Alina Marm








Jan 2017 - Sep 2018

By Alina Marm

Comfort zone

While organizing my post-Module ‘to-dos’ I ease back into the memories made during Module 6 of the Oxford Executive MBA. Memories that are made of moments lived as much as they are made of emotions felt. One emotion was overwhelming this module: the feeling of comfort.

Academically this module was packed with Strategy, Marketing and Technology & Operations. All topics I feel comfortable with. After painful weeks of a Macro- and Microeconomics assignment (which for me was way beyond my comfort zone), this emotion of comfort was especially appreciated.

Being comfortable however does not coincide with not exploring the new. My highlight was Thomas Powell, who gave us fantastic strategic perspective and I can only say each lecture with him enriched my strategic horizon. He is one of these professors who make you feel comfortable engaging in a conversation while stretching your perspective.

The comfort however also comes from a sincere feeling of coming home to Oxford and especially to the cohort. A feeling of home that shows when I start fussing about all the tourists invading “my” city forgetting for a moment that I am as well, in theory, only a guest. One that still has to rely on Google maps now and then to find my way. Talking about maps, I hope I don’t overstep when suggesting that everybody on the EMBA is enroute – either just for the joy and excitement of the journey or because one has a clear vision of what the destination shall be. It is almost a paradox that people who are enroute and in transition can create a feeling of home, rather than passing through. But home it is. A home that consist of everything (obvious or hidden) people have collected on their routes. Everybody brings a little something from their home to build our new home. While providing comfort and a safe ground to explore and grow the EMBA, home is never closed or exclusive, it is not intended to shut others out, but always wants to be inviting.

After 6 modules, comfort is also lived by all the little routines I have developed. Let it be this first moment Monday morning in class looking for the name plate and seat. Rushing to class after a coffee break, yet another time too late because it is so difficult to quit that conversation you are just having. The college dinners on Thursday and the moment of complete silence with only the words “benedictus benedictat” resonating in a dining hall. Followed by the noise of laughter to jokes that have become insiders.

Moments that were new in this module may develop into our future routines, such as pizza nights, birthday cakes, wine tastings on the terrace and EMBAs opening their homes to become ever closer friends.

While I can revive all these memories – made from moments and emotions – over and over, picture by picture, thought by thought, my heart is also heavy, because reviving is not the same as reliving. And alive I feel in my EMBA home.

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