Pulp and Paper
Sep 2018 - May 2020
If you ever considered an MBA, you know the important international rankings (The Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, etc). You also calculated your tuition and living costs, analysed alumni from the schools, read prospects from them, visited a campus, and did everything possible to make the better choice.
My objective is not to give advice on any decision, but to share my experience after the Executive MBA from Oxford, listing 5 items I was not expecting when I made this big choice:
(i) life changes: you always expect that after the MBA you will be one step higher in your career or doing something new that you always dreamed about. You will get that, but you also change your life; several peers moved to another country during the EMBA, others divorced (as myself) and everyone is different somehow from the day this journey started.
(ii) learning between lectures: if you choose one of the top universities in the world, you will have lectures that give a new perspective, with visions that will make you rethink everything you ever learned. Nevertheless, between lectures you will enjoy a cup of tea with other bright minds that will share and discuss a broad sense of subjects, only meaningful conversations that will make you rethink about business, career, and life.
(iii) friendship: I’ve stuttered to write this one, the first time I’ve written network, but it’s more than that. During my EMBA I shared a house and it was a terrific experience, including late-night discussions about next day exam, kebabs and some stories to tell. Not only them, but travelling to several countries with this bright group of people creates a bond that will last for life, and this is something not written in the brochures.
(iv) inner experience: One aspect from Oxford EMBA that attracted me was the schedule for lectures. One-week modules with some weeks back to normal life, and then back again 18 times. This will take you out of your comfort zone once per month for almost 2 years. Full days of lectures and the long commuting, but for sure an inner experience. Stay always from your daily routine, with people with very different backgrounds will make you know yourself better, understand what was your history, and be grateful for your career so far.
(v) COVID: Well, this fits with the title since it was totally unexpected. Anyhow, COVID made us have the last two modules online and required a lot of flexibility from administrative staff. The impact was small, but for sure negative, we lose part of the experience with virtual interaction; maybe in some generations this will be the new standard, but will be necessary more than video and audio to fully substitute a cup of tea.
Therefore, do not make a decision based in rankings and a few superficial aspects, this will be a life-changing experience, embrace it, use your gut feeling and keep your eyes wide open during the journey.
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