Academic curriculum

Programme outline

A key aim of the one-year Oxford MBA programme is to develop your ability to think logically, laterally and independently, which that will take you anywhere in the world and empower you to become a global leader. 

You will build the foundations of business by completing core courses, and develop your focus through your elective courses. We adopt a variety of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, team projects, workshops, seminars, and more. The year includes projects that focus on real-world topics and challenges which will allow you to engage with external companies or organisations.

Foundation learning

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Core courses

The core courses will allow you to examine the foundation of business. The first term will immerse you in modern enterprise – from the economic theory of the firm, to the valuation of businesses and the choice of strategy and management skills. The goal of these core courses is to provide a breadth and depth of knowledge that will allow you to approach any business situation with confidence and understanding.

Elective courses

We offer you the opportunity to choose from a wide range of subjects that will enhance your CV for certain career avenues or may just interest you intellectually. Courses are often taught by academics and industry practitioners working in partnership to ensure that cutting edge research is combined with relevant real-life application. Electives on offer are subject to change from year to year depending on demand.

Entrepreneurship project

By completing the entrepreneurship course and project you will develop a complete business plan and present it to a panel of invited venture capitalists and other practitioners.

Recent projects included:

  • simplifying technologies for the developmentally challenged
  • the development of a hedge fund
  • the commercialisation of a technology for conditioning household furnishings
  • a consultancy firm providing technical safety management expertise to the Chinese mining industry

If you already run a business this is a great chance to develop new products or business models in a safe environment.

The goal is for completed plans to be attractive to the professional investor. This means that the numbers must add up, patents must be in place, the competition must have been understood and a winning strategy developed. It is often said that investors care more about the management than the plan – in this case, the management will be you.

International electives

Growth prospects and opportunities for business in Africa

Taught by Prof Mthuli Ncube and based in Johannesburg, the objective of this one-week course is to learn about what the growth prospects in Africa are and what business opportunities Africa presents. The course will also explore the long-term drivers of change in Africa, including the physical, human, global, technological, and institutional and private sector influences.

Fintech: Present and Future: London

The objective of this course is to learn how Fintech is changing areas such as mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising and even asset management. It will look into how the established financial firms will be rethinking their strategies and how their structures fit within this new market environment. This course is a four-day field trip to London, taught by Nir Vulkan.

Digital Transformation of Marketing, Media, and Advertising

Taught by Prof Andrew Stephen and Dr Rhonda Hadi in New York City,  the objective of this course is to learn about digital transformation that is occurring in three interrelated industries: marketing, media and advertising. Students will visit New York companies within these industries to hear from seasoned executives and to discuss and debate digital transformation issues with them.

Global opportunities and threats: Oxford (GOTO)

Abstract world map

An action-oriented problem-solving community geared towards addressing some of the most complex issues that the world faces today.

GOTO provides students two critical things: 

  1. Access to Oxford’s most famous pedagogic institution: the tutorial. Oxford tutorials have sharpened students’ thinking, analysis, critique of evidence and powers of persuasion for centuries. 
  2. Allows a critical analysis of the global opportunities and threats that will be, or already are, part of the business landscape for the coming few years.

Co-curricular activities

Finance Lab

This offers you the opportunity to understand key concepts, processes, instruments and models that are required to be successful in financial services. It connects theory with practice, preparing you for investment banking, private equity and asset management analyst and associate roles. 

Consulting Development Programme

A focused training programme based around the hiring processes of global consulting recruiters, designed to provide students with skills and insights relevant to a career in the consulting industry. 

Social Impact Lab

The Social Impact Lab will be a year-long, flexible co-curricular pathway for MBA students interested in becoming an impact leader, regardless whether you want to start something or work for an organisation, upon graduation.

Internship

Oxford buildings

As an MBA student, you have the option to undertake a summer internship for credit towards your MBA. As an intern, you can develop knowledge and competencies related directly to your career goal and potentially secure a full-time job offer. 

Integrative modules

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Our programme is built around three cross-cutting themes that relate to the world-scale challenges shaping today's business environment. These are explored in three integrative modules during the University terms.

Entrepreneurship

This module looks at entrepreneurship as the ability to effectively deploy resources to devise business solutions to complex and multifaceted challenges. It focuses on two main areas of entrepreneurship: Social entrepreneurship and Technological entrepreneurship.

Global rules of the game

This module looks at the rules, norms and laws that shape the global economy, including international institutions and agreements as well as differences and disputes across countries that influence or constrain business opportunities.

Responsible business

This module looks at two broad areas: the design and purpose of the corporation itself, and the ethical decision-making of business leaders. 

Strategic consulting project

Students

Working in teams of three to five, you can choose to undertake a six-week project for a corporate sponsor. Projects take place all over the world and for all kinds of companies. Teams have worked with a wide range of companies, charities, non-profits, and start-ups. You might find your team assessing the business case for a new product or sizing up potential strategic acquisitions for a corporate sponsor. You might be on a mission to develop social entrepreneurship in East Africa or formulate a strategy for penetrating the Chinese market.

We ask you to bring your own contacts and networking skills into play to develop exciting projects. If there is a company you have always wanted to work for, undertaking a project for them is sure to get you noticed. We also source projects and build relationships with corporate sponsors. We aim to provide students with the greatest possible choice when it comes to choosing where they will work and what they will do. 

Course schedule

A year at a glance

MBA Launch: September

This two-week residential programme is designed to introduce you to the worldclass business school community at Saïd Business School and to college and University life at Oxford. During MBA Launch, you will be introduced to talent development through soft skill training and coaching. You will start to build fundamental skills to support the core courses, particularly in Business Finance, Accounting and Analytics. MBA Launch also includes the start of the Leadership Fundamentals course and a one-day workshop with a guest speaker to introduce each year’s GOTO topic.

Michaelmas term: October to December

During this term you will start to build the foundations of business by completing core courses. You will also have access to support courses and will begin working on your talent development plan. The first integrative module takes place during Michaelmas and focuses on Entrepreneurship.

Hilary term: January to March

During Hilary you will continue to work on core courses as well as choosing your elective courses. The second integrative module, Global Rules of the Game, is taught during Hilary. You will also begin working on your GOTO project.

Trinity term: April to June

Throughout Trinity you will work on further elective courses and continue to work on the last integrative module, Responsible Business. The Entrepreneurship Project also takes place during this term.

Summer term: July and August

During the summer there is a choice of options:

  • a six-week Strategic Consulting Project
  • summer electives
  • an Internship for credit of at least six weeks

Ongoing

The talent development programme as well as the Co-curriccular activities Finance lab, Consulting development programme and Impact lab will run alongside the main course schedule.