What is the most unique thing about Oxford University’s Saïd Business School? That it is connected to the University of Oxford. Every MBA student is a member of a college or hall, meaning they are embedded right in the life of the wider university.
That involves more than drinking glasses of port at formal dinners. It also gives the Oxford Saïd MBA a distinct flavor that emphasizes the big picture. For instance, three themes cut across the entire MBA: Global Rules of the Game, Entrepreneurship, and Responsible Business. Each has its own module, but each also informs the way everything else is taught, and the themes are backed up with scores of conferences and guest speaker lectures.
MBA students also take part in the Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford (GOTO) project. Each year academics and students from across the university focus on an issue such as Big Data, Demographic Change or The Future of Healthcare. The idea to help equip students with the frameworks and tools to approach difficult global issues.
The course involves a conventional MBA core, then students take seven to nine of the 30-plus electives, which include courses in unusual subjects such as The Circular Economy, Impact Investing, and ESG.
Intriguingly, Oxford Saïd also offers a 1+1 program that lets students take a one-year MSc followed by an MBA, allowing people to delve into a subject before capping it off with a general business qualification — an interesting (and cost-effective) alternative to the U.S. two-year MBA. So far, around 20 students take this option each year.
The Oxford MBA class of 2017-18 comprised 334 students of 60 different nationalities. This was broken down into 32% of the cohort coming from Asia, 28% from North America, 15% from Europe, 14% from Africa and the Middle East, 6% from Oceania, and 5% from Latin America.
Oxford Saïd is keen to blend all the romance and academic rigor with practicality through The Foundry, a university-wide innovation center devoted to starting new businesses, and a VC fund called Oxford Sciences Innovation. Oxford Saïd has also beefed up its skills development and careers services, increasing staff numbers from six to 24 including big-hitters from Deloitte, KPMG, and Amazon who will help students find jobs in the wide world after their time among the Dreaming Spires.
Ian Rogan, MBA Program Director
“Our general philosophy is that we live in a time when it is imperative that future business leaders don’t only understand business, but also appreciate the complexity of the world around them.
“The private sector has a huge influence on the institutions that govern society so if you are preparing future leaders, we think that no only should they be able to compete as individuals and for their firms, but that they should do so with an understanding of the impact business has on society.
“That should be part of your business education, and if that is your aim, it helps to be connected to a great university like Oxford where a lot of these issues are in play.”
Notes: NA = Not available, NR = Not ranked. The ranks by the FT and The Economist are global, while the rankings by P&Q, Businessweek and Forbes are for non-U.S. schools only which is why Oxford is ranked much higher.