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Banker to join galaxy of alumni at Oxford

When Ramesh Subramaniam, Head of South East Asia and India of the ANZ International Banking team receives his postgraduate degree in Financial Strategy from the Oxford University next year, he would be doing proud not only to his family and the country’s largest bank but also to a large circle of his colleagues, friends and associates. For, being selected to pursue one of the most challenging courses at the Oxford University is an honour in itself. Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a centuries-old reputation for outstanding academic achievement. For students, it is a place where you can think rigorously and grow intellectually. Famous students Since its establishment more than 900 years ago, the University has produced some of the most influential and respected people who have changed the world. Some of its most famous alumni of the 20th Century are Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Former Indian, British and Pakistani Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Tony Blair and Benazir Bhutto, Former US President Bill Clinton, Former Pakistani Cricketer Imran Khan, British Writer and Author of ‘Lord of the Rings’ JRR Tolkien, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, British Writer VS Naipaul, Burmese Politician Aung San Suu Kyi and King Abdullah II of Jordan. Childhood dream As a child growing up in Singapore, Mr Subramaniam dreamt of studying at Oxford, a personal goal that motivated him, even when his educational environment was somewhat different. In 2012, encouraged by more than 15 years of experience in the field of finance and continuing ambition, he applied for higher study at Oxford’s prestigious Business School. Admission to the most sought-after institution in the world was tough, requiring applicants to have a good undergraduate degree, write a 1000-word personal statement, provide strong professional references, show work experience in senior roles and attend two phone interviews. When the University, satisfied with his credentials and competence, offered him a placement, he was surprised, although many others, who knew him, were not. Going back to university and getting a postgraduate degree seemed a perfect fit for Mr Subramaniam to progress his career and take the step to broaden his scope of learning within banking and finance. Valuable networking He has learnt over the past year that the Oxford name commands immense respect in the business world. “Attending the prestigious Business School at Oxford has given me the chance to gain exposure to the top ranks of the business world. Besides lectures and get-togethers, we attended regular forums that provided a steady stream of networking opportunities. Best of all was the networking dinner held at one of the colleges of Oxford University each term. These dinners gave me opportunities to meet brilliant business minds from 28 different countries,” he said. According to Mr Subramaniam, studying at Oxford also allowed him to expand his thinking and look at things that impact his business in a global and strategic context. Wealth of Knowledge As well as a high standard of education, the Professors who taught him brought an amazing wealth of experience to the classrooms. “One thing that was really important to me as a developing professional was exposure to people who change your view of the world. It has enabled me to perceive the world through a different lens and understand different levels at which you could operate and have influence. Your unique opinion is really valued at Oxford and this marked a major difference and made it the richest educational experience of my life,” Mr Subramaniam said. “Walking down the streets of Oxford and looking at the amazing architecture all around, there was a spirit in the air – a feeling that you are a part of a long legacy of centuries of academic excellence,” he added. Mr Subramaniam said that he particularly enjoyed dining at the famous Christ Church College Hall, where many of the Harry Potter scenes were filmed. He also enjoyed trying his hand at punting on the rivers around Oxford. Enhanced asset “I encourage anyone going to UK to visit Oxford University and marvel at the architectural wonders,” he said. With his postgraduate qualification providing expertise in strategic management, finance and corporate valuation, Mr Subramaniam would be able to apply his knowledge and expertise directly, enhancing the contribution that he makes to his organisation. For instance, he would now able to help colleagues to understand how financial strategy supports the overall business strategy and objectives of a commercial entity. “I will continue to draw upon the education and experience that I have gained at Oxford to take my career to the highest level”, he said. The above is a slightly modified version of an article that appeared in the Diwali Special of Radio Tarana, released in Auckland on October 19, 2013. .

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