Diploma in Financial Strategy
Admittedly I have long loved ‘Strategy’. Though I had never formally studied the subject; I was drawn to its wisdom and economics. As a young practising micro-economist, I would read Porters papers in awe. I yearned for that kind of wisdom: that clarity in judgement; that ease in explanation. If only I could touch that moment, then perhaps I’d have a shot at changing the world!
Indeed If you had told me 5 years ago that I might take a course in Strategy at Oxford, only one part would’ve surprised me: “Oxford”. What an honour it is to be here amongst a cohort of talent so talented, I think we scarcely realize just how much energy sits in our lecture room. Collectively, this cohort has the power of the sun.
Nevertheless the combination of Oxford and ‘Strategy’ (Module 1) presents a constraint: it’s just too good a school, too good a subject matter, too good a cohort of peers, and too good a lecturer (and leader) in Tim for just 1 course. Module 1 absolutely flys by; and you can’t help but grumble: “…but we just begun harnessing the power of the sun”.
There is a timeless lesson in it: all good things come to an end. Module 1 is no exception.
Nevertheless, there is also a perpetual gift in Module 1: you get the chance to harness the power of the sun, even if only for that moment. Moreover in that moment, you finally understand and internalize what it means harness the power of the collective. In that moment, you appreciate the value of the ‘bargaining of minds’; you witness the market of ideas. And you leave Module 1 with the memories, lessons (and papers), and confidence to apply “the sun” any day; any time.
Which I did. And continue to do. Perhaps even too much!
Today, years after I first stumbled into Porters’ work as a young economist; his wisdom and clarity is ever more powerful. As I read his papers (in life ‘post-Module 1’) I stop and reflect after each sentence. I apply the wisdom to various experiences in my personal life; in business and in my own startup (my own little solar system).
I can happily report that I received a first round of funding today. I can happily admit, that I was funded on Porter and the collective wisdom imparted on me by my Oxford cohort, and lecturer (in Tim). A new journey; only just beginning: tangible evidence of the perpetual gift of Module 1.
So much more than a course; the value of Strategy is wisdom: a wisdom that (if you are humble enough to embrace) will be continually refined with application, mistakes, learning and re-reading.
Many thanks to my classmates for their collective wisdom (& personal stories). Many thanks to Tim for his leadership and stewardship during the course. And of course, many thanks to Michael Porter, for being a continual source of inspiration for so many years.Back to top of article