Madonna Okpaleke








Jan 2020 – Sept 2022

By Madonna Okpaleke

Impossible is nothing

The truth is that nothing prepares you for the intensity and collegiality that the Oxford Executive MBA puts you through. No one tells you that coming from a purely legal, non-financial or mathematical background means that you may find courses like Analytics frustrating and quite humbling.

You sit in class and watch a very brilliant Professor teach and explain salient formulas and topics such as regression, random variables, decision trees, sensitivity analysis, t-stat, standard deviation, confidence intervals and so on but you really don’t feel confident in any of those intervals. It is like sitting in a room where everyone speaks the same language but you. So, you begin to doubt yourself with questions such as “What have I gotten myself into this time?” You go back to your room at the end of a long day, manage to catch some sleep and you’re back early the next morning for more, only this time it is Leadership Fundamentals, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You look forward to the class discussions, sharing your experiences, going through case studies, and it feels “great” because you are in familiar territory. However, it is short lived when you remember that Analytics is next on the timetable and your comfort zone is about to be obliterated yet again. A migraine is beginning to take root, when suddenly, a classmate whispers to you, “I’ve got your back Madonna, don’t worry… We can go through the regression model during coffee break” and just like that, you know that everything will be just fine.

Madonna EMBA student in lecture theatre

That is the beauty of the EMBA programme! The fact that you are pushed to your limits to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday. It is the fact that you are opportune to be amongst a diverse cohort willing to lend a helping hand, sometimes at their inconvenience, simply because they want you to succeed as much as they do, the power of ‘us’. It is becoming part of a truly inspiring and amazing group of individuals (Cheers to my Head of the River team) that give you the confidence to face group challenges head on and bounce ideas back and forth. It is making new friends that you know deep down will occupy lifelong positions in your heart, and finally, it is being comfortable in the fact that you are an introvert from Nigeria who has been given a huge opportunity to learn from the best and a solid platform to empower her community. These are the things that enrich me mentally, socially and academically in the EMBA programme. These are the things that give me the confidence to tackle courses like Analytics, and the audacity to beat my chest and scream “BRING ON THE BUSINESS FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING MODULES” but maybe not so loud.

Madonna Okpaleke

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