even deeply inspiring questions they have asked that have unbottled a part of my understanding in different topics.
We live in a complex world with ‘wicked’ problems characterised by complexity, interconnections, uncertainty and multifarious perspectives. At Oxford, I am reminded of real-life issues, but also inspired to seek to be a part of the change. Impact is a theme that has been prominent in the Oxford MBA experience. Truly, we can impact the lives of others irrespective of the paths we take, whether in the workplace, in business or in solitary corners.
Saïd Business School creates an environment to help you thrive and push you on a trajectory of success in what matters to you. There are so many programmes and learning opportunities the MBA programme, and Oxford University at large, offer. Really, a lot goes on. Choosing what path to take, while being flexible and open to journey can be an intricate balance, but yet again you are not alone - there are tools, techniques and information to help you.
The Oxford Africa Business Alliance
Last but not the least, being a part of the Oxford Africa Business Alliance has been one of the highlights of my time at Oxford so far. As an African, it's been a pleasure working with the Alliance to spark discussion about Africa. I work with delightful and brilliant members of the committee to drive the African narrative via events at Oxford Saïd.
From Alliance events, I myself have learnt about the importance of women in venture capital, resilience through an inspirational story of a 6,000km walk by a classmate for a good cause, and I look forward to even more learning at the Oxford Africa Business Forum coming up on 10 March. This year’s theme is 'Africa: a sustainable path to prosperity?' and I welcome you to be a part of the discussions as we explore what a sustainable path means for the African continent.
The journey at Oxford Saïd has not always been easy and has stretched me as an individual, but it has certainly been a rewarding and worthwhile experience. I look forward to the rest of the journey with my fellow classmates as we uncover more of what the programme offers.