Zebelene Wates


Diploma in Financial Strategy




Corporate and International Tax



By Zebelene Wates

What is the Oxford experience?

My journey towards the University of Oxford began in the Southern Hemisphere in the scenic city of Perth, Australia. On a warm January evening in 2018 I boarded a flight to London Heathrow.

After an exhausting over-twenty hour flight, I finally set foot on Oxford ground, excited to have arrived at the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Initially, I had a sense of elation and anxiety as I made my way to the University of Oxford’s business school, Saïd Business School. Upon arrival at Oxford Saïd, I was invited to the School’s club room and there I saw a picture of the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher. While overlooking the magnificent Oxford landscape I engaged in the first of many conversations with fellow classmates from the United Kingdom, United States of America, China, Canada, Russia, Angola, Nigeria, South Korea, Kenya and Kazakhstan.

The diploma

The Oxford Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Financial Strategy delivered a rich academic experience, which is at the heart of Oxford’s distinctive approach. During the course, I was taught by world-leading experts in corporate and business strategy, investment appraisal, capital structure and corporate valuation. This is a carefully organized programme that highlights key areas of financial strategy and guides students in their independent learning. The case study preparations were intellectually challenging and stimulating.

While being awestruck by the architectural symphony of the Radcliffe Camera I understood the fundamental principle of the Oxford educational system. The heart of this experience is to engage in individual reading and study in order to broaden and deepen one’s knowledge. I also interacted with the Student Programme and Services team who provided ongoing academic support for examinations and assignments.

Oxford colleges

While reading the PGDip I was welcomed as an associate member at St Hugh’s College. St Hugh’s became my home away from home, I was offered the opportunity to meet fellow multidisciplinary students and academics and forge lasting connections. The invitation to join the Oxford Union was also a spectacular experience.

The University of Oxford has special and unique traditions which are centuries old, the practice of dining in the Formal Hall of colleges is one such tradition. I was invited to college dinners at Nuffield College, Exter College and Trinity and delighted in camaraderie, discussion and conversation.

Oxford events

I also had the opportunity to attend the Oxford Africa Conference, this is a leading interdisciplinary conference on Africa, hosted by the University of Oxford Africa Society. The heads of state, policy makers, business leaders and academics from all different part of the world created a robust and stimulating environment, which will forever be entrenched in my memory.

So, what is the Oxford experience?

Is it the academic excellence taught by the leading minds of the world, perhaps meeting exceptional people at Rhodes House or listening to Founder and Chairman of the Africa Initiative for Governance, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, talk about his courageous initiatives associated with Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. From my Oxford experience, I believe the pulsating heart of this unique and historic institution rests in its maxim Dominus illuminatio mea. This maxim is entrenched in the tapestry of it’s academic, intellectual and social fabric.

Personally, I have experienced academic excellence and the conviction to adopt Dominus illuminatio mea as the foundation of my character.

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