Diploma in Organisational Leadership
On a bright, blustery Oxfordshire morning with the winter sun bouncing off the distinctive Bath stone and copper-clad spire, I arrived at Said Business School to begin module one of the Oxford Diploma in Organisational Leadership.
Once inside, Said’s West Wing is a combination of beautiful oak-paneled Harvard-style lecture theatres, countless glass walls and large, bright breakout rooms. You could be forgiven for describing our surroundings as more of a retreat than a business school. Oxford of course, know what they’re doing. As I was to find out, this oasis of calm allows for a deeper sense of engagement and focus.
The style of teaching is also impressive with informal, enjoyable and challenging sessions with plenty of time to pick apart case studies in plenary, smaller work groups and even, dare I say it, after hours.
Aside from the learning, we also were offered a packed social agenda with the highlight being our final evening. This included, a tour of Pembroke College and a ceremonious champagne reception (cohorts on the Oxford Diploma receive affiliation and become alumni of a selected Oxford college, in our case Pembroke). We were then led to a dinner in Pembroke’s Formal Hall. In this ornate dining room, clad with portraits of Charles I, Queen Anne and numerous 16th century benefactors of Pembroke, with fine food and conversation, I thought to myself, I’m going to miss this.
Oxford however, do everything in their power to ensure you do not experience withdrawal symptoms. Every cohort on the Oxford Diploma has access to the Bodleian Libraries, common room areas in their respective colleges and study space in the business school for the duration of the course. Fancy rowing with some fellow students? Attending a theatrical performance or watching one of the famous Oxford debates? Or maybe just using their University gym? You can. Oxford do all they can to ensure the experience of studying at one the most prestigious educational establishments in history, is an inclusive and memorable investment. It is no wonder some executive education applicants decide to move to the area for the year of study. Even more notable is most of these aforementioned privileges and affiliations do not expire when you graduate.
However, all of these perks are not what made my first experience at Oxford unique and inspiring. That accolade is reserved for my fellow students and arguably Oxford’s jewel in the crown. After a somewhat rigorous application process, I found myself in a class of 38 highly ambitious, talented, successful leaders, from at least 16 different nations, offering an eclectic mix of roles and industries. The insights, conversations and laughter we all shared were priceless and already stand out as a highlight in my experiences to date. Oxford does really know how to pick them, and encourages a culture of working together and learning from one another.
We arrived as strangers and left as a team, with arrangements made to meet up prior to the next part of the program.
I am thoroughly looking forward to module two, which starts in the Spring, not only to continue to learn and develop as a leader, but to catch up with new friends.Back to top of article