Creative Destruction Lab Student Programme


The Student Programme is designed to expose students to the world of entrepreneurship, and give them a chance to interact with early-stage, science-based companies. Students will work with technical founders admitted to the Creative Destruction Lab programme (CDL) on bespoke challenges, such as developing financial models, evaluating potential markets or fine-tune strategies for scaling.

The programme

Who is it for?

MBA candidates, as well as all other students from across the University of Oxford.

When does the it take place?

October 2020 - April 2021. 


  • Workshops - A series of 5 workshops will provide an introduction to artificial intelligence and educate students on how to be an effective start-up consultant. Workshops are interactive and require significant involvement from students, as well as an extensive group work.


  • Sessions - All ventures admitted to the programme attend up to 5 CDL sessions, spread approximately 8 weeks apart. These intense, day-long events include small-group meetings with mentors in order to formulate 3 draft objectives for the venture to sprint towards over the next 8 weeks. Following these, all mentors convene in a large-group discussion during which each venture, and its prospective objectives, are presented, debated and finalised.


  1. Session #1 - All students admitted to the programme will observe a block (ie portion) of the large-group discussion and will meet ventures in the evening. Students will submit the 3 ventures they are most keen to work with the following day, and CDL-Oxford will do its best to accommodate student preferences.
  2. Sessions #2-4 - It is to the venture’s discretion whether they invite their assigned students to the venture’s small-group meetings; students are guaranteed observation in one block of the large-group discussion from Sessions 2 to 4 (students are welcome to watch the entire large-group discussion at each session from the streaming room). 


  • Tutorials - Students will work in teams of 1-3 people. They will receive team-based tutoring throughout the process including:


  1. An evening debrief after sessions #2, #3 and #4 with the tutor.
  2. 2 tutorials of 45 minutes each.  Exact tutorial times and locations are to be determined with individual tutors.


  • Consulting challenges - After session #2, all students teams will have been matched to a venture and will be given a consulting challenge that revolves around the venture's 8-week objectives.  Examples of consulting challenges include analysing potential market segments for a venture's technology, developing a go-to-market strategy, or building a financial model for fundraising purposes.

Applications for the 2019 cohort are now closed.


Creative Destruction Lab - Oxford

artificial intelligence

The lab is a seed-stage programme for massively scalable science-based companies.

The lab is a start-up programme for early-stage, science- and technology-based companies that have the potential to massively scale. The programme’s objective-setting process enhances the performance of technical founders who learn from the insights of experienced entrepreneurs. Since 2012, over 900 companies have participated in the CDL. The successful commercialisation of cutting-edge science achieved through the programme has led to the creation of over £2.5 billion in equity value.

CDL-Oxford, hosted at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, was launched in 2019 and is the first CDL site in Europe. It offers the Artificial Intelligence Stream and in its first year will run a cohort of 25 start-ups from across the UK, Europe and beyond.