Manish Aggarwal






Jan 2018 - Sep 2019

By Manish Aggarwal

Safari of Extremes

I always knew post-graduation that at some point in my life I would like to embark on an MBA but the timing never felt right.  I finally went through the journey of finding the right course and applying.  Having been accepted at all my chosen schools I finally decided on Oxford.  The rankings played a role in my decision, but the deciding factor was how Oxford allowed you to access the wider infrastructure outside of the EMBA course such as:, the Entrepreneurship centre, the GOTO project, the Oxford Foundry and various entrepreneurial events at Saïd and at Colleges to name a few.  This access and the potential learning from the wider interactions brought me to Oxford.

The application process itself was a great self-reflecting process given I was going through somewhat challenging transitions at work.  It allowed me to reflect again on my achievements over the last 15 years and appreciate the journey I had been on and more importantly the path I would like to take.

Being part of the January intake time seemed to fly through December with piling work commitments.  January came knocking and the start date approached ever so quickly.  Work seemed to be endless and I found myself completing an exciting task just a few days before the start of the course.

We were completing the setup of a luxury bush camp in the Serengeti National park.  With the usual completion challenges heightened by the bush location in a developing country, I was stretched to say the least.  I found myself in the middle of Serengeti with my wife and 18-month-old on the Thursday, 72 hrs before the course starts.  The nearest international airport being a 14-hour drive and a final scheduled meeting in Nairobi made for one of the most phenomenal family trips we embarked on from the Serengeti to Oxford in 72 hrs (with a quick lunch in Nottingham having dropped the family with my in-laws for the week)

The final leg of the journey; the anxiety and excitement of whether Oxford was the right choice, the investment, and many other thoughts were playing on my mind.   However, as the week sailed through the Oxford week trumped my 72 hours.

Instead of feeling exhausted, the week left me energised and stimulated.  The course discussions during the interactive lectures and group works really made me appreciate the diversity and learning potential of the group.  The stimulating conversations with members of my cohort were even more inspiring and thought provoking.  I genuinely feel the course has designed this so well, where the opportunity to interact with each other is endless.  I found myself in “different study groups”, sitting next to different colleagues for meals and sharing coffee with new people throughout the day.  Each discussion leaving me with more questions and intuitively self-reflecting.

Finally, and I may be repeating myself, the openness of the cohort in all kinds of discussions related to course, personal experiences, reasons behind doing the course at this stage in their lives, and future plans were amazing.  Everyone was so motivated and wanted to embark on some step change in their lives and careers and I found that energy continuously rubbing off on me and “driving” me through the most amazing journey of my life.

So in conclusion I would say my first week at Oxford with this new energy, which had been missing for a while, is thanks to my colleagues, it “Trumped” my 72 hour journey of extremes from Serengeti to Oxford.  Twitter here I come.

Back to top of article

Share this post:

follow us in feedly