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Ingrid Laslett

Degree:

Diploma in Global Business

Location:

United States

Industry:

Diplomat

Year:

2019

By Ingrid Laslett

My new reality – The Diploma in Global Business

I could not help but think, as I circled the desks of the Radcliffe Camera to find a free study spot, of those who came before me.  What would I give for some of Tolkien’s creativity, the prescience of Aldous Huxley, the courage of Gertrude Bell, or Oscar Wilde’s wit? Was it enough that I was simply here?  It was.  I could feel the inspiration to grow, learn, and make a mark. The chance to study at Oxford, while working full-time and raising a young family seemed impossibly remote.  I couldn’t help but ask myself how this had become my reality.

First, of course was my supportive husband, who encouraged me to apply. I was tempted by an ad in Foreign Policy magazine for the Diploma in Global Business. It sounded so interesting – global strategy, risk and reputation, corporate diplomacy – all things that as a diplomat and political advisor were core to my work, but to apply them to the business world?

I see now that Business is being looked to more than ever as the cause of, and solution to, many of the world’s problems.  Movement on climate change, cybersecurity and social policy are being led by businesses with a social conscience.  Businesses who want to build a better world for the future, and Oxford’s focus on sustainable business practice is core to that.

The Diploma in Global Business essentially brings all this together and asks important questions. Can money be made responsibly? Can you give back adequately to the communities you’re working in? Can you ensure supply-chain accountability? And what are the tools and ethical business practices to make these possible? That is what this Diploma is challenging us to explore.  As well as business strategies for expansion and developing emerging markets (though I’m yet to begin that module!) we have learnt about the global world order, its challenges and strengths, and how business must adapt locally and yet maintain authenticity.

The complexity of global management is strengthened by the real-world examples, as often from our cohort as our teachers and case studies. With 23 different nationalities, and much wider global work experience, the interjections and examples from my colleagues are illuminating.  Outside the classroom our conversations continue and delve into all subjects – exchanging world views in a respectful way that mean that each and everyone of us has made good friends and connections amongst the group.

In times when news of global tensions, increasing popularism, climate change, and more makes me worry for the future of my young children, I am heartened by finding a place that is genuine about changing the business world for the better. A place that recognizes the key role that businesses have in the livelihoods and life of the planet and that recognizes business as a force for sustainable growth.  A place where each student, from diverse industries, is finding a common language to grow and develop themselves and their work.

I do not know what the future holds, and though Oxford has its fair share of interesting futurists too, I don’t believe anyone can truly predict what lies ahead. I do know that the frameworks, philosophies, and strategies that this diploma has taught me will help me face any eventuality.

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