Like other business schools, we seek to improve the performance of the individuals, teams and organisations we serve, whether in our degree programmes, Open Enrolment programmes, online courses, or Custom Executive Education programmes where we work with some of the leading business, governmental and civil society organizations in the world. But with the unfair advantage of being part of one of the world’s most renowned, powerful educational institutions, we gladly bear the additional attendant responsibility of using our talents to make the world a better place.
In the past year, we have surveyed all of our key stakeholders. While of course, we need to produce excellent research and teaching—which we do, each part of our community acknowledged that we needed to do much more. Indeed, the vast majority felt that we needed to go beyond vague platitudes of 'making a difference' to actively apply our collective skills and capabilities to use business to address the largest problems of the world, close to home and further afield. Locally, we supported Covid-fighting entrepreneurs and we opened the doors of our Executive Education facilities to house the homeless. Globally, we quickly mobilized to support entrepreneurs and to bring our expertise to the world through our Leadership in Extraordinary Times event series, bringing the best thinking of our academics and world leaders to interrogate the challenge to emerge from the current crises into a stronger, more just world. Since our values underpin the various trade-offs we all make, individually and organizationally, we organized the Oxford-Aspen Leadership Seminars to create a space for intimate, sometimes painful, discussions.
We believe that business can play an integral part to address the systemic issues that will alter the future for generations to come: planetary threats; public health challenges; structural racism; rising inequality; the mismatch of education, skills and employment opportunities; and growing nationalism and challenges to the institutions of democracy. As a community, we must commit to trying to use our wealth, power, and influence to make progress against these challenges, working across sectors, and mindful of the needs of others. We can do this in any sector or industry.
This coming year is a special one for me, my tenth and final year as Dean of this amazing School. I look forward to working with each one of you, not only to help you advance in your personal journey, but also to be part of something bigger. To join together, and with our colleagues around the University, to use our skills and talents to try—in our own way—to tackle the world’s pressing problems. As Oxford’s amazing scientists work to tame the Covid virus, then surely we can do our part in helping business be a greater force for justice.
Peter Moores Dean and Professor of Finance
Saïd Business School