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Joahna Kuiper

Degree:

Diploma in Strategy and Innovation

Location:

United States

Industry:

Technology, Media, and Telecommunications

Year:

2017

By Joahna Kuiper

From the classroom

I am not the best planner. I probably shouldn’t start a post with that level of honesty, but I say so in the hope that you will relate if you also lack typical adult-level planning skills… That said, perhaps you won’t be surprised when I say, I wasn’t looking for a specific degree when I applied to Saïd Business School. Truthfully, I think I was just a bit restless and had come to a point where, while still testing my ideas professionally, I also wanted a different, intellectual challenge. University seemed a good way to expand.

I had taken a rather long road in getting my undergrad degree, and changed my major four or five times, dropping out and starting up at another school every few years or so. I don’t recommend this path – it is quite expensive and while I had the opportunity to learn from institutions and instructors with different values and credentials and styles, which had a certain value, I never spent long enough in one subject to develop real depth of scholarship. I knew I wanted that depth this time around, but I also work quite a bit and wouldn’t be taking time away from my career to attend school. So, the school that I attended this time needed to be academically superior.

When I learned of Oxford’s diploma programs, they seemed the perfect fit: Some onsite class time, quite a bit of independent study, multiple professors with extensive academic and professional experience, the wisdom of an incredibly diverse cohort of classmates, and the inspirational history and resources that make up the Oxford University experience. When I was accepted, I couldn’t have been more excited.

Three weeks ago, school began. It was overwhelming to sit in a room with peers who span so many industries and cultures, and who have such breadth of experience. Our cohort bonded quite immediately, and I expect some of the friendships I make here will last the rest of my life (we already have plans for many of the US students to meet up between the weeks spent in Oxford). The depth of conversation from the classroom to the bar has been enriching. I am already inspired to take new tools and levels of understanding back to the clients with whom I work.

Inside the walls of my employer, I am asking slightly new questions of my peers and my leadership – questions I’d perhaps always asked, but already with an adjusted perspective on why and what value the discussion around the questions brings to our work. My professional conversations are subtly underpinned with a viewpoint that has been broadened by the case studies, methodologies, and assignments from a mere four days of class time.

I thought when I was accepted to Saïd that I couldn’t be more excited. I was wrong. I realize, a month into studies, that I am more excited now. I have stumbled into a vast opportunity that goes beyond the credits I will earn and the syllabus of the program. You often hear that an experience is both what you are given and how you approach it: You get out of it what you put into it. So far, this experience is exponential in that way. Not only will I get what I put in, but I will reap the benefit of the efforts of my cohort as well. And even I can plan to make the most of that.

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