Hugh Courtney




United Kingdom




Sep 2017 - May 2019

By Hugh Courtney

Searching for that Golden Oxford Moment…

As a veteran of the Diploma in Financial Strategy, I knew exactly what Kathy Harvey (Associate Dean and EMBA Programme Director) was talking about when we she told us that each of us would experience in a Golden Moment where we would feel the and see the magic of Oxford. I had in fact fleetingly experienced such a moment before. For me it was a conspiring of the late afternoon golden light across the skyline and a feeling of profound epiphany.

The physical manifestation of this Golden Moment was clear to see, simple in its beauty. The epiphany I felt was more subtle but equally as profound. I realized in that moment that Oxford has remained relevant to the world for nigh on a thousand years, because it is a living, evolving entity due to the people that shape it. Rather than merely being shaped by its faculty or administration, it is shaped by the students who not only study there but leave their mark on the rest of the world. Joining Oxford is therefore not only a privilege but a responsibility. A responsibility to leave the world a little better than you entered it (much like your time at Oxford!).

I was reminded of this moment as I listened to Kathy speak, and looked around at the September 2017 cohort whose occupations ranged from surgeons to miners and everything in between. I had believed prior to joining the EMBA that people were attracted to the Oxford program for the diversity of the cohort. A few days later I realized however that this was too simplistic a view. The real answer so many people converged on Oxford from so many occupations, backgrounds and geographies was the need to achieve a higher purpose.

Whether that higher purpose is merely to improve the places in which they work, or more lofty such as creating a global movement, this is the Golden thread that unites and attracts them. At Oxford, expressing a dissatisfaction with the status quo results in a challenge: “What are you going to do about it?”. Rather than merely churning out high performance workers, Oxford seeks to equip its students with a toolkit to achieve that higher purpose and a develop a roadmap to find it.

So it was when sitting in the Divinity School (a building erected between 1427 and 1483), looking out on the evening light hitting the Radcliffe Camera, listening to the inspiring words of an EMBA alumnus, Alastair Collier, that it hit me… I was experiencing my second Golden Oxford Moment!

Oxford EMBA Divinity School

Back to top of article

Share this post:

follow us in feedly