Business students with the lofty ambition of creating social change on a global scale may find their pathway a bit easier and less expensive. The University of Oxford’s Saїd Business School now boasts some $11.5 million in scholarship funds for top students enrolling in its unique and highly selective 1+1 MBA program.
The program allows students to pair an Oxford MBA with a one-year master’s degree from another university department. Choices range from computer science and African studies to criminology. Students graduate with two degrees in two years.
The Oxford 1+1 MBA was started in 2012 with the ostensible aim of preparing future business leaders to adapt to an increasingly interdisciplinary world. Saїd Dean Peter Tufano touts the 1+1 MBA program as a pioneering move. “This unique “depth plus breadth” approach will redefine business education and provide a rich and unrivalled learning experience for these strong leaders of the future. The combination of the two spheres of learning and the creative ways in which they will reinforce each other will well-prepare students for successful and impactful careers, addressing the issues that will challenge us far into the future,” he said in a statement.
American hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, donated some $6.9 million to the Oxford 1+1 MBA program under his social investment fund, the Pershing Square Foundation. The University of Oxford pitched in an additional $4.6 million, bringing the total to a whopping $11.5 million. The generous pool will fund the MBA component for five students awarded the prestigious title of Oxford Pershing Square Scholars. This year’s chosen few will join the 1+1 MBA program in the fall of 2014.
Given that Said’s 2013-2014 MBAs forked over some $68,000 in tuition alone, the scholarships will undoubtedly set a handful of students up for a future with less debt and more opportunities. But the process isn’t easy. Students must apply and be accepted to both the MBA and master’s programs to be eligible. Only the top candidates are chosen. According to an Saїd press release, “the selection process will identify candidates who are able to demonstrate, through experience, an aptitude and commitment to addressing global challenges in diverse and innovative ways.”
As to be expected, the dean has big plans for these students. “Our hope is that, over time, the Pershing Square Scholars will grow into a powerful and insightful community, supporting each other to secure social change,” he said in a statement.