University of Oxford Business School

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University of Oxford Business School

University of Oxford Business School

SBS is the University of Oxford’s centre of learning for undergraduate and graduate students in business, management and finance, serving students together with their membership in the traditional colleges of Oxford. With over 500 matriculated graduate students entering each year, it has the largest intake of all graduate business schools in the UK. Undergraduates are also taught as part of the Economics and Management course together with the Economics Department.

While business and management courses have been taught at Oxford since 1965, the school of management was re-branded as Saïd Business School in 1996. It is named after its chief benefactor Wafic Saïd, a Syrian-Saudi Arabian billionaire financier, businessman and philanthropist, who has donated £70 million to date. The current dean is Peter Tufano, who was formerly on the faculty of the Harvard Business School for 22 years.

The Oxford Centre for Management Studies (OCMS) was founded in 1965; the OMCS was the precursor to both what is now Saïd Business School and to Templeton College, the University’s business-focused postgraduate college. Templeton College was named after Sir John Templeton, an American-born Rhodes Scholar and billionaire mutual fund pioneer, who made a significant donation to the college. Initially, OCMS was an “associate institution” of the University, providing executive, graduate and later undergraduate courses in Management Studies. OCMS was renamed Templeton College in 1983, and the University of Oxford School of Management Studies was created in 1991, taking over the undergraduate and graduate degree courses from the college. Saïd Business School was formed in 1996 out of the School of Management Studies.

The new business school building was completed in 2001 with a £28 million benefaction from Wafic Saïd. The building includes an amphitheatre and the Sainsbury Library, and was designed by Edward Jones and Sir Jeremy Dixon. It was built on the site of Oxford Rewley Road railway station. The opening on 5 November 2001 was accompanied by a demonstration by students mainly because of the controversial nature of Wafic Saïd’s donation. (Saïd was associated with the UK’s signing of the Al-Yamamah arms deal.)

Degree programmes

A bust of Wafic Saïd

Saïd Business School’s main degree programmes are its one-year full-time MBA programme, 21-month modular Executive MBA programme, the DPhil or PhD Programme in Management Studies, the MSc in Financial Economics in cooperation with the Economics Department and the one-year MSc in Law and Finance (MLF) in conjunction with the Oxford Law Faculty.

SBS also offers four 13-month Masters-level Diplomas in Strategic Management. Each post-graduate Diploma programme offers senior executives a strategic overview of a specialized area of management: Financial Strategy, Strategy & Innovation, Organisational Leadership, and Global Business.

The School runs an MSc in Major Programme Management in association with the BT Centre for Major Programme Management. It also offers two MEng programmes and the top ranked BA in Economics and Management.

Undergraduate programme

SBS offers one undergraduate programme: Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Management. This programme is taught jointly by the Department of Economics and the Business School.

Graduate programmes

SBS building


Saïd Business School offers a one-year full-time Master of Business Administration degree, which enrolls approximately 250 students per year. In the 2013-2014 class of 247 students, 72% of were male and 28% were female with an age range of 23-42 and 6 years of average work experience.

The School revamped the MBA programme for the 2014/15 academic year to focus more heavily on three main themes:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global rules of the game
  • Responsible leadership

The academic calendar consists of three terms each lasting ten weeks. The first eight weeks are used for lectures. The ninth week is the study week and the tenth week is the exam week. The one-year programme will be extended in 2014/15 to allow for the additional workload. Each of the three terms will be two weeks longer and there will be three extra weeks of pre-course work at the beginning.


Saïd Business School also offers a 21-month part-time ‘Executive Master of Business Administration’ degree designed for people with more than 5 years’ management experience. The Oxford EMBA is studied through 16 week-long modules largely taught in Oxford, but with at least two conducted in key international markets. As of 2016, the programme runs two iterations per year, with new cohorts starting in both January and September. There are 60 students in September 2016 class, from 21 different nationalities and 28% of which are women. There are several scholarships for women available each year for outstanding candidates..

1+1 MBA

Dean Peter Tufano started the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme which allows students to pair the one-year full-time MBA programme with one of a selection of one-year MSc programmes offered by other University of Oxford departments. For example, students can acquire an MBA in conjunction with a MSc from the Department of Computer Science or the Department of Education. The idea behind the Oxford 1+1 programme is to combine the depth of a specialised, one-year master’s degree with the breadth of a one-year MBA.

DPhil in Management Studies

The Oxford DPhil (PhD) Programme prepares students for academic and professional careers within the fields of financial economics, finance and management. The programme offers the opportunity to engage with internationally renowned faculty and provides access to specialist research centres and innovative facilities.

The structure of the DPhil programme largely depends on the subject area students chose to specialise in. There are two pathways students can follow: financial economics, which focuses on asset pricing and corporate finance, or management research, which focuses on quantitative and qualitative research methodology.

Academic performance

Business school rankings
Worldwide overall
QS 8
Times Higher Education 3
Worldwide MBA
Business Insider 26
Economist 83
Financial Times 28

Despite its relatively young age, SBS has established itself as a highly ranked business school. in the 2013/2014 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, Saïd placed fourth in the European part of the ranking.

In 2016, the full-time MBA programme ranked 28th in the world and 3rd in the UK in the Financial Times Ranking In 2013, the full-time MBA programme ranked 7th in Business Week’s international business schools rankings and 6th in Forbes’ Best International MBA Programs rankings.

The MSc in Financial Economics programme ranked 6th in the world and 1st in the UK in the Financial Times ranking of Pre-experience Masters Programmes in 2013.

In both 2015 and 2016, the Executive MBA programme ranked 9th in the Financial Times’ Global EMBA ranking, and 2nd in the Economist’s Executive MBA ranking.

In Executive Education, SBS was ranked 4th worldwide in the table for open enrolment executive programmes and 26th in the table for custom programmes by the Financial Times in 2017.


Green Templeton College, one of the colleges that accepts MBA students

Admissions to Saïd Business School is competitive. The average GMAT score in 2013-2014 for the MBA programme was 692,[12] while the average GMAT score in 2013-2014 for the MFE programme was 734.

Relationship to the University 

Saïd Business School is an academic department of the University of Oxford and cooperates closely with several other departments such as the Economics Department and the Faculty of Law. All SBS students are members of one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. Each college has a unique history and typicality consists of a hall for dining, a chapel, a library, a college bar, as well as a junior, middle (post-graduate) and senior common room. A large part of Saïd’s students find accommodation through their colleges and being member of a college provides an opportunity to meet fellow students from all departments of the university.