Sep 2016 - May 2018
Three formal assignments, two exams, and one entrepreneurship project pitch later (since my last blog); EMBAS16 has finally finished all our core classes. We are now at the half-time mark of our EMBA journey. Unlike the Super Bowl half-time show in American football, there are no superstars dancing on stage with fireworks in the background. Rather, we just had some live jazz and swing dancing at the Cherwell Boathouse as we celebrated the completion of year one.
In my last blog, I wrote about the three different types of EMBA students in the programme. While each of us is here searching for our individual paths, one thread which ties us all together is our identity as global citizens. No matter which corner of the globe we fly from to Oxford every month, we believe that there are common values which bind humanity together. What happens in one corner of the globe will impact another in one form or another. New ideas and innovations developed in one part of the world can better lives globally. Here at Oxford, there is no shortage of new ideas and innovations. For example, chemist and physicist Robert Boyle performed experiments that led to the discovery of Boyle’s law at the current site of University College. Meanwhile, Enlightenment ideas from philosopher and Christ Church alumnus, John Locke, shaped the thinking of the founding fathers during the American revolutionary war. University College alumnus Professor Stephen Hawking’s work has changed the way we view the universe.
Back home this past week, I had the opportunity to meet up with a fellow Oxford MBA alumnus who was visiting New York on business from South Africa. She is also a fellow at the business school and had delivered a financial modelling workshop for our EMBA cohort this past summer. During our conversation, we talked about the type of people who come to Oxford. We agreed that people who choose to pursue an Oxford degree are global citizens who want to have an impact on the world. When you are immersed in an environment, or corporate culture using a business term, that has eight hundred years of new ideas and innovations, you learn to question the status quo. When you see a problem, you no longer complain and believe that things will not change. Instead, you take a step back, reflect, look around you, talk to others, research and see if you can approach the problem from a different angle and develop new solutions. For business school students, the solutions often lead to new business ideas. Surrounded by all the great thinkers and innovators that have either come before you or are currently with you on campus, you gain the confidence that you too can do the same. Just as we were in the middle of our conversation, another EMBA alumnus, who is a successful entrepreneur with an international business, happened to walk down the street and saw us. We had absolutely no idea that he was in New York too. Now, what is the probability that three Oxonians from the business school – two from overseas and one New York native – would run into each other on Manhattan island with an area size of 22.83 square miles? Was it a random coincidence or was the universe trying to show us the power of global citizens?
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