Last year, I took on new duties in my role at BSG to develop an alumni relations programme and ensure that the School brings to life its vision of creating a life-long global community of peers. Now working at the bookends of the student cycle – from overseeing admissions to managing alumni relations – I particularly enjoy all the different ways to engage with our brilliant students, watch friendships spark and grow, help people stay connected, and be part of the opportunity to build something special.
I think the students themselves say it best about what it’s like to be part of BSG. Look at some of these tweet-style reflections from the Class of 2013, written for their alumni event in November:
“Started with apprehension, continued with vigor and ended with optimism; for me the BSG stint was like a fast & efficient pit-stop of a F1 car” – Manjit
“Humbling, enriching, fast, dense, testing, galvanising, transitory, everlasting. 60 changemakers, one vision, a new home. This is my MPP.” – Leonardo
“My time at BSG felt like a lifetime of policy experiences piled into one year. I came passionate about policymaking and I left ready to engage in policymaking” – Javier
“MPP experience: Feeling enlightened via day-to-day conversations w/ friends @ pubs, dining tables & while lining up for a Olives’ baguette.“ – James Chan
“I left Oxford convinced that it is its students, specifically those who lead their lives with Socratic questioning, that make Oxford what it is. #oxfordlife” – Hala
“Oxford, a place to aspire to and to inspire. The more you try to anticipate about it, the more it will manage to surprise you. Feeling thankful to BSG for an amazing year!” – Tatianna
“I hoped to acquire at Oxford: Didn’t #britishaccent #drinkingcapacity #adaptabilitytorain. Did #workunderpressure #expandedhorizons #incrediblefriends.” – Neta
“Late nights on St. Cross Road, two weddings and a crazy India trip = Desi Pyaar” – Vrinda, Lekha and Mehreen.
“The MPP was a great learning experience both in terms of academics and social exposure. Most importantly, it helped me make new friends all across the world” – Rafi
I particularly love this poem, written by Aaron Maniam, who couldn’t attend the alumni event but wanted to share his memory of experiences with his classmates:
Oxford, 21 June 2014
The longest day of the year
Was when our goodbyes began:
Timid, tentative tries at severing
Threads that barely a year had started
To solder. Did we know we had
The gift of time that night?
Dinner sprawled like an old friend
On an armchair, propped by
Inside jokes and the silent disco.
(I think we always knew we
Danced to our own music.)
We left St Anne’s like the day
Left the sky: a lingering glow, so gentle
I doubt any of us could have said
When the dark became complete.
We had many more goodbyes afterwards:
Summer flares, flames, even fireworks
Before we sought new illumination.
Yet even now, half a world since,
In my country of diurnal symmetry,
I feel the reach of that day’s length:
How close we found ourselves
To an evening without end …
Its echoes’ cheerful flickering
Reminders that it takes more than
Distance, time or dark
To quell the light of a year.
What’s next for graduates from the MPP class of 2013 varies. Many have begun new positions, some have returned to their positions in public service whilst others are continuing with further study. What is evident is that the MPP class is a very close and tightly knit peer group, which makes one aspect of my job quite an easy one!
From day one on a BSG programme students become lifelong members of the BSG community. Our alumni stay connected with us and each other via social media, organised social gatherings (also involving faculty and current students) and professional development seminars and events.
Our 100 alumni are a small group compared with more established institutions. But they have a huge impact on BSG. They are our best ambassadors, they encourage collaborations, they are recruiting their future peers, and are both offering skills sharing sessions to current students and participating in BSG events. All of which we are eternally grateful for! We now look forward to watching this engaging and strong community grow in the years to come and to tracking their contributions to a world better led, better governed and better served.