Phyuh Hninn Nyein


Diploma in Strategy and Innovation




Social Impact



By Phyuh Hninn Nyein

My experience of the Diploma in Strategy and Innovation

I was travelling around rural Myanmar for 2 months straight before I got onto the plane to UK to attend the Diploma in Strategy and Innovation or DipSI Program. My mind was still focused on work and on Myanmar. It didn’t hit me until Wednesday morning when I showed up on the class that I was in fact already standing on the magical Hogwarts land of Oxford. And that’s when I started feeling worried and not-ready for the program for a few reasons:

“I am in Oxford and Saïd Business School and of course, the coursework is going to grill me, literally.” At that point, my head was already spinning a lot from having gone over the prior reading list a couple of times. If I were to add more to my head in the class, I was so sure that it would explode.

“I am not a business woman.” I work in a non-profit organization and it’s a scary thought that I won’t have a business mindset, especially since strategy is all about winning and about being competitive. I am just not aggressive enough.

“I am relatively young compared to my classmates.” I believed the true value of learning is from connecting the theories you learn in class with experience. I know I will be intellectually capable of challenging Oxford coursework. But being young also means lacking some essential experience and industry knowledge.

I mingled with my DipSI classmates before the classes started and I realized that I wasn’t the only one feeling worried. And of course, after the first module ended, I realized that we didn’t need to worry at all.

Both Professors Pegram Harrison and Chris McKenna structured the lectures and case study discussions in a way to reinforce the understanding of the theoretical frameworks of strategy. It also came evident to me that strategy isn’t just for business or isn’t all about being competitive. Organizations can be cooperative and competitive at the same time, which we call “co-opetitive”. True that I was still shy of experience and industry knowledge, but the point of the programme was sharing lessons learnt among the classmates to widen the knowledge perimeter.

Now that I am back in Myanmar from the first module, I am already hitting roads to meet more farmers. And I can’t help but always thinking of Porter’s 5 forces and core competencies not only just for my organization but also for Myanmar farmers. There is already a huge change in my thinking style just within 2 weeks. I am looking forward to what other modules will bring to me.

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