The number of women studying our Oxford MBA has increased more than four-fold, and the number of nationalities represented almost tripled.
As the School marks our 25th anniversary we are proud to say that that this autumn we welcomed 355 MBA students, including 156 women - the largest number of female students to date – with 71 nationalities represented.
In autumn 1996, the original cohort had just 48 candidates, five of whom were women, with 26 nationalities represented.
Sue Dopson, Interim Dean and Professor of Organisational Behaviour, commented on diversity at the School:
‘Our focus is on tackling complex world-scale challenges as we prepare business leaders for the task of making the world a better and more equitable place - the more diversity in gender, culture and thought, we have in our classrooms, the greater our impact will be.
‘As we mark our 25th anniversary, we’re delighted with the progress the School has made on representation. We are incredibly grateful to every student we welcome here. They help us to push boundaries and strive to do better. But we are not complacent and remain focused on breaking down barriers for our current and future students.’
Eran Peleg, an Israeli national from the 1996 MBA class, and now Chief Strategist at Clarity Capital, said:
‘Despite being a small class of only around 50 students, we were a truly international group — from Japan and Korea, through Russia, South Africa, Middle East and Europe, to Canada and The United States. It was an eye and mind-opening experience. You weren’t just studying business. We were getting to know business leaders from around world.
‘It’s great to see how much that global diversity has flourished at Saïd, and I wish the class of 2021 all the very best in this 25th anniversary year.’
Improving diversity is an ongoing commitment for the School. This year we welcomed our first Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) fellows, who were awarded fellowships for their impactful work as LGBTQ+ community leaders.
Initiatives like the Laidlaw Scholarships supported eight women who have demonstrated a commitment to reducing inequality.
The Eni-Oxford Africa Scholarships support two students each year who can demonstrate their potential to improve leadership and governance on the continent. Oxford Saïd has 45 African students on the 2021-22 MBA from ten different countries within the continent, representing 12% of the cohort.
Eni-Oxford Africa Scholar, Justice Senyo Kwaku Adu, shared what a diverse MBA class means to him:
‘The diversity of the Saïd Business School MBA class has been extremely helpful in shaping my approach to interacting with people from all corners of the world.
I have learnt to take deeper perspectives in my engagements with colleague students and members of faculty, perspectives that are grounded on the principle of mutual respect.
The diversity of the MBA class will support the preparedness of students to tackle world scale problems after engaging and understanding the lived experiences of people with diverse backgrounds.’
Overall, 107 Oxford MBA candidates are sponsored by the School alone, 64% of these sponsored scholars are female and 22% ordinarily reside in Africa.
Current Laidlaw Scholar, Fisayo Adeleke, described the impact a diverse cohort of future leaders can have:
‘The world needs a coalition of responsible business and political leaders now more than ever, we are just about two months into the MBA and from the quality of dialogue and collaboration I have experienced in my cohort, I am beyond convinced that we will influence real lasting change in the world.’
As part of the School’s 25th anniversary celebrations, Oxford Saïd’s academics are using the opportunity to provide expert thought leadership on the future of business across the next 25 years. You can read Business: the next 25 years in Oxford Answers.