Sep 2016 - May 2018
I learned I was accepted to Harvard for their General Management Program (GMP) and when I walked onto the campus the first day, I was excited. I remember thinking that this was one of those moments and it felt surreal that this kid from a town of 1,100 in rural Saskatchewan (Canada) was one of 135 executives given an opportunity to attend Harvard’s GMP. The burden of being the lone employee (thanks to Wade & JT) out of 70,000+ selected also weighed heavily on my mind. On the last day when I received my certificate, with my wife by my side, I told her that I didn’t think anything will top this moment; I was wrong!
I applied into Oxford Saïd’s postgraduate Diploma in Global Business in December of 2014 the month after completing the 4-month GMP. I learned that I was accepted for their January intake a few weeks later. When the Program Director, Mari Sako, first spoke I knew this opportunity would be something that would change my lens and my life. Well, the past 22 months have flown by and on October 29th I’ll convocate alongside 33 others. It will be a recognized Diploma from the #1 ranked University. Surreal really, and I have Mari to thank for giving me the spot that opened up and mentoring me from the sidelines while I was class representative.
I decided this spring, unbeknownst to anyone, to apply for the EMBA continuing my personal development as opposed to returning to the O&G. I reached out to Mari who offered to provide a personal recommendation. From the moment I heard back from the EMBA Team I knew this was what I wanted and as I kept making it through to the next gate in the selection process I wanted it even more. I honestly, didn’t realize how much so, until my board interview when I was asked what my ‘back-up plan’ was too which I replied “I don’t have one…I intend to come to Oxford and if it is meant to be it will be”! To say I was nervous the next couple of weeks would be an understatement. Oxford’s EMBA was ranked #2 by The Economist and I saw first-hand the pedigree of my peers that had been accepted into the program and read the bio’s of past alumni. When I received confirmation I promised myself that I would be a good steward of the opportunity and would leverage any relationship, past or present, for any of my classmates.
Our first evening as I settled to dinner with my table at the Ashmolean Museum and met my colleagues at the table and heard their backgrounds; I knew this experience would change the lens. It was truly humbling. As our first week progressed and I got to know the rest of the class, and was introduced to my study team, I felt even more comfortable. Honestly, it was during the matriculation ceremony, of all things, when I knew for certain that my experience at Oxford would literally change what lies ahead. The matriculation ceremony, albeit brief, weighed heavily upon me and as I stood at the back of the hall I was overwhelmed and truly thankful for all I’ve been afforded.
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