Simona Pigulea


Diploma in Strategy and Innovation


United Kingdom





By Simona Pigulea

Tearing down walls, building perspective

Returning home on Saturday evening from Module 2 of the Diploma in Strategy and Innovation, the adrenaline was starting to slow down from the previous days, but I still had the feeling of awe. Words like “intense”, “challenging”, “life changing” that described the week before were still in my head. We arrived as a cohort to Oxford on Tuesday, and we left as one team, transformed, on Saturday.

The pace of learning began to accelerate two weeks before the exam. A controversial case study created a lot of buzz among all of us. Debates on the study materials, on which angles to take, started to take shape on many digital platforms that connected us. A period of ferment started. Searches for new insights; attempts to get inside the brains of the company and find facts, reasons for previous corporate decisions and to pull together the pieces of the strategy puzzle; articles shared among everybody, videos and talks, researches and analysis. And, to consolidate everything, we formed study groups, joint calls, gave each other homeworks and practiced handwritten timed essays! Needless to say, the pressure was increasing as we got closer to the exam. And so was the collaboration between us.

The day of the exam is probably not one that I will easily forget. It was not only a test of our knowledge from previous Module, but it also gave us an authentic Oxford experience. The gowning up ceremony, the rigorous supervision of the proctors during the exam, the dense atmosphere of the examination room full of hundreds of students – is all a testament of Oxford’s long academic history. Taking part in this experience meant to me a recognition of the deep roots of this institution, and its commitment to shape the future of learning.

Following the exam, we plunged right into the lectures. Module 2 was condensed and rich, to say the least. Marc Ventresca and Victor Seidel put their mark on the way I look at the innovation, new markets, and opened-up a new way of thinking. Every sentence was full of wisdom. Every idea was challenging, provoking, but also extremely refreshing.

What they did during the four days was not just to teach us a class on Innovation. Before anything else, they tore down the walls around the very basic concepts of how companies and economies work, take shape and allow us to see beyond; they stimulated us to be critical on structures, technologies, and to understand the dynamics of the effervescent period that we are all going through. They taught us how to build the future by imagining it. They gave us tools on how to lay-down the stage for a new kind of company that draws its fundamentals and grounds not from the past but from the future.

As I left Module 2, I felt an even deeper appreciation for what Saïd Business School is looking to accomplish with the Diploma. By provoking our thinking, they shape new business concepts and create strong communities that are spread all around the world.

And while the thoughts of the next exam are somehow frightening, I am also thrilled to go through it as part of our larger team.



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