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Oxford University Saïd Business School MBA Essay Topic Analysis

The following essay topic analysis examines Oxford Saïd (Oxford) MBA admissions essays for the 2020-2021 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

Oxford Saïd MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2020-2021

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Essay 1

Tell us something that is not covered in your application 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 CV and data form responses. Before you begin this essay, you’ll want to review what is covered in the application.  There are several background questions, inquiring about family care, upbringing and more, which are simply “yes” or “no” questions.  In regards to written content, the application affords 5,000 characters to describe one’s current role; candidates are also expected to submit a one-page CV summarizing and highlighting their work experience, education, interests, achievements, languages and nationality.  Applicants are given more room in regards to their goals, as there are several fields that appear depending on an applicant’s career plans.  Upon choosing a category that best describes your short-term goals (employment, entrepreneurship, other (including family business) or returning to current employer), a list of questions tailored to the selection appear.  For example, if you select entrepreneurship for your short-term goal, you will then need to address, “Describe your business idea including details of your business plan and the steps you have taken so far to develop or launch your business idea.” Oxford is clearly seeking out candidates who know their plans, and have done some leg work to better understand how they’re going to achieve them.

With this in mind and once you’ve figured out what will be in the application, then you can determine what you wish you had room for or what feels like it may be missing.  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. That said, the adcom has noted that, when reviewing your written statement and essays, they will be looking for evidence of communication skills, leadership potential, analytical skills, and fit within the Oxford MBA community, among other characteristics.

Candidates should consider the balance of content between this response and content in the application, 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 need to reserve 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 — and then try to be creative in providing positive information under a singular umbrella.  For instance, if you had a low GPA in college, you could talk about rediscovering a love of learning in more recent courses you’re taking to mitigate your undergraduate record.

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.

Clear Admit Resources
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