Jan 2015 - Sep 2016
Writing this blog was a long overdue commitment that I promised to do. Since I believe it is never too late to start, I would like to give a brief on my view on some of the modules I have taken so far and reflections they had on me.
My biggest concern while starting EMBA was my other friend’s experiences from some other schools where Executive MBA was simply a certificate printing exercise. When our lovely program director explained me their requirement for at least 17 weeks of attendance, I thought this program is the right one. Now, I can comfortably confirm, the Oxford EMBA is different because of the length of time attendees have to spend together.
You may hide in your historic room one or two nights but can’t do this for 140 nights. The majority of the attendees are travelling from far (Oxford is a pretty but a small city) so there are many talented, experienced people who left their families for 8 days and looking forward to engage, learn and experience. Over and above, Oxford Saïd really excels in providing an executive environment to ensure you feel special all the days and nights when you are in the school. This creates the perfect environment for sharing, understanding and enjoying.
Having quality time to engage with senior people from different industries is, I believe, what makes this program special. Modules that we had in the mornings have led to heated discussions in the evenings at amazing historic places and uncovered many practical truths which are difficult to both articulate and learn in the class. I kept on having “Eureka” moments, not once or twice but many many times each week.
All in all, the order of modules was extremely relevant. Things progressed in an incremental manner where each module had created the foundations for the next. An important aspect is that a considerable amount of time is required to digest the modules and the rewards will not be limited to the assignment of the module itself but as a preparation for upcoming modules. I found materials extremely useful and time I spent going through each one of them well worth while. Even the optional materials were very nice and I sometimes struggled to shift my focus to other priorities while all this material is lying there waiting to be read.
There were some little surprises in each module(and some big ones). In India, I guess that the hotel we stayed might be a palace. Flying from the cool breeze of London and landing into India was a feast for the senses. Most importantly, things were getting sorted behind the scenes and we were just experiencing the beauties and learning how things work in India. I had many experiences of India in professional life but visiting there as an Oxford member was absolutely breathtaking. Having India and China modules was one of my main reasons to choose Oxford Saïd. In my view, I would have easily experienced other countries (visited by other programs) myself but visiting India, China with Oxford made a huge difference.
The India module was followed by Economics, Accounting and Corporate Finance. All those courses collapsed into a single meaningful experience with a hands on modelling crash course given by our intelligent lecturers. We eventually had the chance to apply those experiences while preparing for our Entrepreneurship Project assignment. This was the end of mandatory courses and the beginning of electives.
My expectation was that elective courses would be more detailed and academic but I was happily proven wrong. Elective courses took up where we left with mandatory courses and applied current business/commercial/political events from the lenses of Economics, Finance, Strategy etc… It got tastier as we got along with the new subjects.
And finally, the China experience was a turning point in my overall EMBA experience. I already had high expectations but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
One day, we were impressed by a communist party secretary’s very relevant speech on the workings of “free market economy” in China, on another we visited one of the most forward looking Fintech firms I have ever been to. Most importantly, we felt comfortable to be in China. The theoretical study followed by well organised field work made whole experience meaningful.
China is amazing!!! That is a given but it is not very straightforward to understand what makes it amazing. I often come across questions of whether an EMBA was worth doing given the time and the money invested. In my candid view, even our China module was worth the whole lot. The value of an EMBA comes from the many engagements and experiences you have during your studies and in that specific module we had many opportunities that can turn into real businesses.
I can comfortably say, my perceptions and judgement has changed drastically since the beginning of the program. Even at the very start I was feeling the need for change but I was not able to put that need in words to search on Google. From that aspect, it was more of a gamble for me but I am quite happy that what felt like a gamble at the start turned out to be an absolute win for me at the end.
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