Chi-Elizabeth Duru




United Kingdom


Energy and Resources



By Chi-Elizabeth Duru

Not to Brag, but Call Me John

On September 17 2018, the very first day of my MBA journey, I met a very impressionable young man, first name John. He was a fellow MBA student in my cohort. Some months later, when our Accounting results were released, he discovered he got a distinction in Accounting and he rushed to share the exciting news on the cohort’s telegram group chat. “Not to brag, but I got the highest mark in Accounting”, said John. Well, you can trust that the group chat of 313 MBA students exploded following his declaration. In addition to the loads of memes that his words inspired, it also started off a conversation on bragging.

As another gentleman in my cohort, Phil, once said to me – “it is all about framing”. Framing is a very powerful tool that can create remarkable transformations. For instance, rather than use the word ‘bragging’, one could replace it with ‘self-commendation’. Whilst bragging connotes negativity and is a slippery road to bluffing, which in itself is unethical, self-commendation is positive because it sermonizes self-esteem. Subsequently, as we end our MBA journey with capstone week upon us, it is definitely time for some self-commendation.

So, the last of the Dean’s List was released last week, and congratulations are in order to my fellow MBA colleagues on the comprehensive list. They shall be receiving commendations from the Dean come Saturday September 7 2019 at the MBA end of course ceremony. Indeed, their outstanding academic achievements deserve such visible commendations. In reflecting on this, I thought of the famous African proverb that says, “A lizard that jumps from an Iroko tree and falls to the ground will praise itself if no one else did”. Basically, the lizard looks left and right, and if no commendation comes its way for achieving such a feat, it nods its head saying, “not to brag, but I did well”. And so, to the rest of us (yes, myself included), who are not on the Dean’s List, I say, “not to brag, but we also did remarkably well”.

In general, this is a congratulatory message to the MBA 2018-19 cohort of the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. We all navigated the fast and furious Michaelmas Term, survived the hellish Hilary Term, witnessed the holy Trinity Term, yet, despite all, didn’t break a sweat during the Summer Term. We, and our loved ones, made financial, physical and emotional sacrifices. As a mother, I particularly commend those of us who are parents; how we managed to study whilst still fulfilling our obligations as parents, juggling between family and studying, is amazing. So, for sure, during these capstone events, when you see me, please call me John.

As we embark into the world with our journey completed, I wish you all huge successes in all your endeavours. And remember, as an Oxford MBA (and Saïd Business School) alumni, it is now in your DNA to conduct business ethically and responsibly – I am speaking directly to yet another gentleman in our cohort, first name Bala (or perhaps, he just might be the most ethical of us).

In all fairness, be beautiful and inspiring leaders, solving world-class problems with your well-earned world-class education (and the bragging continues).
Be well, do good, and please keep in touch!

MBA class of 2018-19

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  • Stuart Grondel

    Really well written! Thoroughly enjoyed this. Good luck post MBA!