Apr 012009

What you learn at Oxford’s Business School

(The most important parts of which they don’t teach you)

In my final set of posts about Oxford, I take a look back, six months out, and reflect on what I learned at Oxford.

I suspect that some of this applies to all business schools, though much of it will certainly only apply to Oxford. I feel very fortunate to have the gall to apply, raw intellect to get in, persistence to succeed, and perhaps the wisdom to let a little of what I’ve learned sink in, not to mention a great heap of humility in the face of so many talented and fascinating classmates.

Business school – like any school – is an experience, not a lesson or a set of skills. If you want to learn the skills of an MBA, you can do it on your own, with books. I’d start with a good micro- and macroeconomics primer, an accounting book, the McKinsey book on valuation, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, and then start working through the Personal MBA.You can teach yourself strategy, operations management, valuation, management, statistics, economics, and marketing all on your own. What you won’t get out of that is the experience of others’ experiences, the network, and the time off/huge student loans. It’s up to you.

Some of what you’ll have the opportunity to learn at Oxford is here. This is beyond all the cool guest lecturers, the Oxford Union, the speakers, conferences, and amazing professors you would encounter there.

This series is all be tagged “Lessons learned” if you want to read all of them.

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