This week as an MBA was focused on setting the stage for our year here at the Oxford MBA. We started the week with GOTO (Global Opportunities & Threats at Oxford) a module designed to get us thinking about global scale challenges and how diversely we can start to define them let alone solve them. From the 60M displaced migrants globally, to the shortage and scarcity of water, to the impact of big data on privacy & cybersecurity. This module provides the context for our classes in the broader world and looks like it will be the highlight of our year.
We spent a day hearing from the careers department about various career paths that we can take from our MBA and I got some 1:1 time with a sector advisor to talk through my story and where in marketing I want to end up down the line. We started our lectures in Analytics (really just statistics), Business Finance, and the “Global Rules of the Game” which really was about building coalitions and working within the global legal frameworks of the EU, UN, and US governments, coalitions, and NGOs (I felt right at home).
Lastly this week (and the subject for today’s post) was our days spent looking beyond Money, Blue-chip firms, and Fame at what really drives us. What gets us out of bed in the morning. What our passion truly is and how in looking at our own diverse narratives we can find those things which motivate us. It also was a lesson in unconscious bias and the dangers that lurk there. In talking with our class it received mixed reviews, but for me it was the most powerful session we have had in the past two weeks. Coming from Google my manager and our leadership team focused a lot on similar aspects so much of this wasn’t new, as such it made me truly think about where I stood in the world and what motivated me each day.
Ultimately I came to terms with the fact that “I don’t know” what motivates me. And that that is okay. I’m still looking for my mission, my cause, my quixotic quest. I am definitely motivated by many things (I don’t think anyone who gets into the OxfordMBA program isn’t) but my true motivation eludes me. I spent this week getting to a space in which I am okay with that fact for now.
What is so phenomenal about our program are the people. I said this in an earlier post but after meeting so many of my classmates this is absolutely the truth. I say this because had it not been for a handful of my classmates I would have had a completely lousy week. But we have gotten to know each other well enough that I felt comfortable enough to be vulnerable with a handful, letting them know that I needed help.
It is an incredibly difficult thing to do, ask for help, but in doing so I was able to forge closer relationships with people whom I now know will always have my back. I made myself vulnerable to my classmates in a program known generally for its competitive nature. Instead of using my weakness against me classmates have helped me become stronger.
As I look at our class and the year ahead of us I hope personally to continue making myself real and vulnerable with each and every one of you. I hope that members of the class who are reading this know that I am happy to be a listening ear; a friend who will help in times of need; a part of your support here during our year abroad. In the coming weeks I want to talk more about opening up to others (hopefully with more examples from my own life), but in all reality it is late and I have an Analytics class in a few hours. More to come next week.