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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Patil

Oxford Saïd MBA Interview Questions 2023-24

Updated: Feb 7




Ranked #28 worldwide (#14 in Europe) in the FT, #10 (in Europe) in Bloomberg, and #16 in QS for 2023, Oxford Saïd Business School (SBS) combines a top-class business education with the reach and brand recognition of Oxford, one of the world’s most prestigious schools for over 800 years. Oxford’s location just an hour outside London provides fantastic access to London’s startup scene, financial powerhouses, and renowned consulting firms, not to mention quite a few startups thriving in Oxford proper.


Oxford’s class size is just over 330 students with an average of 6 years’ work experience. There are 63 nationalities represented in Oxford’s current cohort, and most of the class (97%) is international. 51% of the Oxford MBA class is female. Oxford Saïd’s median GMAT is 680 and the median GRE score is 319 (V159, Q160). 


Before you sit for your Oxford interview, it’s important to get familiar with its format. Read on to learn all about the Oxford SBS interview process, who will conduct your interview, sample questions that previous applicants were asked, and our top tips to succeed at your Saïd interview.


The Oxford Saïd MBA Interview Process


The Oxford Saïd interview is not blind, meaning that the interviewer will have full access to your application materials as well as your CV. You can expect specific questions that go deeper into the stories and experiences you’ve discussed in your essays, so make sure you have reviewed these thoroughly. 


Oxford Saïd interviews are conducted by faculty members, industry advisors, or senior members of administrative staff. While the interview is reported to be conversational and friendly, the interviewers mainly stick to standard MBA questions. These questions will focus not only on your background and application stories, but also how Oxford fits with your future plans and goals. You should also be prepared to discuss any gaps in your profile and expect follow-up questions. Oxford specifically suggests that interviewees treat this interview as one would a job interview.


The Oxford SBS interview lasts approximately 30 minutes. This year, the majority of interviews are virtual. Oxford also offers in-person interviews where available (they will offer you options in your interview invite mail). If you are unable to attend in person, the school will arrange an online interview. The school says that a virtual interview will not have a negative impact on your chances of admission, but in our experience, business schools appreciate it when applicants make the effort to travel to an in-person interview.


Here's a peek into what the Oxford booking system looks like:



Who is Oxford Saïd Looking For?


Oxford Saïd looks for the following six qualities in their MBA candidates


  • Professional experience

  • Experience with diversity and multiculturalism

  • Leadership skills and maturity

  • The desire and ability to contribute to class discussions and projects based on your professional experience

  • A top-notch academic profile

  • Change-makers looking to tackle world-scale problems


Saïd prides itself on its ability to facilitate career change and development by empowering its students to “take ownership of their career and professional development plans”. This correlates with a high percentage of students able to secure a salary increase (5.7% on average for 2021-2022) and roughly 60% managing to change sector, geographic location, or job function, with 27% making the transition in all three. 


Focusing on these school values, particularly diversity, maturity, and leadership experience, will be key to success at the Oxford Saïd interview. Note that most directly involve professional experience; as for academic performance, it’s good to reflect on how your education thus far has shaped who you are, particularly if your degree(s) is in a field unrelated to your current work. 


Tackling World-Scale Problems


Oxford Saïd’s mission is to “tackle world-scale problems”. As an Oxford applicant, you should use this mission to frame your goals. For example, highlight the social benefits of whichever career you’re looking to pursue.


Founder of Sam Weeks Consulting, Sam studied his MBA at Oxford. As an investment banking applicant, he used this technique in his application and interview. Specifically, he talked about how his post-MBA goals were going to have a positive impact on society. The social goal he was aiming to tackle is the lack of investment options for those with limited capital. This worked, and he secured an admit to Oxford with a 30% scholarship.



Oxford Saïd Interview Schedule 2023 - 2024

Oxford Saïd Interview Schedule

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Application Deadline

27 September 2023

05 January 2024

​20 March 2024

Interview Notifications

08 November 2023

31 January 2024

17 April 2024

Interviews

Mid-November

Mid-February

Late April

Decisions

13 December 2023

08 March 2024

17 May 2024


Oxford Saïd Interview Questions 2023 - 2024


Here are the Oxford SBS MBA questions that applicants have been asked previously: 


Introduction


  1. Tell me about your background, motivations, and career aspirations. Follow-up: Why did you choose that university and program? 

  2. Describe your short- and long-term goals and how you plan to achieve them.

  3. What are the specific firms you aspire to work for post-Oxford MBA and why? Follow-up: do you have a network in these firms?

  4. Why an MBA now? What do you hope to gain from the Oxford MBA?

  5. Which other schools have you applied to?

  6. Does your current company know about your MBA plans? Follow-up: How would your manager respond?

  7. What will you do between now and the time you join your target firm to improve your recruitment chances?

  8. Which Oxford SBS alumni and current students have you reached out to during your research?

  9. Tell us about a world-scale problem that you’d like to tackle?

  10.  Why do you want to do a 1-year MBA program?


Leadership and Teamwork


  1. Describe an instance where you disagreed with your superior and how you handled the situation.

  2. Tell me about a team failure and how you overcame it.

  3. Tell me, using an example, about your leadership style.

  4. Tell me how you have been able to convince others to follow your lead.

  5. Discuss a team-based conflict and the steps you took to resolve it.


Behavioral


  1. What sort of feedback about you would I receive from your friends? Co-workers?

  2. What negatives do you imagine your referees mentioned in their recommendation letters?

  3. Reflect on a time you failed. What lessons came from this?

  4. Describe your particular strengths and weaknesses.

  5. Tell me about a time that something didn’t go according to plan. How did you adapt to the situation?

  6. Tell me about a specific obstacle you’ve faced in your career and how you overcame it.

  7. Tell me about when your communication skills led you to a positive outcome.

  8. How would you, personally, contribute to Oxford Saïd’s diversity and inclusion?


Concluding


  1. Is there anything you’d like to add that Oxford Saïd should know?

  2. What do you wish that I had asked you?

  3. Do you have any particular questions for me?


Tips to Ace the Oxford Saïd Interview


Here are our top tips for nailing the Oxford SBS interview: 


  1. During your interview, you’ll be asked lots of follow-up questions. Make sure you cover your bases when reviewing your application. That means keeping additional information that isn’t directly mentioned ready, approaching a story from a new angle, and practicing how to answer without rambling on. 

  2. Think about the five specifics Oxford SBS looks for in its cohort: 1) professional experience; 2) multiculturalism; 3) maturity and leadership; 4) insightful contribution (particularly from your professional experience); 5) strong academic track record. Make sure that your answers relate to one or more of these whenever possible.

  3. While not directly listed, Oxford Saïd elsewhere emphasizes the importance of knowing your career goals clearly. Make sure you have a compelling answer for this one!

  4. Use the SCAR method to construct your stories and anecdotes. This will help you share information while assuring that your stories are logical, concise, and clear.

  5. Oxford Saïd specifically recommends that your interview is to be treated like a job interview. Keep your tone and attire formal.

Applying to Oxford SBS? Join MBAConsultant.com to get access to more interview and application advice, including video interview simulations.



 

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Hi, I'm Sam.  I'm the founder of Sam Weeks Consulting. Our clients get admitted to top MBA and EMBA programs.