Taking a punt – lessons learned at the end of my EMBA

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Tom Martin (EMBA 2016) reflects on lessons learned and friends made as he nears the end of his Cambridge experience.

We’ve just finished our last lectures and will be graduating in May 2018. Our last afternoon, so fittingly, was spent punting, embarking from the beautiful banks of Darwin College.  However, I’m going to take a punt (British slang) that the lessons from this EMBA will change my life.

Taking a punt… along the River Cam.

More confidence but less ego

The University of Cambridge is a special place steeped in history. Undoubtedly it attracts exceptional people. That history, top quality training and this course, have all combined to give me renewed and uplifted self-belief. I’m so much more confident, accomplished and effective. Yet I’m much more humble and aware of my relative abilities. Someone on the course said, “We don’t need our egos massaging”, and he was spot on. I’ve found my achievements dwarfed by others – and I consider that a great gift! There’s a magic in this course that makes you believe you can change the world, yet still keeping you grounded and humble.

Slowing down time

Juggling the demands of a young family, a challenging day job and an EMBA forces you to use your time wisely. I spent the first few months trying to figure out how to squeeze more from every minute of the day. Wrong answer – I was the archetypal busy fool! The EMBA’s journey of self-discovery and reflection has helped me truly transition. I’ve slowed down, reflect more often, do less, but have a greater impact. This has redefined how I lead, how I spend my time and how I live my life. I was subconsciously sub-competent, now I’m more consciously competent and closer to becoming the best version of me.

“To my new friends… I didn’t expect to find you, but I’m so pleased I have!”

Human touches in a busy and digital age

I’ve not even finished yet and, if I’m honest, I’ve probably already forgotten some of the tools and teaching!  However, what will stay with me, and surpassed my wildest dreams prior to starting the EMBA, are the human connections I’ve made – they are my true treasure from this course, and I want to say why:

To all at Cambridge Judge Business School… you all care beyond what you have to.  All the Professors are incredibly approachable and personable. Great teaching and facilitation, but also so open to taking class and personal conversations a stage further. Everyone at the School takes the time to build relationships and support and care for us. Every detail is thought about – it will never be forgotten and will always be appreciated.

To my classmates… Wow! You are all the most fabulous source of inspiration. Some of you are changing the world. Some of you are redefining industries.  I’m pretty sure all of you have brains twice the size and twice the speed of mine. Some of the stories you’ve shared can still bring a tear to my eye. Some of you save lives, daily. Well, you have all changed my life for the better, today and for years to come.

To my new friends… I didn’t expect to find you, but I’m so pleased I have. You’ve been there for some of the tough times, and seen me at my best and worst.  We’ve worked hard and I’m so proud of what we’ve done together. We’ve shared a few (too many) drinks together, but a load of laughter. You’ve taught me to take myself less seriously and laugh more. Here’s to plenty more good times.

To my boys (aged 1 and 3)… I might have missed some of our Saturday morning football sessions, and been a bit extra grumpy a few nights – sorry! However, I hope this degree, and what I go on to do, inspires you to make this world a better place.

To my wife… thank you for being my rock.  You have held everything together. Here’s to our next chapter.

The last 20 months on this course meant a great deal for me, but the future is going to be even better!

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