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Brett Y

Degree:

EMBA

Location:

Germany

Industry:

Consulting

Year:

Sep 2016 - May 2018

By Brett Y

Writing Home – Initial Impressions

It’s a rainy morning in Leipzig and I am down with a cold right now, sipping my breakfast tea. I worked through to Friday, but my throat has been scratchy all week. Hard to believe just two weeks ago I spent a wonderful, Indian summer week in Oxford.

I’ve been meaning to write about my initial Oxford experience after the first module which was really fantastic. There are just over 60 students in my class and I met so many interesting people from all over the world, some from as far away as Sydney, Australia!  I sat next to a woman from California who spent seven years in Africa and could speak fluent Swahili with the woman in front of us from Tanzania who works for the Swedish Embassy in Dar es Salaam. I met a writer from the Economist whose book about his travels down the German Divide ten years after the Wall I am currently enjoying. I met a heart surgeon from Philadelphia and an entrepreneur who looks like a young Steve Jobs and runs a company that has built a web portal for kids seeking scholarships for college.  Of course, there are also stock brokers and financial types, including a Vice President of Wells Fargo (if he still has his job now), but it is obvious that the admissions department was striving for diversity in this class. This makes for really inspiring lectures and interesting conversations during lunch and dinner. The energy in the air when all these extraordinary people come together is palpable and contagious.

The first week was mostly introductory lectures and some group exercises which helped everyone interact and get to know each other. Most lecturers encouraged student participation rather than having us blindly copy down notes from the board. This led to some very invigorating discussions in which students contributed their own personal and professional experiences to debate or confirm certain points of the lecture. The lecturers, like our class, were also a varied and dynamic bunch with strong industry or academic backgrounds, some with very impressive highlights to their resumes such as Financial Advisor to Nelson Mandela.

I got my Harry Potter experience rooming in one of the dormitories at Keble College which has an enormous Victorian Gothic dining hall with three rows of long wooden tables with benches and a high, arched ceiling like a cathedral. Ancient pictures of former school masters adorn the walls and at the end of the room is the head table where only invited guests may be seated. It was especially cool to get to breakfast early when the room was empty with just a few students dressed in white shirts and black pants serving breakfast.

I’ll include a few pictures which can do better than any description I might attempt. You’ll see pictures from our Matriculation ceremony to formally join Oxford as a student, all dressed up in our black caps and gowns, the subfusc. We will have to wear them for all formal tests as well.  I’ll also include a few pictures of some of the colleges I visited during the Open Days weekend. All EMBA students must enroll in one of Oxford’s 37 colleges, mine is Brasenose which looks out to the tall spires of All Souls College from its Quad. You’ll also see pictures of our debate in the Oxford Union, another grand tradition rooted deeply into Oxford’s history.

Back home I am refreshing my knowledge of probabilities and regression analysis for the first of our core courses, Analytics. The next module in October should be more intense and I am a bit anxious about the amount of work which is why I am trying to make room in my daily plans for preliminary exercises and reading, just to get used to the whole process of studying again. My brain feels like one of those old Model T cars from Ford with the crank to get the engine started. I need to get it warmed up before I can carry heavy loads.

Hope you enjoyed the Black Moon.  Have a Happy October.

Hertford College

Hertford College

Brasenose Quad - my college.

Brasenose Quad – my college.

Keble College Dining Hall

Keble College Dining Hall

Keble College place setting

Keble College place setting

Matriculation in our sub fusc

Matriculation in our sub fusc

Debating at the Oxford Union

Debating at the Oxford Union

Kathy Harvey announcing the winner of the debate before dinner at Queens College

Kathy Harvey announcing the winner of the debate before dinner at Queens College

Queens College Dining Hall

Queens College Dining Hall

Farewell night at a local pub

Farewell night at a local pub

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