Jan 2018 - Sep 2019
To ensure that I would feel refreshed before I would start the Oxford EMBA programme, I went on a 3-week holiday to Vietnam. I was fully aware that time will be scarce once I enrolled in the programme so this was the moment to take a break.
As expected, time flew and before I knew I was heading to Oxford for the first week of the 21-month EMBA programme. I am London based and decided to take the bus to give myself some extra time to think about what I got myself into. The bus journey took me on memory lane indeed. Once the bus arrived in Oxford, I kept seeing street names to which I had clear references to my past. Street names related to the borough I lived when I moved to London, street names related to The Netherlands, where I was born and, whilst thinking this, I disembarked the bus amongst the beautiful buildings of the Oxford colleges and universities. It was a coincidence that I could relate my memories to street names, especially as I was going to start another chapter of my life and wanted to use this time to quickly reflect on what I had done so far. I felt proud that I was able to become part of the Oxford community, and I couldn’t have had a better entry to this amazing city.
Our opening ceremony was Sunday night in the Ashmolean museum. I arrived early and mingled as our class gradually arrived. We shared where we were from and where our interest lies, and it became apparent that we have a very diverse cohort as our class of 65 people hailing from 40 different countries. We have a slightly higher percentage of Americans and Australians compared to other countries, which is interesting as they have the longest commute. The Ashmolean was a well-chosen location to meet, as it’s the museum of art and archaeology, the study of human history, and was now the centre of the creation of a new community: The January EMBA cohort of 2018. By being surrounded by such an inspiring bunch, tasteful canapés and beautiful historical artefacts, time passed quickly.
The following morning, I felt dazed as I was overwhelmed by the people I had met the previous night. I barely slept as I was too excited to take part of the busy week schedule that was going to start. Each day of the week was packed with lectures and some breaks for breakfast, dinner and lunch. It was full-on, but spending all this time together allowed us to really get to know each other in a very short period of time. The facilities, professors, way of teaching and contributions from the class are all of great quality. This created a hunger for more information and before we knew it, it was Thursday evening, and time for the openings ceremony.
The openings ceremony was held at the Divinity school, a beautiful location in the centre of Oxford. This location is the oldest surviving purpose-built university building. During the ceremony, Kathy, our Executive MBA director, asked the Dean for official approval to accept the new students. Latin was spoken and as we were all dressed in academic dress, we were part of an unforgettable moment.
On Friday we spent the majority of our time in the lecture theatre with Professor Taylor. He was tasked to teach Analytics for 4.5 hours to this diverse cohort on a Friday afternoon. All credits to Mr Taylor as the class was eager to complete the exercises even when it was the end of a busy week.
While we were in class, we decided to create a class WhatsApp group. This was directly in great use as we started sharing photos of the openings ceremony. Now the week was over, and messages where shared about people’s journey back. Some students tried to meet up at Heathrow airport, but unfortunately everyone was at a different terminal. The admission team had done an outstanding job, as greater diversity seems not possible.
On Friday evening I decided to visit the Oxford Union. The Union is known for the high-quality speakers, such as the Dalai Lama, Stephen Hawking and Michael Jackson. This evening was no different as Kai-Fu Lee, founding president of Google China, was speaking about Artificial Intelligence. After the event we were surrounded by students from other Oxford programmes for the first time and being able to network with them adds an entire new dimension to what Oxford has to offer.
It was an immense pleasure to meet the class and spending a full week in Oxford makes me feel honoured to be part of this special and world-renowned community. We are in for some great experiences together.Back to top of article