Hanif Sangi


Diploma in Organisational Leadership


United States





By Hanif Sangi

A U.S. Army Veteran’s Journey to Saïd Business School

Have you ever sat with leaders from more than 30 countries during a course? Do you know what it is like to visit the prestigious Oxford University? Have you imagined the value a post-graduate diploma at Saïd Business School brings you? Are you a member of the United States Military and wondering if you can attend the prestigious Oxford University using your G.I. Bill educational benefits?

Today I am going to share my experiences from the Saïd Business School’s (SBS) post-graduate Diploma in Organizational Leadership’s Module 1. After attending leadership courses at Cornell, Harvard and Yale, I flew to the historic city of Oxford to start my life-long passion of a leadership learning journey. This relentless pursuit of honing my leadership skills has changed my personal and professional life. It will be unfair if I do not share my thoughts on how my tactical skills have transformed in today’s business arena. Here are some views from the course that I recently attended at Oxford University.

As a result of my honourable service in the United States Army, I earned the educational benefit known as the post 9/11 G.I. Bill. This benefit covers the tuition, books and lodging expenses for the veterans who want to develop their professional skills. I reached out to SBS’s business development office to see if the Postgraduate Diploma in Organizational leadership is an approved program by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the answer was “Yes.” My excitement and journey for SBS started that day.

In February 2018, England broke the records of cold and snow but that didn’t stop the enthusiastic leaders who soared from around the globe to socialize in the evening before the kick off of our 2018-19 cohort. This happy hour was organized by the Saïd Business School’s business development team. It was a great opportunity to meet the majority of the class participants before our official start day.

The next day, we were warmly welcomed by Professor Sue Dopson and her team. The course is designed in such a way that it brings cohort participants four times for four days in Oxford for this astonishing knowledge opportunity. These four days were packed with learning and networking activities. The class of nearly 60 leaders stuck together like superglue throughout the course. During every break and meal, we all engaged each other with the topics of interest. We played games to unpack the complex and challenging situations, and we assessed numerous case studies during our course.

After the four days of leadership union, we moulded regional study clusters. We virtually held study sessions twice a week and took turns to lead the conversation on the topics that were taught during module 1. We taped the sessions and shared other resources for leadership development through our networking social media groups and emails.

I must mention that we have to take an exam when we go back for module 2, this is based on the material we learned during module 1 and the new case study that we have to unpack and answer questions on. In preparation of our exam, we held virtual discussion groups to hone the challenges the case presented before going to the exam hall. This opportunity that we seized, assisted us with taking into consideration different point of views that our multicultural cohort presented.

At the conclusion, I must say that this is the most vibrant cohort of leaders I have ever been a part of. From the logistics of our classes to the warm hospitality of the Oxford faculty, it has opened lots of new doors for us. My LinkedIn connections doubled, and I am more familiar with challenges leaders face and the techniques they apply around the globe to lead complex institutions than ever before. I’m honoured to be part of Saïd Business School at the Oxford University and I can’t wait to go back for module 2.

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