We know that applying to an MBA programme is a significant decision and commitment. We want to make sure you have all the information required to help you to submit a complete and competitive application. Our FAQs should help answer any queries you may have.
How do I submit an application?
We only accept applications through our online application system. Transcripts and other mandatory supporting documentation must be scanned and uploaded to the application form. Please note that your degree transcripts and your copy of your GRE or GMAT results can only be uploaded once you have submitted your application. Ensure you upload all required supporting materials and complete your online assessment by the application deadline or your application will remain incomplete.
Additionally, make sure your referees submit their recommendations by the deadline, as only completed applications will be considered in each application stage. You do not need to wait until your referees have submitted their recommendation to submit your application.
Please note that the School’s form is different from the Graduate Application Form used by the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions Office for other graduate-level courses. If you are applying to the 1+1 you need to submit an application to your chosen partner MSc as well as applying to the MBA. Please check the entry in the graduate studies prospectus for details of the entry criteria, application requirements and deadlines for your chosen partner MSc.
When should I apply?
We are currently accepting applications for our 2020-21 cohort, and we have four application stages. The deadlines for each stage are:
- Stage 1: 6 September 2019
- Stage 2: 1 November 2019
- Stage 3: 10 January 2020
- Stage 4: 3 April 2020
The deadline is 23:59pm UK time on each of the above deadline days. Applications open on 1 August 2019.
If the opportunity to be considered for University of Oxford scholarships is important to you, you must apply by the January (stage 3) deadline. Please note our application deadlines are 'hard', therefore any applications which are incomplete when the deadline passes will not be considered in that particular stage
We strongly advise candidates to submit their application well in advance of the deadline as this gives our admissions team the chance to process your application and let you know if anything is missing. Please note that when you upload your transcripts and GRE/GMAT score-sheet post-submission, it takes up to 30 minutes for your materials checklist to update.
I submitted my application before the deadline but I haven't received a confirmation of my application status. Does this mean you have not received it?
You will receive an email confirming the submission of your application straight away. You are then directed to your application materials checklist where you must upload your transcripts and GRE/GMAT score-sheet. We receive most of the applications for each stage on, or just before, the deadline. Therefore, due to the volume it can take five working days for us to notify you of its status. Once your application has been processed we will email to let you know whether it has been passed to the admissions committee for consideration, or it is missing any mandatory material.
What does my written statement need to be about?
- Tell us something that is not covered in your application which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you. (Maximum 250 words)
If you are applying to the 1+1 programme you also need to submit the following essay:
- Explain why you see this as particularly beneficial for you and how it fits with your career and personal development aims (Maximum 250 words)
Re-applicants will need to complete the essays mentioned above and another essay on the topic:
- What improvements have you made in your candidacy since you last applied to the Oxford MBA? (Maximum 250 words)
When reviewing your written statement and essays, the Admissions Committee will be looking for evidence of the following: Good communication skills, leadership potential, analytical skills, and fit within the Oxford MBA community, among other characteristics.
How many references are required?
We require two references, these can be professional or academic. Using the online application form you will need to register two referees. Once you enter their details, your referee will receive an automatic email from the School with a secure link to the application system and further instructions. They will be invited to rate your performance against a range of competencies and upload a letter of recommendation.
Please note we can only accept references from a valid work/professional/institutional email address and not from Gmail/Hotmail accounts.
What are the fees for the 2020-21 programme?
The course fee for the 2020-21 Oxford MBA programme is £59,490. This includes lifelong membership of the Oxford Union.
If I receive an offer, how do I secure my place on the programme?
Applicants who are offered and accept a place on the course are asked to pay a non-refundable deposit of £8,300. This is then offset against their course fee.
When should I provide you with my deposit?
The deposit payment is due within 30 days of receiving your offer of a place on the programme. Please note Stage 4 applicants will only have 14 days after receiving an offer within which they must pay their deposit.
Can my application fee be waived?
If you are currently a resident in a country on the World Bank list of low-income countries and cannot afford to pay the application fee, you can indicate this on your application form by selecting the ‘I need a fee waiver’ option in the ‘Application Fee Waiver’ section of your application and following the instructions. If you are not a resident of one of these countries, you must pay the application fee in order to submit your application.
As of 13 December 2018, these countries are: Afghanistan; Benin; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Congo, Dem. Rep.; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia, The; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Haiti; Korea, Dem. People's Rep.; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Nepal; Niger; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Yemen, Rep.; and Zimbabwe.
The Oxford MBA
What does a typical MBA class look like at Oxford?
The diversity of nationalities, work experience and age range enhances the group dynamics and offers students a rich environment for learning from the course and from each other.
The 2017-18 MBA class comprised students from 60 countries, while the current 2018-19 cohort includes students from 63 countries. For both these intakes, MBA students had a median GMAT of 690, and an average of 5 years work experience. (Read our student blogs here to get to know current and past Oxford MBA students)
Are there any age restrictions?
No. The average age of the current class is 29 and ranges from 21 to 40. Younger candidates do need to be able to demonstrate a high level of maturity, combined with evidence of leadership ability.
What is the structure of the MBA programme?
The programme lasts 12 months from September to September, and roughly follows the structure of the wider University of Oxford’s three terms, with an additional summer term. You will begin the year focusing on your core courses and leadership fundamentals, before undertaking project work combined with elective courses that allow you to tailor your learning. (Find out more about the programme structure)
What percentage of the class will be case study based?
The teaching on the MBA programme is split as follows: 40% lecture, 25% case study, 25% team project and 10% simulations.
I am studying for a Master's at another University. May I transfer to Saïd Business School for part of the year?
The MBA programme does not accept transfer, exchange or visiting students.
Can I do the Oxford MBA part-time?
No. The Oxford MBA is a full-time, one-year programme, and there is no part-time offering.
Academic and professional background
Is there a minimum degree/GPA level requirement?
We welcome applications from candidates with a First or Upper Second Class (2.1) undergraduate degree or GPA of at least 3.5/4.0 (or the international equivalent). However, we will also consider candidates with lower degree classifications if they demonstrate strong career progression and competitive GMAT/GRE scores.
Do I need any work experience?
Yes. Applicants must have at least two years of full-time work experience, which has been gained since graduation, excluding internships. The current class average is 5 years. We want you to be able to actively contribute to the MBA class by sharing your views, professional experience and skills.
I have followed a non-traditional career path. Will this have a negative impact on my application?
No. Previous students have come from the non-profit sector, the armed forces and fields including scientific research and academia. If you are interested in what we have to teach you and have a great story to tell about your life to date, we are interested in hearing from you.
GMAT and GRE
What GMAT score do you expect?
We recommend that candidates apply with a GMAT score of 650 or above, though we accept all scores. The median GMAT for the 2018/19 class is 690. A high score does not guarantee a place, nor does a low score disqualify you. It is important to remember that GMAT scores are only one element of your application.
All candidates must submit the results of a GMAT or GRE at the time of application and upload a score-sheet. We are unable to waive this admissions requirement under any circumstances, irrespective of a candidate's academic or professional background.
As well as uploading your results score-sheet to your application, please ensure that you register our School on your GMAC account so that we can verify your scores online. Our institution code is Q0G-4B-59. GMAT scores are invalid if they are more than five years old on the application deadline date.
If I retake the GMAT test, will you take the latest or the highest score?
We will accept the highest score that you have achieved on the test. If you wish to try and improve upon your existing score before you apply, you are more than welcome to do so. Please note that you cannot 'mix and match' scores from different sections on different tests.
Do you accept the GRE test for admission?
Yes, we accept both GRE and GMAT scores.
What GRE score do you expect?
We recommend that candidates apply with a GRE verbal score of 160 and quantitative score of 161 or above, though we accept all scores. A high score does not guarantee a place, nor does a low score disqualify you. It is important to remember that GRE test scores are only one element of your application.
All candidates must submit the results of a GMAT or GRE at the time of application and upload a score-sheet. We are unable to waive this admissions requirement under any circumstances, irrespective of a candidate's academic or professional background.
As well as uploading your results score-sheet to your application, please ensure that you register our School on your ETS account so that we can verify your scores online. Our institution code is 0807. GRE scores are invalid if they are more than five years old on the application deadline date.
Do you prefer GMAT scores to GRE scores?
No, we have no preference. We do find that majority of our MBA students take and submit GMAT scores rather than GRE, but we don’t have a preference and equally accept either score.
I have significant professional experience in a highly quantitative role, do I need to submit a GMAT score?
Yes, every candidate wishing to apply for the Oxford MBA must submit either a GMAT or GRE score result with their application, regardless of previous work experience, studies, or qualifications.
I will take my GMAT test after the stage deadline, can I be considered in the earlier stage and provide my test result later?
No, you will need to submit a complete application in order to be considered in that stage.
This year we have introduced a new component to our application process: an online assessment.
To virtually get to know you and see how you think on your feet, you will need to complete an online assessment as part of your MBA application.
- Two motivation-based questions - all candidates will answer the same questions
- Two competency-based questions - these will be randomised
- Written response - this will be randomised and light-hearted
The motivation-based questions are designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your motivations for undertaking an MBA, and why the Oxford MBA is the right programme for you. The competency-based questions will allow you to demonstrate the skills and qualities we look for, such as decision-making, problem-solving, influence, leadership, and strong communication skills.
After submitting an application for either the Oxford MBA or Oxford 1+1 MBA you will see a link in your application status portal. This will enable you to register with Kira Talent, our online assessment platform, and complete your assessment. You can complete this any time before the application stage deadline in which you wish to apply.
You will be provided with preparation time and practice sessions before going live with your real responses, and the whole online assessment component should only take up to 30 minutes for you to complete. All you will need is a desktop or laptop computer with a functioning webcam, microphone, and internet connection.
What will the motivation-based questions be?
These are designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate (via video response) your motivations for undertaking an MBA, and why the Oxford MBA is the right programme for you. Every applicant applying for the class of 2020-21 will be asked the same two questions.
Example: Why is an MBA the next step for you to further for your career?
What will the competency-based questions be?
These will allow you to demonstrate (via video response) the skills and qualities we look for, such as decision making, problem solving, influencing, leadership, teamwork, change management, and communication. They will be randomised, with applicants for the class of 2020-21 receiving two competency-based questions from a pool of available questions.
Example: Take a minute to tell us about a time where you’ve overcome a challenging situation, either professionally or personally. What was your approach to resolving the situation?
What will the written-response question be?
We will also ask you to submit a ‘live’ written response. Instead of a pre-prepared essay that you’ve had weeks to perfect, you will be given a light-hearted question to answer there and then within the Kira Talent platform. The question will allow you to demonstrate your written communication skills and how well you can think on your feet. It will be randomised, with applicants for the class of 2020-21 receiving one written-response question from a pool of available questions.
Example: Apples are more versatile than bananas. Discuss.
How do I complete the online assessment?
After submitting an application for either the Oxford MBA or Oxford 1+1 MBA you will see a link in your application status portal. This link will enable you to register with Kira Talent, our online assessment platform, and complete your online assessment. You can complete this any time before the application stage deadline in which you wish to apply, for example if you wish to apply in Stage 1 you need to submit your complete MBA application and also complete your online assessment by the Stage 1 deadline.
As access to the online assessment portal is only available after you have submitted your application, you need to leave enough time to complete your online assessment well in advance of the application deadline. Do not leave submission of your application until the final hours of the deadline as you will not have enough time to complete your online assessment. We strongly advise you to give yourself a few days between submission and the deadline to ensure all aspects of your application are complete on time.
How detailed do my answers need to be? Are there right or wrong answers?
We want to hear your honest, authentic, meaningful responses to the questions, but we don’t want you to be reading from a pre-written essay. These video assessments are designed to show your personality and ability to think on your feet, and we want to hear the answers you can come up with on the spot!
There are no right or wrong answers, and this isn’t a test. It’s just a way for us to get a glimpse into you and your personality and help to let you stand out as the unique candidate that you are!
Do I get to practice?
Absolutely! We encourage you to practice as much as you want, so that you’re comfortable with the format of our questions and how you feel comfortable answering them. You will be provided with preparation time and practice sessions before going live with your real responses, and the whole online assessment component should only take up to 30 minutes for you to complete. All you will need is a desktop or laptop computer with a functioning webcam, microphone, and internet connection.
Can I re-take the assessment if I’m not happy with my responses?
You can practice as much as you like, but once you click start on the real assessment, you will only have once chance. Sit back, get comfortable, and practice until you feel prepared.
How much time do I get to complete my responses?
You will have unlimited practice time, which we recommend taking advantage of. When it comes to the real assessment, once you click ‘start’ you will see your question. For each motivation-based question you will have 60 seconds of preparation time and then 90 seconds for your response. For each competency-based question you will have 45 seconds of preparation time and then 60 seconds for your response. For the written question you will not have preparation time, however you will have 5 minutes for typing your response. To ensure you don’t encounter any issues in completing your online assessment and submitting your complete MBA application we strongly suggest sitting your online assessment in advance of the deadline. If you leave it until the final hours of the deadline and encounter technical issues you may miss the application deadline, so try to give yourself a few days.
How long should my written response be?
You will have 5 minutes to write your written response, so don't worry, we're not expecting a novel. Anywhere from 250-500 words is sufficient, as long as your response shows off your communication skills.
Is there a dress code?
No. While you’re welcome to wear a business suit if you feel comfortable doing so, we are happy for you to dress comfortably. Business casual is completely acceptable, and we will likely not see below your waist. At the end of the day we just want your personality to shine through, be that in a polo shirt or a ball gown!
Where should I complete my video assessment?
You can take this anywhere you have a good internet connection, decent lighting, a functioning webcam and microphone, and where you’re able to focus on the test without distractions. This could be in your office when your colleagues have left for the day, at home at your kitchen bench, or in a library!
What happens if I experience technical difficulties while completing the online assessment?
For technical assistance please contact Kira Talent directly, either by clicking the green 'Need Help?' tab on the right hand side of the screen when within the Kira platform, or by visiting https://support.kiratalent.com/.
To ensure you don’t encounter any issues in completing your online assessment and submitting your complete MBA application we strongly suggest sitting your online assessment in advance of the deadline. If you leave it until the final hours of the deadline and encounter technical issues you may miss the application deadline, so try to give yourself a few days.
English language requirements
What is the English language requirement to apply to the MBA?
If you are a National of a non-majority English speaking country* (see list of majority English speaking countries below), you must supply suitable evidence that you have reached the required level of proficiency in English when you submit your application.
We accept either the IELTS, internet-based TOEFL test, C1 Advanced test, or C2 Proficiency. Our required minimum total and component scores are shown below.
A TOEFL score:
Test of English as a Foreign Language® is a standardised test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English-speaking universities. The institution code for ordering your official TOEFL score sheet from ETS is 0807. There is no department code, this can be left blank. TOEFL scores will not be valid if they are more than two years old on the application deadline date of the stage in which you are applying.
- Minimum Score: 110
- Minimum required on each component: Listening - 22; Reading - 24; Writing - 24; Speaking - 25
The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS™, is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. If you choose to take the IELTS you need to sit the academic test. IELTS scores will not be valid if they are more than two years old on the application deadline date of the stage in which you are applying.
- Minimum Score: 7.5
- Minimum required on each component: 7.0
Cambridge Certificate (C1 Advanced)
The C1 Advanced (formerly known as Cambridge English: Advanced or CAE) is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. We will only accept scores which are less than two years old on the application deadline date of the stage in which you are applying. If admitted you will be asked to supply an official copy of the certificate.
- Minimum score: 191
- Minimum required on each component: 185
Cambridge Certificate (C2 Proficiency)
The C2 Proficiency (formerly known as Cambridge English: Proficiency or CPE) is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. We will only accept scores which are less than two years old on the application deadline date of the stage in which you are applying. If admitted you will be asked to supply an official copy of the certificate.
- Minimum Score: 191
- Minimum required on each component: 185
*List of majority English speaking countries as defined by the UK Visas and Immigration office.
Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Guyana
Do you ever waive the English language test requirement?
Yes. If you have completed a degree which was taught entirely in English, then you can be considered for a waiver; for example, if you completed a degree in the USA, or you completed a degree in India but it was taught entirely in English. Please upload suitable evidence to your application. Please upload your degree transcript if it was awarded by a university in a majority English-speaking country, or if it confirms the medium of instruction, OR, please upload a letter from your institution confirming the language of instruction for your degree.
What is the institution code for ordering official language scores?
The institution code for ordering your official TOEFL score sheet from ETS is 0807.
There is no department code, this can be left blank.
If you choose to take the IELTS you need to sit the Academic test.
If you sit the TOEFL it must be the general test.
TOEFL and IELTS scores will not be valid if they are more than two years old on date of the application deadline for the stage in which you are applying.
My TOEFL/IELTS/C1/C2 language result is below the minimum score. Will you accept this for the programme?
No. You must achieve the minimum total and component scores to be considered for the programme. This is a strict University requirement and we are unable to consider applicants whose TOEFL/ IELTS/C1/C2 scores do not reach the indicated minimum criteria.
I am applying for a scholarship. Do I need to pay the application processing fee?
Yes. All applicants must pay the application fee. Some scholarships may cover all fees for the MBA programme including the application fee, therefore if you successfully secure a scholarship, you may be eligible for a refund of your application fee.
Are there scholarships available?
Yes, scholarships are available from Saïd Business School, Oxford University and its Colleges, or external sources. We recommend applying early to maximise the number of scholarship opportunities for which you can be considered. For the majority of Saïd Business School and Oxford University scholarships, nothing more than the standard course application is usually required. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you will be automatically considered. Some scholarships have fixed application deadlines and additional requirements, therefore please view individual scholarship details on our website.
Are all applicants interviewed?
No. Only candidates who are shortlisted by the admissions committee are invited for interview.
How do you decide whether to interview an applicant?
We review the application in its entirety and carefully consider whether it satisfies all of our requirements and whether the candidate is someone who has the potential to achieve their post-MBA goals.
Do I have to come to Oxford for an interview?
If you are selected for interview, you will be invited to come to the School and have your interview here. This gives you the opportunity to see the School and meet some of our current students. We also offer interviews at key locations in other countries where possible - your invitation to interview will specify all options available at that time. However, if you are not able to attend in person we will arrange a Skype interview for you. This will not affect our final decision, we treat interviews via Skype, in Oxford, or in other cities equally.
Who will conduct my interview?
Your interview will be a one-to-one discussion with a senior member of the Recruitment and Admissions Team, Faculty or an industry advisor. Industry advisors are a select group of senior executives who have experience of working for leading firms across a broad range of sectors, who work closely with our careers development team.
Post interview process
If my application is unsuccessful, will you give me feedback about the decision? The decision of the admissions committee is final and it is the policy of the School not to offer feedback regarding admission decisions. If you are unsuccessful in gaining a place on the programme, you are welcome to re-apply in the future. To do this, a completely new application will need to be submitted, which meets the application criteria at that time. Candidates can only submit one application for entry in each academic year.
Can I re-apply in the future if I am not offered a place on the current year's MBA programme?
If you are unsuccessful in gaining a place on the programme, you are welcome to re-apply in the future. To do this, a completely new application will need to be submitted which meets the application criteria at that time. The Committee will look to see how you’ve progressed since the time of your previous application.
Do you accept candidates from the armed forces?
We welcome applicants from the armed forces. Our one-year MBA is an efficient way to complement the experience you gained during your service and prepare you for a successful civilian career.
We look for candidates who have demonstrated leadership and are looking to make a positive impact in their careers. We recognise and appreciate the skills veterans have gained during their service, and this experience, when combined with a good bachelor's degree and a strong GMAT or GRE score, contribute to the criteria required for a successful application.
If you are interested in applying to the Oxford MBA, our veteran community can prove useful. Please do not hesitate to contact our current Veteran's Rep and Recruitment Manager dedicated to our military applicants if you are looking to start the application process. We are also able to provide an application fee waiver code for all military applicants. In your introduction email, please outline your nationality, service and any other information that can help us provide personalised feedback.
Life in Oxford
What is a college?
As an Oxford student, you will belong to one of the University’s 38 colleges. College life will enrich your time at Oxford, offering you the chance to socialise with students and faculty from diverse academic backgrounds in situations ranging from high table dinners to college balls. Colleges are a focus for sporting and cultural activity: teams compete with each other in sports such as rowing, cricket, and rugby; plays and musicals are staged in college halls and gardens; and concerts take place in college chapels and quadrangles. Find out more about colleges here.
What is the relationship between the Saïd Business School, the Colleges and the University? How does the MBA fit into this?
The University of Oxford is formed of academic Departments (such as Saïd Business School) and Colleges. This means that, in addition to being a member of a University Department, MBA students are also members of one of Oxford's many colleges.
The MBA course is taught at the Saïd Business School, not in college, so the college you become a member of does not affect the teaching of the programme. College membership bursts the business bubble and offers you the chance to interact with students from other disciplines and degrees. In addition, some colleges may offer you the option to rent college-owned accommodation too.
What type of accommodation does the School offer?
Students do not live at the School. Students coming to Oxford have the option of choosing to either rent privately or to apply for college or university-owned accommodation. College-owned housing is many students’ first choice, however there is limited availability, and this cannot be guaranteed for every graduate student.
Should you be unable to secure a college room, rental property in Oxford is plentiful. The University's Accommodation Office offers advice on seeking privately rented accommodation once a student has been admitted to the programme and secured college membership.
Can I visit the School?
Yes, we welcome visits from prospective students. The best way to see the School and find out more about the MBA programme is to attend one of our Open Days. If you are not able to attend one of these, we ask that you complete this campus visit request form.
If you have a question that is not answered above or elsewhere on the site, you can get in touch using this form.