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MBA Admissions Brief: Oxford Saïd Business School

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Our new series, MBA Admissions Brief, continues with tips and advice about the Oxford MBA programme at Saïd Business School, which is located in the university town of Oxford in England.  In addition to their one-year, full-time MBA programme, they offer a two-year dual-degree option, the Oxford 1+1 MBA, and an Executive MBA programme.  Oxford Saïd is recognized for the opportunities it offers in the wider Oxford University, its international community of professors and students, and its emphasis on combining rigorous academic training with practical experience.

Samantha Whyte, Marketing Manager, Oxford MBA Programme

In this edition, we hear from Samantha Whyte, the Marketing Manager for the Oxford MBA programme at Saïd Business School. Samantha moved to Oxford from Australia two and a half years ago with her Kiwi fiancé, who is currently studying at Oxford University.  Read on for her advice in applying to the Oxford Saïd MBA programme.

What would you say to someone who’s applying next fall and just getting started in the MBA application process now?
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to apply. Have a really good read through the requirements and make sure you have a checklist of everything you need so that you’re not scrambling for a second reference or your University transcripts hours before the deadline. Take your time with the GMAT/GRE—do your research and study so that you receive a score you’re happy with, and leave yourself enough time to re-take if you don’t think your score is an accurate reflection of your capabilities. Make an effort to reach out to current and past students to get a feel for the school and the culture–if you can find people with similar backgrounds to yours who ended up on a similar career path as you’re hoping for, try to reach out to them—we’re always happy to help connect you with students to assist with this or you can reach out via LinkedIn. Join our webinars, come to an event if you can, and don’t be afraid to email us or call us—we’re always happy to answer any questions you have about our MBA programme and life at Oxford Saïd.

What’s the one thing MBA candidates should know about selecting a recommender?
Make sure you choose someone who can accurately (and positively!) attest to your experiences and successes. Instead of asking your CEO—who you may not have worked that closely with, but who is clearly very senior at your company—choose someone who may be less senior, but has worked with you on projects and tasks and who can really talk to what makes you an impressive leader and inspiring MBA candidate. We won’t be impressed by the title of your referee, but rather by the qualities they see in you and the skills you have demonstrated to date.

What’s your program’s most exciting change, development or event coming up in the year ahead?
We’re always looking to innovate our programme to ensure we deliver cutting-edge teachings to complement our world class university heritage. This year we’re delighted to be introducing the “Creative Destruction Lab,” where MBAs will have the opportunity to engage with highly successful entrepreneurs and scientists and learn from them over the course of a nine-month co-curricular project.

Of the big trends in business education right now (tech, globalization, analytics), what are you doing or innovating in one (or all) of these spaces?
The Data, Analytics, and Digital Marketing Pathway is a bespoke learning journey designed to equip students with the core digital skills needed in today’s data-driven world. The main part of this is done through our exclusive partnership with General Assembly (GA)—we are the only business school in the world to offer access to their entire suite of expert online content, and it’s open to all students at Oxford Saïd, not just MBAs. In partnership with GA and our Marketing faculty, we curate a bespoke learning journey designed around the latest methods and technology. We also build in practical workshops hosted on campus throughout the year to build on the online content and give you the chance to learn by doing. We also see Oxford Saïd as a place that MBA and other students can return to for lifelong learning. With this in mind, we have recently announced the redevelopment of the historic Osney Power Station in Oxford, bringing our current Executive Education short courses facility from just outside the city, to a location just two minutes from the business school.

What would you like to highlight about your post-MBA career placement success?
We are very proud of all of our alumni, who have all gone on to do incredible things once leaving us here at Oxford Saïd. Our most recent employment report (which can be found on our website) highlights that our post-MBA employment rate has risen to 91 percent, with nearly 30 percent of those alumni going into Financial Services. Twenty-two percent went into consulting, and 39 percent into Global Industry, and 10 percent into Social Impact, with 48 percent of this class securing post-MBA employment in Europe. This highlights the diversity of our cohort in not just their education and background pre-MBA but their career goals and outcomes post-MBA. This diversity is something we are incredibly proud of.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.