Despite a challenging economic environment and the continued uncertainty of Brexit, the MBA employment rate at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School has risen to 91%, a jump of 11 percentage points in one year, while the average salary has inched upward to £71,550, according to the school’s latest employment report that was released Monday (October 22). This comes as the school’s class size dropped by more than 20 students.
Even as finance solidified its grip on MBAs emerging from Oxford’s one-year program — accounting for 29.4% of jobs accepted by 2017 graduates — and tech dropped slightly (to 20.6% from 22.3%), tech jobs helped increase the school’s mean base salary from £69,132 in the 2015-2016 class.
“We have seen an upturn in well-paid tech hires, but not just in the technology industry,” says Stuart Jagot, Oxford Saïd director of career development. “The tech revolution is changing all areas of the job market, and we are ensuring that our students are well-placed to benefit from this shift.”
FOR TECH-BOUND AND OTHER STUDENTS, MORE SUPPORT = BETTER EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES
The jump in job offers for Oxford grads can partially be explained by changes in career services support. Despite the dip in tech-bound students and the continued popularity of finance and consulting tracks, Oxford touts its services for tech-minded students, including a “Digital Marketing Pathway” that is provided to MBAs in partnership with General Assembly. The pathway provides students access to GA’s online curriculum and Digital Marketing Assessments. “Our partnership with General Assembly has enabled us to help our students not only develop their strategic thinking about the future of marketing, but to also build the skills needed for their future careers,’ says Andrew Stephen, L’Oreal professor of marketing at Oxford Saïd.
Another new initiative, the Oxford Saïd Careers Academy, has been launched for the school’s 2018-2019 MBA class. The online learning resource offers four courses of practical exercises, videos, and guidance, enabling on-campus career sessions to be more experiential and skills-focused. The aim, according to the school, is to prime students for peak performance when they enter today’s rapidly evolving job market, supported by an on-campus Talent Development Program of “bite-sized” skills courses and one-on-one coaching that complements the curriculum.
“Our MBA program supports our students’ personal development journeys and their employment outcomes,” Jagot says. ‘The combination of our MBA curriculum and co-curricular programs provide impactful development experiences within and beyond the classroom, benefitting students’ lifelong career development.”
A GOOGLE SUCCESS STORY
Additionally, a new Consulting Development Program of five modules has also been launched to further develop the consulting expertise that are critical for all careers. The program — the only one of its kind in Europe — begins online before MBA students start their term, and then progresses into face-to-face training, treks, and employer-led workshops.
These programs help to develop and prepare MBA students to work in prestigious international companies, with a significant number of students being successful in tech careers, Jagot says. One such student is Daniel Peach, who worked in consulting before he moved into the technology sector with a position at IBM. Peach’s progress at the company saw him build upon his tech credentials in analytical roles until he took a year out to study at Oxford Saïd.
With the assistance of the Career Development Center, Peach secured an internship at Google, where he worked on a go-to-market strategy for Google Marketing Platform, a system designed for the tech giant’s largest advertising clients.
“Oxford Saïd’s relationship with Google was extremely helpful,” Peach says. “The careers team also gave me some great preparation for the interview — particularly on behavioral aspects.”
MORE SUCCESS STORIES
Marla Woodward is a product manager with a background in the entertainment and consumer goods sectors. She made a move into the tech sector with an internship at Cisco, a transition she describes as significant.
Case studies are a crucial aspect of interviews for product manager positions at tech firms, and Woodward explains how the careers team helped her prepare.
“As well as support with ‘fit’ interviews, they helped me think through and practice the types of cases I would be faced with,” Woodward says. “I absolutely crashed and burned during these first practice runs, but when it came to the real thing, I was well prepared. Having that safe space to fail was invaluable.”
DISCOVERING FINTECH AND BLOCKCHAIN
Exploring the fast-evolving world of fintech in a permanent job is William Ou. Ou’s career is diverse — he started out as a business analyst at McKinsey, spent some time as a banker, and even worked in the automotive and consumer goods sectors. He then founded his own personal care business selling toothbrushes, with unit sales in the tens of millions. When he took time out to study his MBA, he discovered fintech and blockchain technology.
“When I arrived in Oxford there was so much going on with blockchain technology which, honestly, I had never heard of,” Ou says. “In one of the many company presentations at the school, I met the people from Blockchain.info, the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet, where I eventually did my summer internship and got into the cryptocurrency/blockchain world.”
Ou is now chief commercial officer at Token, a London-based startup that is building a bridge between conventional consumer banking and the cryptocurrency world. “I joined quite early, as the second employee. Today we have 22 employees and it has been quite a fun ride to build it from the ground up,” he says.