Tune in every quarter to learn how David Simon, a 53-year-old lawyer from the US, navigates the ancient world of Oxford University in pursuit of an MBA. David is a Partner at the white shoe law firm Foley and Lardner, who has dedicated his career to white collar compliance with a heavy international focus. “My practice touches a lot on some of the sanctions and international trade issues that typically come up on international matters,” he says. In A Yank in Oxford, David and host Tom Fox will talk about what inspired his decision to pursue an Executive MBA, and his hopes for where the journey may lead.



The Concilium Network

Tom asks David to talk about his work as cofounder of the Concilium Network, in particular concerning his practice in India. David responds that Concilium is a tight network of law practitioners from around the world with similar expertise in white collar compliance. They collaborate to handle matters for their clients, and he believes that they are “the best lawyers in this space in the world.” He shares that an Indian colleague and friend co-founded Concilium with him. “We’ve worked together … where we’ve had US clients with matters that have come up in their India subsidiaries, and we’ve gone over to help investigate and remediate the problem and sometimes deal with regulators on their behalf.” Recently, they have started helping Indian companies do business in the US.


Why Oxford?

David has dreamed of studying in the UK since his Pegasus scholarship days at Cambridge. It’s a seed that took 27 years to sprout: he will be joining the Executive MBA program at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School this fall. Tom asks him why this particular program and why now. He responds that he was only interested in programs with a global focus, and Oxford offered the best. “I really wanted to be exposed to the global market, the global economy, global business leaders,” he remarks. “…One of the things I really liked about the Oxford program [was that] it was a really meaty substantial program.” He also appreciates that the program is centrally based rather than itinerant, and that Oxford makes an effort to make students feel part of the university.



Oxford’s Executive MBA program focuses on globalism, entrepreneurship and innovation, and public policy at its core, David tells Tom. These themes resonate with him and are relevant to his personal and professional goals. He shares that he defines success as more than just academic. Ultimately, it’s about the relationships you build. Meeting and bonding with the global community of accomplished persons who make up his cohort, is his number one priority. Tom comments on his decision to continue his law practice full time while he is studying. “How do you hope this academic experience will impact your legal services and perhaps even the firm’s?” Tom asks. It will take a lot of teamwork, but they’ll make it happen, David responds. He sees it as an opportunity to broaden his network, and help business and political leaders achieve their goals. He enjoys being a strategic advisor to his clients, but thinks he needs to expand his knowledge base to be able to speak their language to serve them better. Tom asks him what he is looking forward to the most. He replies, “I love the idea of meeting new people, having an opportunity to do something that’s fairly intense and fairly important and meaningful together and particularly at this stage of life…I’m also most excited about just pushing myself out of my comfort zone.”



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