Oxford University (SAID) Essay Analysis

Immediately after the rush of January deadlines, we asked candidates a simple question: What Next? We offered a variety of options: relax, look east (apply to European MBA programs), look North (apply to Canadian MBA programs) and consider the third round or safety schools.

Today, we continue our MBA Essay Analysis series, with a “Look East,” exploring the Oxford University’s Said Business School. Our series will continue with additional analysis of Canadian and European MBA programs in the coming weeks.

Essay 1: Explain why you chose your current job. How do you hope to see your career developing over the next five years? How will an MBA assist you in the development of these ambitions? (1000 word maximum)

Once again, because of significant overlap from school to school, we offer a document that we have produced on personal statements. Please email for an electronic copy which will help you approach this essay.

Still, we would like to make readers aware of a “twist” in this essay is: “How do you see your career developing over the next five years?” While HBS is shifting to a broad career vision in its goal essay, Oxford is taking an entirely different path, asking for a detailed plan of action. Thus, it is important that candidates be quite specific about their future positions, ambitions and possible progressions, as Oxford wants to be sure that you will execute.

Essay 2: Which recent development, world event or book has most influenced your thinking and why? (2000 word maximum)

With this essay, Oxford is clearly signaling its desire to attract intellectuals – those who are open to ideas, engaged in contemporary issues and willing to flexibly consider their own opinions and viewpoints. Thus, regardless of whether you choose a recent development, world event or book, you will need to offer a thorough and educated discussion of the issue and then relate it directly to your thoughts. A simple discussion of the war on terror, for example, will not do – the reader wants to know not just about the event, but also about how and why you have changed because of it. We offer two cautionary notes:

1) Be careful to avoid the most publicized of global events or the most popular of contemporary books, unless you can break new ground and offer unique analysis or relate it to yourself in an unusually compelling way

2) Be very careful when expressing personal political opinions; this is not the place for a polemic.

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Upcoming Deadlines

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2020–2021 MBA Essay Analysis

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