Per magne Sviggum








Jan 2015 - Sep 2016

By Per magne Sviggum

Becoming Oxonian

Loaded with anticipation I stepped off the bus at Gloucester Green station last Sunday. A new age in my professional life was about to commence, and Oxford was showing its most convivial side, bathed in golden winter sun. The rich history of the city manifests itself through a great mixture of medieval and current architecture, and as a member of Brasenose College I am very conscious of the instrumental role the University of Oxford has played in the city through the centuries. In fact, up until 2003 the University had its own police force.

Brasenose was rumoured to have a friendly graduate community, and Sozos Michaelides, the President, confirmed this by inviting all of the college’s five EMBA students in for an official welcome and tour of the college on Sunday afternoon. At 3.30, five strangers – all from different countries and backgrounds – converged in the porter’s house, eager to become better acquainted with the beautiful college and its community. Two hours later we were already bonding, and a mixture of awe and fascination had spread through the group. We all agreed to make an effort to engage with the college community, even though we have very tight schedules during our modules. I am already proud to be a part of Brasenose, and I have the feeling that I speak for all five of us when I say so. Thanks again to Sozos, for bringing us together.

Food for thought
Sunday evening, as a welcoming event, all new EMBA students were invited to dinner in the Ashmolean Museum. With a background in design, I was particularly pleased to meet my fellow students in such a renowned cultural institution, which is also a part Oxford University. To me, this was illustrative of how Säid Business School forms part of the greater university and perhaps gives a friendly nod to the humanities. About 70 of us made the dinner, and with about 30 countries represented the room was bursting with cultural and professional diversity, ideas and new perspectives. All taking place under the pleasant gaze of the old greek marble statues lining the hall.

Back to school
Monday started with practicalities such as keys, cards, passwords etc., but already on the first day we dived head first into case-based learning in groups. Through the week we have worked on a number of tasks concerning business strategy and leadership in various groups, effectively introducing us to more and more of our classmates. I find I have spent 12–14 hours a day on scheduled and non-scheduled school activities, and still I don’t know where the time went.

Thursday was a highlight, though. For the formal matriculation ceremony we all dressed in subfusc and wore our mortarboards and gowns. The matriculation in itself is a fairly short procedure which involves a passage in Latin being read for us, to formally accept us as students, but this rite of passage is obligatory for all who are reading for a degree at Oxford. Albeit quaint, the ceremony is an enjoyable part of the Oxford experience. As a befitting end to the day we dined in the beautiful Trinity College, where EMBA graduate Tim Foster, an Olympic Gold Medalist for Britain, gave us a lighthearted account of the trials, but also the opportunities, we would have as Oxford EMBA students.

After an intense analytics-day, I was pretty much spent on Friday night. Having already booked a morning flight on Saturday, I contemplated changing my flight so I could join the Oxford Union debate arranged for us on Saturday, but wife and kids weighed the most this time. Some other time, certainly.

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