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Neelima Fernandes

Degree:

Diploma in Strategy and Innovation

Location:

United Kingdom

Industry:

Finance

Year:

2015

By Neelima Fernandes

Full steam ahead…

End of module four of the Diploma in Strategy and Innovation, as we learnt, paved the way for newer beginnings. The fact that we all have been through a few exams and 4 modules seems unreal. My thoughts about this programme at the beginning of these modules were quite different to what they are at this very moment, as I wrap up from my week in Oxford and return home.

We were a massive group that came together for this programme but turned out to bond effortlessly as a team. We managed to invent methodical ways to approach study sessions in order to derive the best from it.

We’ve all made promises to be in touch but the reality is that life and its mundane activities leave us little time to live up to all of those commitments. We may stay in touch in smaller groups but to come back together as a class may be something to ponder about in the longer run. Nevertheless, the experiences we’ve been through since the beginning of this year, are nothing short of spectacular.

Going back a step, my first impressions of this cohort is what drew me back to the latter modules with greater curiosity and interest levels. Although the group is made up of various levels of experiences, its the intellectually stimulating conversations that kept us going throughout this year. We started off with Module 1 being fairly intensive in terms of models and frameworks that we were expected to comprehend, followed by module 2 which became even more interesting and that’s when the mystery of this programme began to unfold. Where we were getting used to listening to professors most of the time, it became evident that it was the interactive sessions that made these lectures come alive.

That is precisely what Oxford creates. It creates the right learning environment, it makes students draw on each other’s experiences, leverage on each other’s knowledge, makes us trust and mutually respect each other in a controlled environment. In reality, it allows us to adopt a set of behaviours that are strongly attributed to the university and the brand associated with it. Each and every one of us in this cohort is an accomplished person in the business world even before we stepped into this university. Oxford simply showed us a better way of doing things and offered a lateral thought process, which could potentially contribute to pivotal changes in our lives. Our quest for the holy grail doesn’t end here :).

When you come into contact with so many like minded people and hear about the fantastic achievements in each ones’ lives, it gives you a sense of pride that you belong to a group of high achievers, who not only spent most part of their lives working hard and getting to where they currently are but also now want to invest their time in learning new concepts. As one member of our cohort rightly said; “what we studied back in our university days was deemed good enough up until this point. Its now time to rethink, reconsider options, look at things with a fresh perspective”. Well that’s how we all thought anyway and that’s probably why we all enrolled ourselves on to this programme.

Each member of this cohort brought a behavioural trait that was admired by another member….some of us stood out as exceptional public speakers, some of us contributed immensely to the lecture sessions, some of us analysed case studies to the nth degree leaving no stone unturned (and also were kind enough to share it with the rest of the group), some of us had energy levels that motivated the rest of the team, some of us were so positive throughout the course that it became a formidable task for the rest of us to think negatively, some of us livened up those dull moments that existed between modules (times when we braced ourselves for the upcoming exam) by sharing their humorous thoughts on the course and some of us simply set the scene for social activities after modules, keeping the momentum and the adrenalin levels at the optimum….although essential, it heavily attributed to some amount of sleep deprivation…and guess what, nobody minded that. Its an Oxford thing I suppose :). There was so much going on around us and we had so many ideas to share amongst us, that sleep was considered an overrated element of these modules.

We as a cohort may have even invented a next-gen chemical solution (also known as the Dipsi shot 🙂 that takes your mind off exams and studies. It is currently being tested by the cohort. We test it every module after lectures, usually in an environment that is conducive to such testing, away from the business school and the lecture theatre. This is a mundane activity, which is expected to yield meaningful results for future projections on it’s success rate. We are yet to draw and present our conclusions based on this “deep dive” analysis.

Having completed all the lectures associated with this programme, it is time for us to regroup our thoughts and think about the dissertation and next steps in life. Although, some exceptional members of the group have already been recognised for their brilliant performances at work already. We have Asia’s most influential CMO, Britain’s top businesswoman (35 under 35), a chairman of an innovation fund who set a challenge for the cohort and helped raise $24,000 for Nepal’s earthquake relief fund, a member who made a difference to the flood relief operations in Myanmar, a member of the group who went up the ladder to become an Area Director and many more success stories (apologies if I haven’t included all).

What is so exceptional about this group is the energy levels, the willingness to help each other out, irrespective of whether they are associated with that particular line of work and the special bond that the group shares. The people we elected as class representatives probably reflects on what an incredibly talented group this really is. High achievers, high standards, great ambitions but a modest demeanour along with a kind attitude, is probably the best way to describe members of this group. Bold, Bright and Beautiful Dipsis 2015!

As we approach the fag end to this beautiful journey, memories is all we have to reminisce about. Armed with strong Oxfordian values and deeply inscribed memories with the cohort, I step back into the Corporate world feeling stronger, brighter and full of hope and aspirations. Until we meet again for graduation day in October 2016, au revoir my peeps! As the saying goes (coined by our very own Canadian prof), may the force of the Dipsis be with you all” ( I’d patent that before it goes viral :)!

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