“If you walk out of this programme not feeling confident that you can do anything you are passionate about, and be successful at it, then you have missed the point of coming here.” – D.A.
These were the words my successful entrepreneur group member and friend said to me one morning, as I ran into the classroom with my tea in one hand, and my mobile phone in another. I greeted him, and immediately he sensed both my excitement and fear. Already in our seventh module, our study group has gotten to know every member quite well after spending countless hours on multiple projects. I started telling him about an idea that I came up with to help small business owners, but was not sure how to go about it and whether it will work.
By now, we know there are three types of people in our EMBA cohort – the traditionalists, who are looking to further advance their careers by climbing the corporate ladder, the entrepreneurs, who are looking to expand their business through new contacts and ideas, and the undecided dreamers, who are at a cross road in life and are looking for the next path in their journeys. Whilst I entered the programme as a semi-traditionalist, who works at the start-up division of my company, I am finding myself in the undecided dreamer category as of late.
For the undecided dreamers, some have come to the City of Dreaming Spires to dream new dreams, whilst others take a walk down memory lane during their time here, and can somehow revive old, forgotten dreams. Perhaps this is the magic of Oxford, it lets you revisit your past, live the present, and find your true passion to fuel the future. I never thought I would find my roots right here over a dinner conversation. With the EMBA September 2016 and January 2017 intakes both present for class during this past module, I was able to further expand my network and meet folks in the next cohort who flew in from Hong Kong – my native land before moving to New York as a young child. Over dinner one night, I sat next to one of the Hong Kongers and we started talking about what defines the spirit of the Hong Kong people. She told me that the Hong Kong youths she works with defines them as hardworking, fearless, resilient individuals, who never fail to bounce back from failures, continue to push forward and try again until they reach their goals. She went on to say that it was this very spirit that enabled Hong Kong to transform itself from a small fishing village to a cosmopolitan, global financial hub. I must say, it was reinvigorating to be reminded of where I came from. Over the years, I supposed I have forgotten about the spirit of Hong Kongers that is a part of my heritage, as I came of age as a New Yorker.
There is certainly no shortage of advice and guidance in the Oxford EMBA programme. Oftentimes, learning takes place among the cohorts outside of the classroom. Borrowing terms from the Technology and Operations class which we just completed, as a work in progress (WIP), I do not know how long the throughput time will be for me to turn into a finished product. However long it takes, and whatever the final product looks like, I agree with my entrepreneur friend that we will have the confidence to do whatever we are passionate about, and be successful, because of the Oxford EMBA experience.
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