Oxford Joins Global Network Of B-Schools

Saïd Business School at Oxford University

Saïd Business School Dean Peter Tufano has been tracking the progress of the Global Network for Advanced Management ever since its launch in 2012. The brain child of Yale School of Management Dean Edward ‘Ted’ Snyder, the network had brought together 28 business schools to redefine how globalization is taught in MBA programs.

Now Saïd has become the group’s 29th member as the network approaches its fifth-year anniversary. Tufano’s decision to join the network, which allows member schools to co-develop and share teaching materials, research, global management case studies, and faculty, is as much a statement as it is an attempt to build on the school’s international strategy.

“I was captivated by Ted Snyder’s notion of a network from the beginning,” explains Tufano. “In a world that is becoming increasingly nationalistic, our way to be global is to have an extremely global class of students. And for some of the things we might want to do with our students, this seems like a smart thing to do. It fits between the bilateral agreements we have with other business schools in China, France and the U.S. and the AACSB and EQUIS (the acreditation agencies for business schools).”


Peter Tufano, dean of Oxford’s Said Business School

In the aftermath of Brexit and the election of a protectionist leaning U.S. president, Tufano also views Saïd’s joining of the network as something of a stance in favor of the free flow of ideas and products across borders. “You would be hardpressed not to see that geopolitics and politics are hardening national boundaries,” he says. “In this environment, it also sends a strong signal to the world that we are a global place and globalization is important.”

Saïd, of course, already views itself as a major global player in management education. Some 94% of this year’s entering class of 327 students to the one-year MBA program are from 58 countries. The school now joins a network that includes eight business schools in Europe, nine schools in Asia and the Pacific Islands, five in the Middle East and Africa, and seven in the Americas. Among the network schools are UC-Berkeley Haas, the London School of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.

Saïd’s network membership is also something of a coup for the network which is largely composed of schools in far-flung reaches of the world, including Turkey, Chile, Costa Rico, Israel, Indonesia and Vietnam. “They are probably the most like us of any school.” says Snyder. “Saïd is young, relative to their long university history and the intellectual capabilties of the faculty. As we go into big topics, like the environment, the anti-globalization narrative, and the increasing role of cities, Saïd has the intellectual breath across campus to add a lot of resources to those efforts. The brand is phenomenal. It’s another certification signal that the network is an important platform that is bringing all the talk about the future of management education to the here and now.”


Students who go to network schools have been able to take short classes in topical subjects that may not be available at their own institutions, work together in virtual teams, and dissect unique global case studies created by network faculty. Each year the group put together a Global Network Week to give MBA students and faculty the chance to pursue intensive study at another network school through  a focused mini-course, tours of local businesses and meetings with experts. This March, 17 of the member schools will host a Network Week. The group also brings together, of course, the deans of each of the member schools, another reason why Tufano was eager to join the network.

“As a dean it is useful to talk to people with very, very different points of view,” he says. “I will personally benefit as dean by regularly interacting repeatedly with a set of deans who have some very different issues. So in addition to the school benefiting from this, I hope it will deepen my thinking about education more broadly.”

The network also fits in with Saïd’s international strategy, including an initiative to bring more MBA students into the school from Africa. Among the network members are the Lagos Business School in Nigeria, the University of Ghana Business School in Ghana, and the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business in South Africa.


Three years ago, Tufano pledged to increase the percentage of African students in his school’s MBA program to 10% from under 2%. “The way I think about it is that students will come of age in 20 to 25 years,” explains the former Harvard Business School professor. “And so I think the relevant question in assembling a class today is, where will there be major economic activity in the world 25 years from now? In terms of population, Africa as a continent will have extraordinarily strong growth over the next quarter of a century, probably stronger than any other part of the world. This year we hit 10% of our class from Africa, and we have ten different nations represented from Africa alone.”

The network, with its trio of schools in Africa, should help to raise Oxford’s profile in the region and help it tap more deeply into the continent’s business and societal challenges.

As a new network member, Saïd could also use network faculty and students to broaden one of the school’s unique required courses that address highly complicated, big picture challenges that more often than not demand public and private sector collaboration. In the past four years, Saïd has taken a big issue and explored it in-depth with faculty from other parts of Oxford University.

In the past four years, the course has address demography and aging, big data, data privacy and data governance, water scarcity and water management, and most recently the future of work and the workplace. Through lectures, video and readings, the course deepens student understanding of the challenge and then attempts to impart a set of skills to understand long horizon problems. Much of the course is taught in tutorials of four to five students with a tutor.

“We are trying to come to grips with these big global opportunities, and it’s the kind of thing that would really benefit other schools as well and can be used more widely,” believes Tufano.


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