My intention when first becoming a blogger for my EMBA 7 cohort was to get a post up right after Module 1. As you can imagine, after Module 1 and 2 my head was spinning and my ability to put together a proper summary and critical analysis of the modules was not ideal. We had been told by Stephan Chambers on Day 1 that it would take 3 to 4 months to arrive at being match fit.
Not that I ever doubted Stephan but after completing Module 3 last week I definitely feel far more match fit. Allow me to share a few observations, both academic and social. My aim is to provide as much color as possible so that readers can really get a feel and perspective on the EMBA program at Oxford.
In one word, fantastic. There are 37 members of EMBA 7 representing 22 countries. Naturally, the intellect and talent is world class. Many have achieved great things personally and professionally. What is most refreshing though is that everyone is very cooperative and collaborative – I do not detect any attitudes or superiority complexes. Unusual for a group of ‘Type A’ personalities but what I think makes the Oxford EMBA a great experience.
I mentioned the word collaboration and I want to go back and share an observation. All of us in the class come from varied backgrounds and thus different skill sets. What is becoming clear is that most people are perfectly willing to assist you on assignments and lectures if you are struggling. You can be sure that in a future module your skill sets will be called upon by fellow classmates who may lack your skills or insights. A recent conversation I had with an EMBA 6 student highlighted that few if any will get through the EMBA without the assistance of their fellow classmates – it is simply too demanding.
Lastly, in 3 short months the friendships that have formed has been amazing.
This was one of the primary reasons I chose Oxford. I knew I would be able to create a network of friends and colleagues that would last a lifetime and create opportunities. The benefits are already tangible. Myself and two classmates, Jaanus and Sander (both from Estonia) are already tailoring our entrepreneurship project towards creating a new division of my company to do business in Estonia as well as Eastern Europe and Russia. The skill sets that each of us have are unique but fit together quite nicely in terms of creating this division.
City of Oxford:
There is really no need to discuss the attributes of Oxford – the history speaks for itself. However, as part of a demanding EMBA program, it is tough to really experience the city and all it has to offer. We are in class each day from 9 AM and usually head out around 9 PM or later. At most, we might head for a drink to The Oxford Retreat, Living Room or The Honey Pot. You have to make an effort to stay a bit longer to take in all that Oxford has to offer. I have chosen to stay over on each Saturday night in order to take in Oxford. It is amazing how one extra day can make that much of an impact – but it does. Saturdays now consist of a little studying in the AM with sightseeing in the afternoon. A small group of us (roughly eight) go out for dinner on Saturday night. We make a point to get outside the campus limits to truly get a feel for Oxfordshire. Last week we had dinner at The Trout and in February at Gees. Between Sander’s engaging comments on wine selection (he is a sommelier) and Jim’s ‘Peaches & Pits’ exercise, the dinners create an amazing bonding experience.
My intention is to post after each module. This may end up being a bit of a challenge so we will see how it unfolds. It is important for myself and my current EMBA cohort to convey just how solid this EMBA program is. The continued success of the program rests upon attracting the best and brightest talent and by sharing our experiences this should happen. Our thanks go out to the faculty and staff for making it such a unique and powerful experience.
Dave Floyd attends the Executive MBA program at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School. He posts also appear on the EMBA Blog at Said.