Henning Meyer


Diploma in Global Business


United Kingdom





By Henning Meyer

Why the unique social foundations make the Oxford Diploma in Global Business an outstanding experience

My working life as a public policy expert who straddles public and private consultancy as well as digital publishing involves a lot of writing so I’m generally reluctant to take on any more. Having just returned home to London from my first module of the Oxford Diploma in Global Business, however, I feel compelled to make a rare exception – not least because writing about my experience allows me to relive the exceptional moments I have already experienced in my short stint at Oxford.

I had studied for three Masters – including an MBA – and a PhD at different universities in Germany and London before I came to Oxford and have been pondering what it was that made my first four days in the programme so special. As expected, the teaching quality is second to none and the Said Business School facilities are also world-class. I have also lectured at universities and know how hard it is to deliver what seems like effortless tuition.

But two aspects in particular made this start of a journey so exciting. First of all, it is truly helpful to get away from a bustling metropolis like London every now and then to a place where you find the necessary calm and focus for deep reflection and study in an environment that is uniquely created to facilitate just that. Too often people seem to have very short attention spans as they try to keep abreast of things going on elsewhere. Not so at Oxford. It was frankly a breath of fresh air not to see your classmates on their mobile phones all the time. There was a true feeling of cooperative learning that combined excellent teaching with all participants sharing their diverse experiences. With peers coming from 24 countries and a broad range of industries this was truly illuminating. Every single person had such interesting views to contribute that following events elsewhere would have been a complete waste of time. I usually follow the news very closely and was out of the loop for the whole duration of the module – and loved it!

The second aspect is that this learning environment seamlessly blends into a wider social experience that is rooted in the communal feeling of belonging to Jesus College and building true personal friendships. The reciprocal relationship in which everybody is encouraged to contribute their experience and knowledge to the community while also benefiting from your peers is at the heart of this. I have always thought that of course you make close friends at university – and often you stay friends for life – but that the talk about “creating a family” was a bit of a cliche. This is not the case here. Even after the first few days you already feel a level of bonding that is truly remarkable. For me this was a new experience and has to do both with the people as well as with the environment in which we met.

All of this is of course embedded in the long history of Oxford University as a location and space for excellence in higher education. This adds an historic dimension to the experience and people are proud to be part of this. You could see from simple things – such as buying ties or scarves of the university that we intend to wear at future college dinners – that this dimension also creates a sense of belonging and meaning to people.

I suppose my first small act of giving something back to the community was writing this short article. I hope it conveys the sense that this programme is an opportunity that does not come along very often. I am really looking forward to immersing myself more deeply as we continue to learn with as well as from each other and grow even more together as a group of new Oxonians at Said Business School.

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