DIPLOMA IN FINANCIAL STRATEGY: PWC SCHOLARSHIP

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1 DIPLOMA IN FINANCIAL STRATEGY: PWC SCHOLARSHIP EDUCATING LEADERS FOR 800 YEARS

2 OXFORD DIPLOMA IN FINANCIAL STRATEGY The Oxford Diploma in Financial Strategy is a postgraduate qualification for experienced finance practitioners and senior managers. It provides expertise in finance, strategy and corporate valuation and is a unique opportunity to broaden and enhance skills while gaining an Oxford qualification. The Diploma programme is rigorous, intellectually challenging and complements existing qualifications. Tuition is based around four fast-moving modules of four days each, led by leading experts in strategic management, finance and corporate valuation. The Diploma is taken alongside a senior level role and the project report allows participants to apply the concepts directly to their organisations. Participants learn as part of a highly experienced and qualified group from across the globe. They represent all industry and public sectors, and range from independent specialist consultancies, medium-sized businesses, to multinational corporations and financial institutions. The unique group offers an unparalleled opportunity for peer-to-peer learning, high level discussion and international networking. WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The programme is for finance professionals with relevant qualifications and over five years experience. It is regularly attended by: Finance directors, financial controllers and finance managers from all sectors Investment analysts and managers from financial services firms Product or regional managers from investment banks Consultants, associates and partners from professional services firms WHAT WILL YOU GAIN? Expert knowledge and skill in corporate strategy, finance and valuation Four intensive short modules of teaching from Oxford faculty Global perspective and networking opportunities A postgraduate finance qualification from the University of Oxford Visit to find out more and apply today. 02 PWC SCHOLARSHIP

3 PWC SCHOLARSHIP PwC is among the largest professional services firms in the world. It is committed to encouraging diversity in the workplace and invests at the forefront of campaigns to encourage women executives to reach the highest levels in their organisations. The PwC Scholarship is designed to aid the progression of talented women into senior finance roles. One Scholarship place, covering the full tuition fees, is awarded to an outstanding female candidate each year. The PwC Scholarship is open to all female candidates, regardless of the sector in which they work. To be considered for the PwC Scholarship you must: Be female Be a citizen or permanent resident of the EU Have been accepted onto the Oxford Diploma in Financial Strategy Be self-funding Candidates wishing to be considered for the PwC Scholarship should include an additional statement of up to 500 words, explaining how the Diploma will help their career and personal development, with their application. PwC is delighted to support the Oxford Diploma in Financial Strategy with an annual scholarship for an outstanding female candidate. This is one of a number of initiatives we are involved with, internally and externally, aimed at ensuring that a greater number of talented women progress their careers to senior roles. For us, diversity is a business priority; in the increasingly competitive global marketplace it is essential that we have the broadest possible range of skills, knowledge and capabilities that can only be delivered by a talented workforce drawn from a rich variety of backgrounds and experiences. SARAH CHURCHMAN Head of Diversity & Inclusion, PwC 03

4 The Diploma in Financial Strategy helped me develop well thought-through arguments and led to a fantastic promotion. HAYLEY ROCKS, EXECUTIVE ADVISOR, KPMG ADVISORY THE NEXT STEP: HAYLEY ROCKS Hayley was the first business woman to be awarded the PwC Diploma in Financial Strategy and graduated in 2008 with a Distinction. Shortly afterwards she was promoted to director level. WHY DID YOU APPLY FOR THE PWC SCHOLARSHIP? I left school at 16 and, although I have got my accountancy qualifications, I was keen to continue academic education and take my career to the next level. I considered doing an MBA but the Oxford Diploma in Financial Strategy seemed more manageable. It struck me as being similar to an MBA whilst focusing on the areas I was most interested in and which were relevant to my line of work. So when I saw the PwC Scholarship advertised on the BT intranet I applied. My CV showed that I was progressing in my career and had clear goals. My enthusiasm to do the Diploma obviously came across. I was amazed and proud to be awarded the Scholarship. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE CONTENT? I liked the fact that it delved into the complexities of strategy and other business issues without being too specialist in one area giving it plenty of breadth. Also, whilst it gave a holistic business perspective it also recognised that we are financial experts and that it was finance that we wanted to build on. The tutors were of the world-class standard that you would expect from Oxford, bringing a good mix of academic and real world knowledge. They were committed to bringing the content alive and encouraging everyone to participate. We were a challenging group who queried and didn t just accept a major benefit of more mature learning. And the lecturers certainly held their own, making for a very fulfilling learning experience. WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO GET FROM THE EXPERIENCE? I wanted to be involved in the long-term growth of BT and knew that I needed to be able to ask the right questions. I already had plenty of hands-on finance experience, so my goal was to learn to think more strategically, to get more insight into financial structures and how they fit into the bigger picture. Having only ever worked in the telecoms industry, I was keen to learn from participants from different sectors. WHAT DID YOU LEARN? Many new skills, such as cross-functional insights, strategic models, and techniques for assessing the marketplace. It gave me a structure and focus for identifying and managing business opportunities. For example, at the time of the Diploma I was working on a bid at BT. I was able to discuss it with my classmates, to get other people s views on whether we were 04 PWC SCHOLARSHIP

5 constraining ourselves by not making certain investments. Back at work I was able to then give a well thought-through argument for the next steps to take. I learnt a great deal from the other 40 people in the group. We came from such a variety of industries. The perspectives that you naturally get from such a diversity of cultures and seniority levels was of tremendous value. In between modules, we often met up and studied together which was very useful. HOW HAS YOUR CAREER CHANGED AS A RESULT OF THE DIPLOMA? When I was awarded the Scholarship I received a note of congratulations from BT s CFO. A promotion opportunity came up pretty quickly and during the interview I was able to talk about the Diploma and the skills I could bring to the new role as a result. I got the job and became responsible for the financial aspects of one of BT s largest contracts. I manage ten people. I am now more focused on my own development and encourage others to do the same. It s worth the investment in time for the reward at the end. I was thrilled to get my Distinction, and the graduation was a memorable day! WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU PASS ON TO ANYONE INTERESTED? The Diploma in Financial Strategy is for women in a finance role looking to move their finance career forwards into a more general business or strategic direction. Also anyone wanting to gain different perspectives and broaden their general business knowledge. You have to be very disciplined and allocate time for the Diploma. When you are at Oxford it s essential to switch off from work and give the Diploma your full attention. I cleared the decks before each of the week-long residential courses at Oxford. Even if I had paid for it myself, it would have definitely been worth it. It looks impressive on your CV and employers value people who take on new challenges. During the interview I was able to talk about the Diploma and the skills I could bring to the new role as a result. I got the job and became responsible for the financial aspects of one of BT s largest contracts. 05

6 I now think about the wider organisational context, so my advice is more commercial and ultimately more useful for the business. VICTORIA CORNISH, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL INTERNAL AUDIT & COMPLIANCE, LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT THE NEXT STEP: VICTORIA CORNISH Vicky was awarded the PwC Scholarship for the Oxford Diploma in Financial Strategy in Despite initial fears that she wouldn t be up to it, she graduated in May 2010 with a Distinction and came top of the class. WHY DID YOU APPLY FOR PWC S SCHOLARSHIP FOR THE OXFORD DIPLOMA IN FINANCIAL STRATEGY? I was very keen to do the Diploma but unfortunately my company couldn t cover the full cost and it would have been a big struggle to fund it myself. WHY DID THE DIPLOMA INTEREST YOU? For two reasons, I enjoy studying and it had been a few years since I sat my Chartered Accountancy exams so I wanted to get my brain back in gear. I also saw the Diploma as an opportunity to get to the next step in my career; from that of accountant and auditor to a more operational role involving looking at the bigger picture and shaping the corporate strategy. I knew that the Diploma would give me that all important broader perspective. HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE OFFERED THE SCHOLARSHIP? I was over the moon. I was desperate to do the Diploma and worried that I couldn t afford it, so it was the best news possible. Live Nation was delighted and has since publicised my achievement in the company magazine. I was, however, worried about how I would fit it in with work and personal commitments. The job titles of the other participants were also pretty daunting. I was concerned that at 29, I would be too young. Would I be able to keep up with these brilliant minds? But I injected much time and effort into the Diploma and ended up coming top of the class so hopefully that indicates that the Scholarship went to the right person! WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE DIPLOMA? The four separate weeks at Oxford were very intense. We studied all day, every day. But it was lively, enjoyable and flowed well. I immersed myself in study, which was wonderful. Everyone in my department knew that for those weeks, study was my focus. The content was interesting and taught exceptionally well. The professors were excellent at picking up on streams of conversation and thought patterns, honing in and developing ideas whilst keeping the end learning goals in mind. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT? I wrote my 12,000-word industry thesis on How Live Nation can better integrate its acquisitions. I chose this topic because the merger with Ticketmaster was on the cards and I thought my research would therefore be beneficial and timely. The merger was actually announced the day before I submitted the 06 PWC SCHOLARSHIP

7 thesis. I got a Distinction and the work has been read by many people at Live Nation. The process of researching and writing the thesis has put me in a good position for giving advice and sharing best practice across the organisation. I also learnt a great deal from my fellow classmates who came from a staggering 18 different countries! It was unbeatable in terms of the wealth of experience and the tutors had a real talent for drawing out the best from everyone. We still meet up regularly, often for alumni events such as debates in London. Overall, I now think about the wider organisational context, so my advice is more commercial and ultimately more useful for the business. HOW HAS YOUR CAREER CHANGED AS A RESULT OF THE DIPLOMA? I have been promoted twice since taking the Diploma and now head up the International Internal Audit Department, managing a team of seven people. It was partly timing, but having the Diploma certainly helped prove I was capable to take on this new role. More long term I would like to work towards a role in the corporate strategy function of the business. The Diploma has given me the skills necessary to do this and has given me tremendous confidence and assurance that I can hold my own and provide useful business insight. It s a tough market out there and the Diploma is certainly a door opener. As well as having the academic pedigree of Oxford, it s a very commercial programme the diversity of the participants, and the expertise of the professors mean that it s tuned into real life. WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD APPLY FOR THE PWC SCHOLARSHIP? The Scholarship is designed to help promote females into senior management. If you re a finance professional who enjoys learning and can put in the time and effort required, it can help you make the leap into a more strategic, challenging role. 07

8 Saïd Business School University of Oxford Executive Education Centre Egrove Park Oxford OX1 5NY United Kingdom Steve Brewster Tel: +44 (0) SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL The Saïd Business School is one of Europe s youngest and most entrepreneurial business schools. An integral part of The University of Oxford, the School embodies the academic rigour and forward thinking that has made Oxford a world leader in education. The School is dedicated to developing a new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs and conducting research not only into the nature of business, but the connections between business and the wider world. TAUGHT PROGRAMMES Diploma in Financial Strategy Diploma in Global Business Diploma in Organisational Leadership Diploma in Strategy and Innovation Executive MBA MBA MSc in Financial Economics MSc in Major Programme Management RESEARCH PROGRAMMES DPhil Programme EXECUTIVE EDUCATION General Management The Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme The Oxford Management Acceleration Programme Leadership The Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme The Oxford High Performance Leadership Programme What Next? For leaders with more to offer The Oxford Programme on Negotiation Strategy and Change The Oxford Scenarios Programme Consulting and Coaching for Change The CIO Academy Finance The Oxford Finance Programme for Senior Executives The Oxford Global Investment Risk Management Programme The Oxford Private Equity Programme The Oxford Private Equity Programme in China Custom Programmes 2011 SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL. PHOTOGRAPHY BY GREG SMOLONSKI [

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