Karen Barker


Diploma in Organisational Leadership




Leadership Development



By Karen Barker

Where were you when you were accepted into Oxford?

I will always remember where I was when I decided to apply to study at Oxford, a bit like remembering what you were doing when the world lost Princess Diana or anyone else of remarkable position and calibre- those significant times in your life when something happens and changes you or your thinking in a way that will never be the same.

That journey I set out on that Sydney spring day was to become a life and career highlight for me and one that will stay with me forever.

The expression of interest in studying the Postgraduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership for 2018 was met with a professional, friendly response from Amy Major who was visiting Sydney at the time recruiting for the Oxford MBA.

Over tea and scones we exchanged information about the glorious Oxford and generally how the programs ran. Amy then put me in touch with Tom Brownrigg who took over the application process seamlessly and put his professional stamp on it.

Fast forward a couple of months to the email arriving congratulating me on being accepted into the Diploma course and it still gives me goosebumps.

Saïd Business School was to become my intermittent home for the next 12 months as my amazing cohort of 64 from 33 countries bonded, with the goal of graduating at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford 2019.

The modules, professors, teaching, content and research was second to none as were the facilities, logistics, support and food!

Professor Sue Dopson Program Director and Deputy Dean ensured our experience was diverse, rich and immersive – we were in the hands of true educators and professionals for the entire Oxford experience.

Study was rigorous, as I had expected, this was Oxford after all so step up or step away, nothing in between. Our class knew this and hence we wrapped ourselves in each other’s knowledge, perspective, experience and intellect- there was no other way to succeed in our opinion.

My weekends became book dates, my drive time became an audible app, my evenings became study calls and my thoughts became powerful. I needed to pass and do this.

Fast forward to year-end and logging into the Oxford portal to see if I had achieved my personal goal of a Distinction – I had! Another day I will forever remember, where I was, who I was with, and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment from the finest learning institution in the world.

I have Oxford to thank for a wonderful new treasure trove of knowledge – a group of magnificent clever humans who I get to call friends and memories that do not need a USB back up.

A rich study journey with people who came together for a short time and ended up creating an impact for a lifetime.

So now off to don my cap and gown.. we have a graduation to attend!

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