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George Robson

Degree:

EMBA

Location:

United Kingdom

Industry:

Nutritional supplements

Year:

Sep 2018 - May 2020

By George Robson

Chapter two: How the EMBA compares to elite level sport

Just like in elite sport; your place in the environment has been earned through talent, hard work and a hunger to always improve. Now it’s time to pick up momentum, welcome to week 2.

My Oxford experience, much like rugby, has demanded that I give everything of myself to the cause. This comes from a sense of responsibility; I feel that I am contributing to something far bigger than my own sense of achievement. There is a saying in sport that “you never own the jersey you play in, you are just a custodian of it, looking after it for the next generation.” Not many contexts provide this: Oxford does and this is why it is special.

You are working with people who have different strengths and weaknesses and the EMBA has compared favourably with all of the successful teams I have played in due to the chemistry created through diversity.

When you play in a high stakes game in a packed out stadium, there is an adrenaline rush that takes you a few days to come down from. This comes from the physical and cognitive intensity that you are subjected to. I always used to struggle to sleep the first night after a big game. I find that I have a similar feeling when returning to my normal life from an EMBA week. As I write this blog in the early hours of ‪Saturday morning, it helps me process the week. Sometimes due to the intense focus, you can only truly enjoy the game when it’s done and you are able to reflect and this is exactly how I feel right now.

Teams are only ever truly tested when subjected to adversity. This is where you learn about the strength of the team, your individual team mates, and most revealingly, yourself.

This week we studied analytics. This is not a natural strength of everyone in the cohort (myself included) and the academic rigour that you would expect of Oxford did not disappoint and there were times when even our rocket scientist questioned the number of variables. What intrigued me was that the diverse strengths, referred earlier, worked together to push forward. People lifted each other up as we acquired an understanding of concepts of things like heteroskedasticity. As a cohort we are starting to form resilient bonds – something required for success in multiple contexts not just in sport or business.

I am only just starting to appreciate the experience of the week now that it is complete and can now reflect that just like in rugby, my goal at Oxford will be to try and leave the jersey in a better place.

Week 2 Survival Tips

When answering a question, try and reference technology, context and if in doubt blame the Americans as they have an enormous carbon footprint. After thorough analysis, answering every question posed in week 2 with “it depends” yields a success of 73.4%. This is because it often does.

If your interested in what I wrote about legacy in sport there’s a good book I’d recommend with the title “Legacy” written by James Kerr about the All Blacks – arguably the most dominant sports team in history.

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