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Brett Y

Degree:

EMBA

Location:

Germany

Industry:

Consulting

Year:

Sep 2016 - May 2018

By Brett Y

Reflections on completing the EMBA

As many of my classmates remarked, it was wonderful to be back in Oxford as a tourist without any assignments due.  For prospective students I would warn, although some in the Oxford community might joke that the MBA is a minor degree, the EMBA program is not for the weak of heart.  In my case, it was perhaps harder than it needed to be.  I was out to prove something to myself and invested every drop of energy and inspiration I could humanly muster.  This was my choice, but looking back I have few regrets.  I gave it my all and am very proud of all that I was able to accomplish.  I think with the Oxford EMBA you get back what you put into it.

So what did exactly did I get out of the experience?
• For one, I sharpened my reading, writing, and communication skills.
• I survived a few sleepless, lonely nights due to:  a) sifting through hundreds of articles and trying to cram everything into one paper (not recommended) or b) anxiety the night before my written exams.
• Eventually learned to sleep better by picking out salient points of a topic to write convincing arguments while looking for creative ways to make an assignment my own.
• I learned the value of teamwork, when to lay back, and when to take charge and lead.
• I learned to accept that which I could not change while making sure my voice was heard when I saw areas for improving the program.
• Perhaps most importantly, I made a few lasting friendships and was inspired by the communal spirit of my class: Leaders and professionals from all walks of life and corners of the world, together in one room, eager to share their knowledge and support each other.  I will never forget the excitement of that first week and the energy in the classroom. Every five weeks was like receiving a shot of adrenaline.
• My professional network expanded in exponential fashion.
• I was exposed to some of the finest professors and lecturers in the world and engaged in many intriguing discussions and debates that challenged my views on many topics, from leadership styles to corporate strategy to cutting edge marketing techniques.
• I gained confidence in my ability to grow and learn new things, even as one of the older students in the class.
• I got a job working in the company of a classmate, a start in an entirely new field for me.
• I no longer fear the unknown that accompanies career change and have confidence in my ability to transform.

I really have few regrets looking back.  I do wish I had had the time and opportunity to reap more from the overall Oxford community, but I think that was nearly impossible with the packed schedule we had.  We probably could have had more interaction with the regular MBAs and I would have enjoyed connecting undergrad and graduate students at Brasenose with the SBS class.  I think there are still opportunities for exchange that could be tapped.

I can’t speak for other business schools, but I was particularly impressed with the support staff at Saïd. Despite all the students that pass through the doors, the staff managed to provide a distinctly personal experience.  I was worried about being just one, anonymous student on a conveyor belt, but that was far from the case.  Every student has different needs and for the most part, I think SBS did well in accommodating for these differences.  People like Helen, Nicola and Kathy were clearly invested and interested in the students.  It was obvious to me that they enjoyed their work.  That reflected back in their interactions with the class and the respect we had for them. That personal touch was a distinguishing feature that made my Oxford experience unique and memorable.

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