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Oxford Summer School - Charlotte's Story

We caught up with Charlotte - Customer Loyalty Manager, one of the Harrods delegates from the 2017 Oxford Summer School programme run at Keeble College in Oxford.This programme is specifically targeted at middle managers with the potential for more complex and demanding roles. An engaging, intensive and inspirational 7-day residential covering People Management, Finance, Marketing, Merchandise and Space Planning, resulting in a City & Guilds accreditation.  The programme also includes psychometric assessments, coaching support, mentoring assignments and the opportunity to be mentored by senior leaders in Harrods.

Charlotte tells us about her unique experience at this programme for leaders in the Retail Industry.

Why Oxford Summer School?

The Oxford Summer School is ideal for those in retail. It was originally designed to give Oxford graduates an overview of what it would be like to work in the industry and has subsequently been going for the past 88 years. When my manager suggested that I go, I saw the benefits immediately; not only of what I could learn and what I could bring back to my department, but also of networking with delegates from other retailers to share best practice. I count myself so lucky to have been able to attend!

How would you sum up the programme for others who may be interested in attending?

A fantastic but intense week of learning the key factors in retail; both lectures and tasks were given to ensure information was digested in a safe environment. In the evening you have the chance to listen and learn from leaders in the industry and network with your fellow delegates. All in one of the most magical environments you can imagine – it’s a win win situation!

"I count myself so lucky to have been able to attend."

Most memorable moment?

There are quite a few but I would probably say practicing for karaoke; it was the start of where my team really bonded – mainly over the fact that none of us could sing! It followed the first really intense day and we were able to let our hair down. We actually ended up coming third (I have no idea how) but the passion for it really brought my group closer together and I will never be able to listen to that song again without thinking of that moment!

Best thing about working at Harrods?

There are so many but I think it is the people who really make working at Harrods special. Different people from all different backgrounds and nationalities, brought together to provide amazing service in the best department store in the world – everyone tries their best for each customer and you learn so much from those around you.

Your top tips for anyone aiming to become a delegate of the Oxford Summer School?

1. You need that time in the bar in the evening to relax and clear your head – it is very intense!

2. Set really clear objectives and make sure you reflect as much as possible during the day to make sure you are achieving them

3. Really push yourself out of your comfort zone – it is all about you, your development and once you let the handbrake off, you learn so much!

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