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.

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 Said Application Tips

Essay 1

Consider a statistic or trend that shocks you. Why is it important to you and how could it be changed for the better?   (Maximum 500 words)
To understand why Oxford may be asking this question, candidates would do well to listen to Dean Tufano’s commentson the school’s strategy and vision, and learn about the program’s commitment to graduating students who will make a significant impact across regions and sectors. After all, the final part of this prompt is forward-looking and, ideally, an Oxford MBA would prepare you to resolve the issue that you select. Overall, applicants should look for ways that the selected statistic or trend is tied to their candidacy for an MBA.

In terms of the statistic or trend itself, you may open the essay by explaining the context of it as well as how it was personally jarring.  Ideally, this revelatory information has inspired you to action—whether in your community or at work.  Anecdotal evidence from past experiences and accomplishments would demonstrate why an issue is important to you. Finally, strategic insights for a solution at a broader level, or indeed through one’s own career, could round out the essay. This is where the benefits of an Oxford MBA could come in as well.  Perhaps your proposed solution entails interagency communication, or strategic compromises, that the MBA curriculum could teach through specific projects or courses. While the data forms contain fairly detailed questions about the candidate’s immediate post-MBA objectives and plans to accomplish them, this prompt is well suited for some remarks about the applicant’s 10-year plan and the way this objective fits with resolving a shocking statistic or trend.

In sum, there are a wide range of subjects that applicants might introduce in this response. We encourage applicants to consider the elements of their prior experience and potential impact that resonate most closely with what they learn about the Oxford MBA culture, and to strike a balance between these two categories in this response.

Essay 2

Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions committee to know about you? (Maximum 250 words)
While this prompt sounds very similar to the optional essays posed by many MBA programs, this response is actually a required element of the Oxford MBA application. Candidates will therefore want to consider what sort of anecdote or information will add the greatest value to their applications beyond what’s already included in their first essay, CV and data form responses. This could truly be anything: a favorite hobby or community involvement, a challenging work project that was ultimately successful, an aspect of your upbringing that’s had a lasting influence, an international or cross-cultural experience that prompted learning or growth, one’s plans for involvement in the Oxford community — all would be appropriate here. Candidates should consider the balance of content between this response and the first, and aim to highlight something new here that will show the adcom an additional side of their personalities and potential to contribute to the Saïd community. Given the narrow word limit, our sense is that the most effective responses to this question will fully develop a single topic (or introduce 2 examples with a common theme) rather than attempting to cover several disparate items.

That said, because Oxford does not pose an optional essay question, applicants who do have a liability in their candidacy may want to reserve a portion of this response to provide an explanation or point to a mitigating factor. Such candidates should aim to accomplish this as briefly as possible — ideally in 50-100 words — in order to reserve some space in this response for purely positive additional information.

Reapplicant Essay

What improvements have you made in your candidacy since you last applied to the Oxford MBA? (Maximum 250 words)
Given the narrow word limit for this response, reapplicants will want to offer a straightforward account of the specific steps they’ve taken to strengthen their applications since last applying to Oxford. Candidates should aim to be as exhaustive as possible as they cover improved quantitative records, enhanced professional qualifications, efforts to become more familiar with the Oxford MBA program, and other ways they’ve worked to become a stronger applicant this season.

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