Business Education

Oxford Said School of Business

University of Oxford’s Said Business School  September 6, 2022 – 09:29 am
Said Business School

Application Deadlines
Stage 1: September 9th, 2016
Stage 2: October 28th, 2016
Stage 3: January 6th, 2017
Stage 4: March 17th, 2017
Stage 5: May 5th, 2017
Stage 6: June 9th, 2017

You’re to be forgiven if you imagine that going to the University of Oxford for an MBA would be a little like a stuffy, old-fashioned dinner party at Downton Abbey. After all, as one of the world’s great universities, it’s 800-plus-year history is filled with elitist images of gowns, dons, rowing crews and stone quadrangles.

“Some think that Oxford is some ancient creaking place where you come around and study classics in corduroy jackets, ” laughs Dana Brown, director of the MBA program at Oxford’s Said Business School. ”They think it is an elitist institution available only to elite people. Overcoming that image of Oxford is hard. We try to present ourselves as a modern business school. There is a lot of innovation going on at Oxford, and we are looking for talent—not people who have gone to elite boarding schools. When someone sets their foot through the door of this business school, you realize it’s not what you might think it is like.”

Outside perceptions of Oxford as a place where making money is considered somewhat unintellectual if not dirty are false, says Dean Peter Tufano, a former long-time Harvard Business School professor who crossed the pond to take over the school in June of 2011. “That is ancient history, ” he says, “and to think that these are European or British issues is a bit naive. The world has moved on and all the evidence on how we have reached out to the university is the proof that times are different. Can I find some anti-business folks at Oxford? Yes. but I can take you to Harvard, you can mask the accent, and you won’t hear much different.”

When MBA students arrive at Oxford for its intense, one-year program, they are treated to a substantially different business school experience. Unlike most business schools where MBA students are often isolated from others, at Oxford there is near total integration into the university’s 38 separate colleges. “All of my faculty and students are members of Oxford colleges, ” says Tufano, who is a member of Balliol College, the alma mater of Adam Smith, the famous economist and philosopher. “That means they dine at those colleges, live there, and do sports there. They do social things there, from formal balls to intellectual activities. When I go to Balliol, I can’t help but interact with others around the university. This is the norm as opposed to the exception.”

And as you would expect, it’s remarkably diverse, even more so than many think for a relative newcomer to business education that began offering the MBA in 1996. Surprisingly few students are from Britain. Some 95% of the students are from outside the United Kingdom, representing 44 nationalities. In fact, only 10% of the current class of students is from Western Europe, with 31% from North America, 23% from South Asia, and 3% from Latin America, another targeted locale for would-be candidates. “Everybody is a minority at the school, ” says Tufano. If you took the globe and sliced it in three big parts, that’s where our students roughly come from. We think that is a healthy thing and we are trying to enhance that global diversity.”

Unlike some of the more highly selective U.S. business schools, which tend to attract and enroll students from gold-plated undergraduate institutions and companies, Oxford seems far more egalitarian in composing its classes. The Class of 2015, for example, is just as likely to have undergrads with degrees from Princeton and Harvard as it is from Seton Hall University, Pomona College, and Penn State. Just 6% of the class hails from official Ivy League schools, compared to the more typical 33% at Wharton, 30% at Harvard, and 25% at Stanford.

The truly international makeup of the class certainly has something to do with that. Among the more represented feeder colleges to Said are the University of Mumbai in India, the University of Oxford, McGill University in Canada, the University of Melbourne in Australia, and the National University of Singapore. The U.S. contingent of students in the Class of 2015 did their undergraduate degrees at a wide variety of schools, from UC-San Diego and Boston University to Arizona State and Temple University in Philadelphia.

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Wrestling with Gravy: A Life, with Food by Academic Director Oxford Institute of Retail Managemen and Deputy Dean Said Business School Jonathan Reynolds (2008-10-07)
Book (Random House Trade)

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