The University of Oxford is a household name that carries a long history of prestige. The sprawling university does not have a main campus. It consists of many different buildings housing various academic departments and colleges.
Oxford University is situated in the beautiful city of Oxford, England. It is filled with ancient and modern architecture, museums, galleries, and luscious parks and green spaces.
The University of Oxford's Saïd Business School (Oxford Saïd) has offered an MBA program since its inception in 1996. Today, Oxford Saïd Business School ranks as one of the top business schools in Europe, making this school a highly sought-after institution.
Associate Director of MBA Recruitment Racquel Lison said that the ideal candidates to pursue their MBA at Saïd Business School "... want to make an impact in aspects that go far beyond the pure business sense." This MBA will help graduates gain new perspectives on global issues and business problems. It will also enhance their leadership skills.
If you would like to acquire the characteristics of an Oxford Saïd graduate, continue reading. We will explore how hard it is to get into Oxford, explain how to get into Oxford business school, and provide you with the tools you need to claim your seat at Oxford Saïd Business School.
About Oxford Saïd Business School
According to the school’s website, Oxford Saïd Business School "... aspires to be a world-class business school community, embedded in this world-class University, tackling world-scale problems."
Oxford Saïd relies on the guidance of its core values reflected in its student body. Oxford Saïd’s core values are to be transformational, collaborative, respectful, purposeful, entrepreneurial, and excellent. The drive for excellence is at the heart of the institution.
The school aspires to develop its students through collaboration and critical thinking. Students are encouraged to innovate, create, and achieve the very best they can. Every student is respected, and Saïd strives to form an inclusive community.
From a historical perspective, Oxford is known for being one of the oldest universities in the world, although the exact foundation date is unknown. Oxford has become a name recognized around the globe. You may even have an Oxford English Dictionary, printed by the university's press, on your desk right now.
The university is more than just a historical site framed by movies as a picturesque place to visit. The benefits of the Oxford "brand" extend beyond the superficial; the institution is dedicated to its students' excellence and development.
Oxford Saïd Business School pairs Oxford University’s prestigious history and reputation for excellence with a fresh entrepreneurial spirit. As such, Oxford Saïd is equipped to prepare you for today’s modern processes and problems.
Currently, Oxford's Saïd Business School offers three MBA programs:
- Oxford MBA: This is a one-year full-time program.
- Oxford 1+1 MBA: This is a program that offers the opportunity to combine a master's degree with the one-year MBA program. In this program, you complete a master's degree of your chosen discipline in the first year. The following year, you will move on to the one-year MBA.
- Oxford Executive MBA: The last option is the executive MBA program conducted part-time over 22 or 24 months. This option consists of 16 to 18 modules that run approximately every five weeks to fit alongside students' working schedules. These modules are one week in length.
Level of Competition
How hard is it to get into Oxford Saïd?
Oxford Saïd Business School's global prestige stirs up fierce competition. Recent years have shown the acceptance rate to the Oxford MBA program is around one in four, or 25 percent.
Although this statistic can seem intimidating, try not to focus too much on the acceptance rate. The admissions process is holistic, and candidates are encouraged to represent themselves, their passions, and their goals.
The Oxford MBA program is a global network connecting diverse students. Interestingly, Oxford Saïd has a low domestic to international student ratio. Recent data shows more than 90 percent of incoming students came from more than 50 countries outside the UK.
The class profile showcases the diversified student body filled with unique perspectives, skills, and experiences. The most recent entering class comprised:
- 311 individuals of 67 nationalities
- 47 percent female students
- 92 percent international students
- An average of five years of pre-MBA work experience
The program's multiculturalism means that there is no dominant nationality. Students develop a global understanding and awareness of the world by working in a diverse learning environment.
Oxford Saïd Requirements and How to Apply
The first step toward acceptance amid fierce competition to get into Oxford Saïd Business School is to fulfill the Oxford MBA entry requirements.
Oxford MBA Application Requirements
You must submit an application form electronically by your chosen deadline that fulfills all the application requirements. Here is a list of the Oxford MBA entry requirements:
- Full academic transcripts/mark-sheets from a completed four-year undergraduate degree
- A one-page resume outlining your relevant professional experience (less is more; strive for one page)
- GMAT or GRE score from within the last five years (the median GMAT score for the most recent class was 680)
- An English test if you are a national of a non-majority English-speaking country — TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate (C1 Advanced), and Cambridge Certificate (C2 Proficiency) are accepted under some conditions. A waiver is also acceptable, dependent upon the discretion of the admissions committee.
- Two professional or academic letters of recommendation (preferably professional)
- A supporting statement
- An online assessment
Applications are viewed holistically. The sum of your qualifications is essential and necessary. But you also need to be authentic and show your true self.
The Oxford MBA program requires at least two years of relevant work experience before applying. This ensures that candidates can contribute in class, stand out to post-MBA employers, and benefit from the leadership training provided during the MBA program.
Additionally, you will be asked about your post-MBA career plan and required to detail how Oxford's MBA program will help you achieve your goals. This understanding demonstrates that you have researched how your MBA experience will help you achieve your future career aspirations.
Your supporting statement should detail something that you have not already shared in your application. The word limit for this statement is 250 words.
Suppose you are applying under the Oxford 1+1 MBA program. In that case, you will need to submit an additional response explaining how the program will benefit you and how it fits your career goals and personal development. The word limit for this essay is also 250 words.
If you are reapplying to business school, you will need to submit an additional response of the same length explaining the improvements you made after your last Oxford MBA application.
The Oxford MBA program’s online assessment questions comprise two motivation-based questions, two randomized competency-based questions, and a written response.
Oxford Saïd uses these tests to gauge each applicant’s personality and how quickly they can think on their feet. The motivation questions allow you to explain why you are applying for an MBA and why the Oxford MBA is the right fit for you.
The questions that are competency-based allow you to demonstrate the qualities that Oxford is looking for in applicants. These include "decision-making, problem-solving, influence, leadership and strong communication skills."
Once you have fulfilled all of the requirements, the last thing to do before sending your application is to review it for completion and clarity before paying the £150 fee (approximately $200 USD).
After you submit your application, the admissions committee will review it. Once they reach a decision, Oxford will notify you about whether you will receive an interview.
If you receive an interview, you are placed on what is called a “short-list.” This means that you are selected to go forward with the application process because you have met the requirements.
During your interview, you should be authentic and confident. Remember to differentiate yourself and stand out from the rest of the crowd. You should also explain specifically why you want to complete your MBA at Oxford Saïd Business School.
Articulate what your plans are for the future and how a relationship with Oxford will be mutually beneficial for both parties; what value do you add to the class? How can Oxford assist you in achieving your personal and professional goals?
Preparation for your MBA interview is critical. Research commonly asked MBA interview questions and prepare a few questions for your MBA interviewer.
Getting Into Oxford Business School as an International Student
The Oxford MBA class profile is extremely diverse and primarily consists of international applicants. So, let’s explore how to get into Oxford Business School as an international student.
If you are a national of a non-majority English-speaking country, you must take an English language proficiency test. As mentioned above, you must take one of the following tests:
- Cambridge Certificate (C1 Advanced)
- Cambridge Certificate (C2 Proficiency)
For your application to be considered, you must attach your score to your Saïd business school application and achieve the following minimum scores:
TOEFL - 110
- Each component: Listening - 22; Reading - 24; Writing - 24; Speaking - 25
IELTS - 7.5
- Each component - 7.0
Cambridge Certificate (C1 Advanced) - 191
- Each component - 185
Cambridge Certificate (C2 Proficiency) - 191
- Each component - 185
Unfortunately, if you do not achieve the minimum scores noted above, the Oxford Saïd MBA program will not consider your application.
The Oxford business degree does provide English language proficiency test waivers if you are currently undertaking a degree-level course that is:
- At least nine months long
- A recognized institution where its teaching and assessment is conducted in English
- Completed within two years of your chosen MBA program’s start date
You can also obtain a waiver if you meet specific professional experience criteria.
As an international applicant, one thing to bear in mind is transcripts; you may need to translate your undergraduate transcripts for the Oxford business degree if they are not in English.
Top Tips on How to Get into Oxford Saïd Business School
The competition level is high, so you should do everything you can to improve your MBA profile and maximize your acceptance chances.
Along with meeting the requirements, there are some things you can do to stand out from the rest of the applicants in the best way possible. So, let’s explore several top tips on how to get into Oxford University.
Write Compelling Admissions Essays
When crafting your MBA essays, be sure to tailor your answers to reflect why you want to complete your MBA at Oxford specifically.
A generic application will not pique the interest of admissions. Being too generic can lead to glaring problems in your application. There would be nothing worse than copying and pasting responses that you have used from other schools and using the wrong school name.
The best MBA essays reflect who you truly are. Make sure to research the program and the school to explain why you are the best fit.
Acquire Strong Letters of Recommendation
Your recommendation letters should be from people you have worked with and who know you personally.
It may be tempting to obtain a letter from the CEO of your current corporation if you work for a smaller company or some other person in a highly ranked position. If the person does not know you as well as others who you work more closely with do, you risk receiving a lackluster response.
A well-crafted letter from someone who knows you and your skills in detail will reflect better on your application.
Reach Out to Current Students
If you are serious about applying to Oxford's Saïd Business School, visit the institution to sample the school's culture and atmosphere. Alternatively, you can reach out to current students.
Being an international student can be challenging because of the distance, but a visit can allow you to enjoy your time across the pond. To make Oxford more accessible to international students, the school is currently running Virtual Open Days.
According to the webpage, this webinar is where applicants can "... look at artistic and cultural artefacts, structures, traditions that have been created and collected in Oxford, enabling an approach to leadership learning available only at Oxford Saïd."
Prepare for Your Interview
Another top tip is to prepare for your interview as much as you can. You want to come across as genuine and interesting, but you also want to remain professional. That means that the hilarious stories between you and your friends may not be the best stories to share with your interviewer.
Be honest about your limitations and how you will overcome them while showcasing your strengths. As with your application, be sure to keep in mind precisely what makes Oxford's MBA program stand out from other programs for you.
Ideally, you should emphasize how your acceptance would benefit both yourself and the institution.
Getting Into Oxford Business School: FAQs
Applying to Oxford's Saïd Business School can be stressful. However, we’ve compiled several questions and answers to help make this process as hassle-free as possible.
1. What is the structure of the Oxford MBA program?
The Saïd Oxford MBA program runs for one year from September to September, following Oxford University's three terms with an additional summer term.
You will be expected to complete the core courses to develop your understanding of business fundamentals and leadership. After the core courses are complete, you can take on project work and choose electives to tailor your MBA experience to best suit your interests and aspirations.
2. How high should my GMAT scores be? How difficult is it to get into Oxford if my GMAT scores are lower than the class average of 680?
Oxford's Saïd Business School recommends that candidates score 650 or above on their GMATs, but the school will accept all scores.
Oxford is not currently waiving the GMAT/GRE requirement for applicants under any circumstances. Applications for the Oxford MBA are approached holistically. So, a lower score on your GMAT does not necessarily mean that you have no chance of acceptance, just like a high GMAT score does not necessarily guarantee your acceptance.
The recommendation for candidates applying with the GRE is to have a score of 160 or more for verbal and quantitative.
3. What is the online assessment like, and do I get to practice?
You can register for the online assessment with Kira Talent after you have submitted your application. You are able to complete your online assessment anytime before the deadline for the round to which you have applied.
While there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, the purpose of the assessment is not to be overly polished while pulling from previously formed responses. These video assessments show how well you can answer questions on the spot while displaying your personality.
You have unlimited practice time. Use this time to practice until you are comfortable answering the questions before going live with the assessments. Once you start on the actual evaluation, retakes are not permitted.
4. Are there scholarships available for the Oxford business degree?
Yes. Scholarships are available through Saïd Business School, Oxford University and its Colleges, or external sources. The recommendation for applying to scholarships is to apply as early as possible to maximize your opportunities.
For most of these scholarships, your standard course application is the only requirement, but be sure to check each scholarship's conditions. You may be automatically considered for scholarships if you meet the eligibility requirements.
5. If I am selected for an interview, do I have to travel to Oxford to complete it?
Those accepted for an interview will be invited to Oxford, where you can explore the school and meet current students and staff. Interviews may also be conducted at specific locations in different countries, and your invitation will specify whether this option is available.
6. Can I reapply to the Oxford MBA program if I was unsuccessful in a past application cycle?
Yes, you can reapply to get into Oxford's Saïd Business School. Let’s explore how to get into Oxford University as a reapplicant.
Along with your supporting statement, you also need to provide a short response on how you have improved your application and candidacy since the last time you applied. You must submit an entirely new application and not recycle the application you used previously.
7. What will my job prospects look like post-MBA?
The opportunities available to you after completing your MBA are excellent. In the employment report from past years, graduates' employment rate rose to 95 percent.
In terms of the industries where MBA graduates were most likely to find employment, 40.5 percent of students seeking work found jobs in the global industry. Other careers that graduates were most likely to secure positions in included roles in finance (30.8 percent), consulting (16.8 percent), and impact careers (11.9 percent).
Getting Into Oxford Business School: Your Dream Is Possible
Getting into Oxford's Saïd Business School can appear to be an intimidating process. But with the right amount of preparation and previous experience, you can maximize your chances of acceptance.
Ensure that you meet all professional and experience requirements and obtain two letters of recommendation. Be sure to tailor your assessment to pique the interest of Oxford Saïd Business School’s admissions committee, and be genuine in your statement.
Remember to keep your career aspirations and personal goals in mind and apply with honesty and intellect. With the strategies outlined in this article, you can put your best foot forward or, even better, get accepted to the business school of your dreams.