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Justin Saia

Degree:

Diploma in Strategy and Innovation

Location:

United States

Industry:

Cyber Security

Year:

2016

By Justin Saia

Exam Preparation

Here we are – exactly two weeks from sitting for formal exams at The Examination Schools of the University of Oxford. It seems like time has whisked by since I was last there in mid-February. Taking a two-week hiatus from my studies following return from residency at Oxford, may not have not have been the best course of action, so admittedly I’m feeling a bit of trepidation at the moment.

While I’m understandably apprehensive about the fast approaching examinations, I’m eager for a return trip to the City of Dreaming Spires. I look forward to catching up with my classmates over a pint at Oxford’s beloved medieval pubs, partaking in a favorite Oxford pastime – punting, and studying at the world-famous Bodleian Library. Upon my first visit, I stayed at a quaint boutique hotel, The Vanbrugh House, with roots dating back to the 18th century. I’m opting for more of a local flavor this time around, as I rented a traditional British flat neighboring the partly ruined medieval Oxford Castle. My stay is a bit longer this time, so it will be nice to have some extra space to stretch out and added creature comforts like central heating.

Despite successfully navigating Contemporary Strategy Analysis by Grant, along with the collection of 20 cases, readings, and articles from the initial Strategy as Position module, I’ve since been totally inundated with two abundantly long books,  Winning Through Innovation and The Evolution of New Markets, and another arrangement of 20+ cases, readings, and articles for the upcoming Innovation Strategy module. While I’m finally through all the compulsory reading and undeniably knackered, I’ll get a glimpse of the examination case study in the coming days and my attention will move swiftly to exam preparation.

Adding to my general stress and anxiety, formal examinations will be accompanied by the usual pomp and circumstance that is uniquely Oxford; the centuries-old tradition of wearing formal academic dress, known as subfusc, complete with mortar boards, gowns and bow ties. The Oxford student body actually voted overwhelmingly in favor of preserving this time honored tradition last year in a referendum vote.

As time between modules labors on and the stack of reading materials grows perpetually larger, I find daily motivation and encouragement in the array of LinkedIn invites, WhatsApp messages, and emails from my new academic family situated in time zones across the globe. It seems that no matter how early or late I’m up studying, one of my classmates is invariably available to lend a helping hand. I continue to be gobsmacked by my classmates’ uncanny ability to juggle anything and everything that comes their way. The key to successfully navigating this program is undoubtedly time management. With work as a management consultant unremitting and responsibilities as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University heating up for the spring semester, I may be pushed to explore my upper limits despite my usual proclivity to keep a hundred balls in the air at one time.

Anyways, I’m off to Bedfordshire!

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