Life is all about the journey and our mindset is key – we are all teachers and students

4 minute read

Top of the class

Poets & Quants best and brightest Executive MBA graduates

Raluca is one of the School’s Forté Scholars and is the first Romanian woman to be awarded this scholarship in the Executive MBA programme. Recently completing her Executive MBA, Raluca has been listed in Poets and Quants' Best and brightest Executive MBAs of 2022.

I’m beyond thrilled and humbled to be listed on Poets and Quants. In 24 months with Oxford Saïd, I’ve had a truly global experience, discovering personal stories from inspirational leaders from over 40 countries: anecdotes and lessons that I will treasure forever. This programme has been culturally diverse, highly inspirational, uplifting, and immensely rewarding. I’ve learned a lot and it has reinforced to me that life is all about the journey and our mindset is key – we are all teachers and students. I would like to thank my family for their support, my incredible colleagues for enriching my experience both in and outside of the classroom, our best-in-class professors for rewiring my brain and the entire Oxford ecosystem for treasuring my insights and expertise. At times, they believed in me more than I did.


Why the Oxford Executive MBA?

During the selection process, I looked at top-ten universities and top-ten Executive MBA programmes in the world. From the list, I reached out to three of them for further conversations and I applied to only one: Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. The main reasons are:

  • the diversity of the cohort: Oxford attracts incredible leaders from across the globe and all walks of life, which truly enhances the learning experience, extends perspectives and creates a fantastic network. For example, my cohort, we are 36 nationalities, from 28 different employment sectors and 41% of my classmates are women.

  • the core theme of the Executive MBA programme that matches my aspirations: Entrepreneurial Thinking, Strategic Leadership and Global Complexities and Risk. Peter Drucker mentioned that 'since we live in an age of innovation, a practical education must prepare a person for work that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly defined.' The Oxford experience, truly enhanced new critical ways of thinking and opens new doors of opportunities and impact.

  • the format of the programme and the emotional connections which I have for Oxford. As a teenager in beautiful Romania, I studied English from the Oxford University Press manuals. At that time, Oxford had been perceived to be for elites and fortunate few only. Being mindful of my very humble beginnings (and first generation to go to university), it seemed almost impossible to study there. Little did I know then that indeed: ‘the future belongs to those who dare’.

Proudest achievements during the programme

The quality of the relationships (in the class and outside of the class) which I built with my incredible colleagues in my cohort and across cohorts, are my biggest achievement during the Executive MBA. We all meet people; however forming deep meaningful connections is extremely rewarding.

During the programme, I’ve learned how to push myself and find creative ways to juggle work (and the creation of a new business), courses, and assignments while maintaining a personal life. At times this has proven harder than others, but learning to be vulnerable when struggling has brought me closer to people – both colleagues and friends. The safe space you create when you open up to someone encourages real conversations and understanding, it also teaches you how to lift each other up. Taking the time to understand people, their life stories, what makes them tick is a very rich experience.

I started the programme, having imposter syndrome and these widely successful, yet humble, leaders encouraged me to be unapologetically myself. Letting go of who I think I need to be and just being who I actually am, has been fantastic. As Goethe said, I found 'genius, power and magic' amongst them.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an Executive MBA programme?

Fully commit to the programme. Just attending the classes will not help you to make the most out of the programme. There is a ton of work before and after the class where you can strengthen your knowledge. Also, there are so many extracurricular activities, career support, entrepreneurship initiatives and social events which truly enrich the programme.

Every business school out there will provide a great Executive MBA programme, the question is which one would you like to build a relationship for life with and develop a sense of belonging?

Executive MBA