Carlos Filipe Duarte








Jan 2018 - Sep 2019

By Carlos Filipe Duarte


After an absolutely amazing module in India, the first full-scale group assignment and the kick-off of the GOTO project, I’m be returning to Oxford in less than a weeks’ time. Travel arrangements, packing and other preparatory activities are taking place so I decided to share what I have learned, as a non UK resident, on how to prepare the modules:

1- DO IT EARLY – Oxford is a pretty busy place, London airports are busy as well, so you’ll want to book things sooner rather than later. Accommodation and plane ticket prices do go up or, worse, disappear.

2- FLY INTO AN AIRPORT WITH AN EASY CONNECTION TO OXFORD – this means flying into Gatwick or Heathrow (if into London), Southampton or Birmingham.
For Gatwick and Heathrow, you can (as of May 2018) buy a 12-ticket package on the Oxford Bus Company app for a direct connection from said airports into central Oxford. 90 minutes to/from Heathrow and 2h30 to Gatwick.
Southampton and Birmingham airports on the other hand have direct, fast train connections to Oxford Station (roughly 60-75 minutes).

3- TRY DIFFERENT ACCOMMODATIONS – check hotels (and ask SBS for discounted rates), check AirBnB and local letting agencies, check the colleges. Accommodation prices fluctuate a lot and one option might be cheaper than another for any given month – and don’t forget you are getting breakfast (and other meals) at SBS, so breakfast-less rates can provide a saving.
Also, Oxford is not that big, so a lot of places are within walking distance – if not, it also has a extensive bus network with reasonable weekly ticket rates. You don’t need to stay next to SBS.

4- USE YOUR LOCKER – SBS provides you with a locker (which may be shared). Don’t lug everything around every time. Use the locker – save your back, save your hold luggage allowance. A lot of the reading material is provided in electronic format, so decide if carrying around printouts is really needed.

5- DON’T RUSH IT IF YOU CAN – You need to get in a day before and should leave the day after (so, normally arrive on a Sunday and leave next Saturday). You need time to settle down before Mondays and relax after Fridays. If possible, arrive a little earlier or leave later so you have a free day to enjoy Oxford, take advantage of the activities your College might have or just hang around with your EMBA friends – trust me, you won’t regret it!

6- GET INTO THE MINDSET – the EMBA is a marathon but you are not competing against anyone, apart from yourself. Your colleagues are your friends, your co-runners – enjoy them, cultivate friendships, discuss ideas, have fun. Oxford is one of the premier learning centres in the world and one of the oldest as well – enjoy Oxford, soak in the atmosphere, try and participate in college life – such as attending formal hall or MCR activities. The experience, the sharing, the place is as important as the courses and lectures (some would say even more so!)

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  • Sid Liu

    really practical !!!