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Elesie Ezenwanne

Degree:

EMBA

Location:

Nigeria

Industry:

Energy

Year:

January 2021 - Sept 2023

By Elesie Ezenwanne

The Humans of Cohorts: My True EMBA Experience

In my EMBA application, I was asked what words my close associates and friends would describe me with. My opening line was “Intrepid, Resilient, Innovative, Amazon, Ambitious”. Since commencing the EMBA and e-meeting so many brilliant and interesting people, I have also come to see these attributes in the over 70-member cohort. In hindsight, I would rather have described myself with words that you would typically not find in my CV: Relatedness, Empathetic, Friendliness, Vulnerable, Reflective.

Matriculation Ceremony

Matriculation Ceremony

Relatedness to the stories of strong women shattering bamboo ceilings. You think the glass is hard, try bamboo. This makes you realize the numerous struggles of different cultural groups and why the business school is committed to promoting equality and equity for several disadvantaged groups; one of which includes creating the right structures for women to excel and enrich themselves in their chosen career paths. I’m glad to have been opportune to connect with the many brilliant women.

Empathetic to the journeys and inspiring stories of the people; some who have birthed businesses, watered their seeds, watch their seeds sprout forth, and then at the peak of what seemed like a sustainable business, then came COVID and other factors leading to the loss of an empire of practice. Yet, like a tardigrade, they rise again, bouncing back from the disappointments, to face the challenge head-on.

Friendliness in a virtual world is extremely difficult but the humans make it possible. From reaching out to getting to know cohort members individually to having volunteer tutors, “Billy and The Sherpas” and “virtual office assistants” from within the cohort helping the cohort members navigate through the enormous reading lists and course work; this can only come from a place of belonging and a deep sense of community. Saïd Business School gives us the platform but we, the “Humans of Cohorts” give ourselves the leeway to build connections and friendships through humility and shared interests.

Amidst these attributes, “Intrepid, Resilient, Innovative, Amazon, Ambitious” is a vulnerability that makes one sometimes feel like an impostor. However, that same vulnerability brings out the human in each member. A vulnerability that echoes “I don’t know what I’m doing” and then “I want to know” and lastly, ask for help; that’s the vulnerability that requires support to thrive and excel through a joint coalition of all humans of the Saïd Business School. It is in these moments that one needs to be particularly kind to oneself.

In the words of Issac Newton “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” – The Humans of Cohorts and the Saïd Business School. As I reflect on my virtual Oxford Experience, one thing that has remained is that “Education and exposure have been instrumental in my journey” and truly, I have learned more through interactions. I’m grateful for the new friends and associates of Saïd Business School, the Humans of Cohorts, I have met on this journey. The CVs are great, but the humans are what make our community phenomenal and strong. These are the greatest assets I could have ever asked for and I look forward to physically meeting them all.

Virtual Study Group

Virtual Study Group

Physical EMBA Community

Physical EMBA Community

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