Why Oxford MBA is attracting Entrepreneurial applicants and Social Impact as a Value

Oxford MBA interviewIn the second part of the interview with Mark O’Brien, we find out why Oxford MBA is leading the trend in enabling candidates to pursue Entrepreneurship. We also learned how the MBA program nurtures Social Impact as a lifelong value.

From the 300+ size of the latest class, 11% are starting their Business. That is an incredible record. How does Oxford MBA encourage Entrepreneurship?

Oxford does have a strong cohort of entrepreneurs, both joining the programme and those switching to entrepreneurship after graduation. In addition to the integrative module on entrepreneurship, all students undertake an Entrepreneurship Project and develop a complete business plan which is presented to a panel of invited venture capitalists and other practitioners. Whether the student already runs a business, or they are considering making a move into entrepreneurship, this is a great chance to develop new products or business models in a safe environment.

We also offer an optional co-curricular course called VIEW (Venture Idea Generation Workshop).

Working in teams, participants will practice important entrepreneurial skills such as pitching and presentations, market research, dealing with (and giving) feedback, and business modeling. They will also become familiar with the leading entrepreneurial theories, research, concepts, and frameworks, and apply them to their venture idea in real time.

There is a strong ecosystem of entrepreneurship at the wider University of Oxford.

The Oxford Foundry was opened by Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in October 2017.

This exciting new space, open to all students no matter what discipline of study, will help build a community of innovation across the University. It allows our MBA students to collaborate with students from different backgrounds, to experiment and learn from one another, and to generate ideas and initiatives that will address business and societal issues.

Social Impact is another popular career path. Is the choice in Social Entrepreneurship? If so, how does Oxford MBA help candidates develop the skills to lead, start or mange non-profits?

Yes, we do have quite a number of alumni working in the social impact sector some of which are non-profit, but most are run for profit and designed to address social or environmental benefits. Some have a background in the social impact space and are using the programme to accelerate their career or bring more structured business frameworks to their organisation, and others are considering switching into the social impact space.

In last year’s graduating class, about 10% took up a role in this sector. Of course, all of the core subjects are applicable across the social sector, and there are a number of electives and co-curricular activities open to students such as Social Finance and Rethinking Business.

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
based at the school is the leading academic entity for the advancement of social entrepreneurship worldwide. It fosters innovative social transformation through world-class education, cutting-edge research, and collaboration among business, policy, academic, and social leaders. Offering a variety of co-curricular courses, competitions, and events, it provides high potential, socially-minded graduate students across the University with the support, skills, and experiences to pursue their goals.

The Centre awards a number of Skoll Scholarships every year to incoming MBA students who have set up or been working in entrepreneurial ventures with a social purpose, and who wish to improve their knowledge of market-oriented practices to more effectively pursue social change.


The Oxford Foundry
Venture Idea Generation Workshop
Skoll Scholarships
The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Oxford MBA interviewAbout Mark O’Brien

Mark is the Associate Director of MBA Recruitment at the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School. He has been with the School since 2016 and has spent a number of years working with aspiring MBA applicants.

Get in touch with Mark (LinkedIn,Call/Email )

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