Fiona Marsh




United Kingdom


Public Administration


Sep 2017 - May 2019

By Fiona Marsh

My EMBA journey

My Executive MBA journey started nearly a year ago. Over the last year my life has been consumed by this journey from researching business schools to preparing my application and adjusting to the realisation that tomorrow, I will be heading off to Oxford for my first module. It hardly seems real. When I think back to last September, I would never have imagined that I would actually be going to Oxford.

The University of Oxford is one of the greatest academic institutions in the world. This can make the University of Oxford appear a little intimidating when you are first deciding on which business schools to apply to. I felt that intimidation and I was unsure how application to the University of Oxford would be received. However, after attending the QS Fair for MBAs, where I met with a member of the admissions team. I began to consider the University of Oxford as a potential for the Executive MBA programme.

I also attended an open day at the Business School in January. One of the speakers was a student on the Executive MBA programme. He made reference to the fact the University of Oxford was much more egalitarian than you might think, so you should consider applying

I submitted my application at the end of February after three and half months of drafting and redrafting. After submitting my application, I felt a little nervous but also hopeful. Thankfully, the wait to be invited to interview was very short. I now had to focus all my attention on my interview. While preparing for my interview, I found a YouTube video of Peter Tufano, the Dean of the Saïd Business School. This video was about International Women’s Day 2017 and Dean Tufano spoke about two women that he believed were ‘Bold for Change’ and had changed the world; Frances Perkins and Pamela Hartigan.

Both of these women were involved in changing the world from within the public sector and not the private sector. This really spoke to me and made me think about the importance of ‘fit’. I had read various articles about how important fit when I was researching business schools. However, it was only after watching Dean Tufano’s video that I truly realised that the University of Oxford was the right place for me and our values were shared.

The interview day arrived and coupled with confidence and nervousness, I was determined to be successful. When I received, the email informing me I was to be offered a place, there was disbelief and joy. I was now one step closer towards achieving my professional ambitions and fulfilling my potential.

An EMBA is often seen as a major stepping stone to career advancement. But an EMBA is much more than that, it gives you the opportunity to really self reflect to consider what is your true purpose: How can you make an impact on the world ? How will you make a difference ? How will you use this opportunity to make meaningful and lasting change ? Just to note, I believe we can make a difference at all levels, so I am not implying only the Steve Jobs of this world are important.

At the start of my EMBA journey, the focus was more centered on how the programme would enhance my career. But as I approach my first module tomorrow, I believe it is more of a privilege to be part of the September 17 cohort. As I look forward to meeting everyone, as they fly in from all over the world. I can truly say, I am ecstatic I will finally be starting my Oxford Executive MBA.

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  • Elena Mariotti

    Great piece Fiona! it really well describes the pre MBA feeling!