Naiole Cohen Dos Santos


Diploma in Financial Strategy







By Naiole Cohen Dos Santos

At the end of the day it is all about the people

The entire class passed Module I, Strategy, which lifted the spirits and energy for Module II on Business Finance. Module II looked scary at first with equations, formulas and greek letters, and the idea of doing it with a simple calculator and no excel, well… seemed even scarier.

Of course, we all knew that finance was about numbers, but going back to a simple calculator was a daunting and funny experience, especially for many like me that have not been in such a position for a very loooong time!

The classes ended up being dynamic, interactive and with a lot to laugh about. A brilliant Oxford Professor Ilaria Piatti of Business Finance made a complex subject understandable and easy to follow for “poets” like me. Subjects such as capital structure and Miller and Modigliani propositions are indeed at the end of the day, expressions of how people relate in business and so is the Risk and Return theory.

Forever grateful to Ilaria!

The availability of professors in case of need and the camaraderie among the class was one proof that it is about people. The Exam results on Module II were not so successful for everyone, but did not diminish the excitement and positive energy to face Module III on Merger and Acquisitions, not only because of the specialty itself but also because of the special British weather that blessed the class with a great week of sunshine.

We came home with our heads bursting with ideas, questions and a certainty that we needed to study, to read and to interact. The preparation for the exam on Module III strengthened the friendship. Amazing is definitely not enough to describe this class of professionals. Module IV on valuation blew our minds in a superb way. Professor Han Ozsoylev glued business finance with strategy in thorough and clear example sessions. Consequently, each time he asked for an additional 5 minutes, we wanted him to take 15. He lightened the desire to listen more and more.

As we got close to this 4th round I was genuinely surprised, by the invitation of the Marketing Manager of the Executive Degree Programs Alison Hill.

She sent me an invitation to talk in an interview for Saïd Business School about my experience throughout this journey.  I couldn’t be more honoured and privileged about it. One of the question was “How I balanced the work and family variables?” This is a XXI century question to all of us. My answer was and is “we did not balance … we do our best every day”. It is not easy, it is all about the best mix of stress and genuine happiness as we progress. The question for me would read “is all the struggle worth it?” Ohhh yess! I would start all over again, with no hesitation because at the end of the day it is all about the people and for the people that we work and live.

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