Danielle Pierson




United States





By Danielle Pierson

The possibilities of transformation go well beyond rhetoric into a quite possible reality.

About Me: My name is Danielle Pierson. I am an American, but have been living in the UK for almost 2 years now. I am 31 years old, married, and have a 3-year old daughter. My career to this point has been in the public and non-profit sectors, focusing on international business – import/export in a nutshell.  As are my colleagues, I am thrilled about the opportunities that lie before me. I’m looking forward to learning from esteemed professors and brilliant classmates, breaking down weaknesses and building strengths, and stretching myself to think more critically. My daughter has come to Oxford with me while my husband is serving in a combat zone overseas with the U.S. Armed Forces.

The MBA Launch: For my 3-year old daughter’s birthday, just days before the start of the MBA Launch, she and I walked in the footprints of dinosaurs at the Oxford University Natural History Museum. A few days later, I began a journey of walking in the footsteps of equally awe-inspiring beings. From stepping foot in the Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre, which Mandela himself opened in 2002, we Said Business School students heard from a number of accomplished, charismatic speakers. We were welcomed by Dean Peter Tufano who challenged us to embody responsible leadership and tackle world-scale problems. We heard from Dr. Kurt April, whose childhood was marred by apartheid. We listened to Clara Durodié, an SBS alumna who completed the program as a single mother 18 years ago.  Each word spoken emboldened me for the challenge of the year and everything that lies beyond, and, at the same time, grounded me. The speakers forced us to put our own lives and values in perspective. I have no illusions that this year will be easy. It will push me academically, make me prioritize what gets my time, and will be physically and emotionally draining. I have the added challenge of doing the program essentially as a single mother while my husband serves in a combat zone overseas, but these speakers reminded me that I am very lucky to have this opportunity – this power – to improve myself and that with great power comes great responsibility. This year of promise is tremendous power. We have a year to reflect, to question, to challenge, and to transform ourselves and the world around us. Considering that our class is comprised of citizens from 44 different countries, the possibilities of transformation go well beyond rhetoric into a quite possible reality. The Launch was full of emboldening, insightful workshops, presenters, and tasks. It was exhausting and empowering. Now we are launched and ready to take on the challenges ahead. Cheers to a great start!

Academic Highlight of the Fortnight: Listening to Dr. Kurt April’s inspiring life story of growing up in Apartheid South Africa

Oxford Highlight of the Fortnight: drinking wine among the dinosaurs at the Oxford University Natural History Museum (no 3-year olds this time!)

Oxford University Highlight of the Fortnight: Being whisked into Hogwarts through my first college dinner at Keble College

Practical Tip of the Fortnight: Register with a GP as soon as you arrive in Oxford!  My throat started swelling the first day of Launch and I had almost completely lost my voice by Thursday. The bug most likely came from starting my daughter in a new nursery. Even if you don’t have children, chances are that your classmates do, so no one is immune.  My apologies to any classmates that subsequently caught the bug!

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