Oxford Saïd MBA Interview: Everything you Need to Know

By Arvind Kumar

After you submit your application online for the Oxford Saïd MBA and if you are shortlisted, the final step involves a 1:1 Interview with an Admissions Committee member. 

In this article, we will cover the format, duration and tips on how you can best prepare for the Oxford Saïd MBA Interview.

We will also go through the key values that Saïd Business School looks for in its MBA applicants, and some past (sample) questions.

Oxford Saïd MBA Interview: Format, Question Types 

Oxford Saïd MBA interviews are typically conducted by an AdCom member, and last for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

The interview covers an in-depth discussion of your application, and the AdCom would have access to all the details you submitted i.e. CV, essays, application form, etc.

The key values that Oxford MBA looks for in the interviews are your:

  • Communication skills
  • Authenticity
  • Leadership potential
  • Team-player mentality
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • International outlook
  • Social consciousness
  • Career journey and goals
  • Knowledge of Oxford Saïd and their offerings 

While most AdComs prepare questions specific to your application, they broadly tend to be around these categories:

  • Self Introspective: Here, you may be asked to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures etc. providing insights into your self-awareness. This question type aims to gauge your ability to assess personal and professional attributes, recognize improvement areas and effectively leverage your strengths.
  • Leadership: Oxford highly values this trait. This question type involves sharing specific instances of leadership experiences, highlighting your approach, decision-making, and impact. The idea here is to evaluate your leadership and negotiation style, ability to inspire others, and how you navigate challenges within a leadership role.
  • Behavioral: These are the “Tell Me About a Time (TMAT)” questions which delve into past experiences to predict future behavior. You might be asked to narrate a challenging situation you faced, the actions you took, and the outcomes. These questions assess problem-solving skills, resilience, and the capacity to learn and adapt from previous experiences.
  • Motivational: These questions aim to uncover the driving forces behind your pursuit of an MBA. You may be asked to articulate your journey so far and how an MBA fits in. The aim is to assess the clarity and sincerity of your motivations.
  • Career Goals: These revolve around your short-term and long-term career goals post MBA. While it’s good to be ambitious, having a practical plan on how you would achieve them is equally important. Be consistent with what you have mentioned in your application essays.

Tips for Oxford Saïd MBA Interview 

Have your Narrative Intact

Your story is your anchor. Be prepared to talk about your career, what led you to pursue an MBA and what your short-term and long-term career goals are.

Highlight the turning points, challenges you’ve overcome, and skills you’ve developed. The more authentically and confidently you shape your narrative, the more memorable you’ll be.

Prepare your Anecdote Bank

Behavioral questions are common in Oxford Saïd interviews. These are the typical “Tell Me about a Time (TMAT)” questions.

Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses. Provide specific examples from your experiences to illustrate your abilities, and try to align them to the key factors Oxford Saïd looks for (listed above). Having a repository of anecdotes helps, so you can tailor your responses.

Research the Program Thoroughly

Familiarize yourself with the Oxford Saïd MBA curriculum, professors, treks, unique opportunities, and even Oxford’s culture. Align your goals with what the program offers, and weave these connections organically into your answers.

Diving deep into the specifics of the Oxford Saïd MBA shows genuine interest, and this is a great way to stand out.

Engage in a Two-Way Conversation

Approach the interview as a conversation. Remember, this is about a two-way fit: not only whether you fit Oxford, but also whether Oxford fits you.

Prepare questions for the interviewer that go beyond basic information found on the school’s website. Ask about opportunities, experiences, or aspects of the program that genuinely interest you. This demonstrates your curiosity and engagement. 

One bad response to “Do you have any questions for me?” is “No”. 

Practice, but not too much

The more you practice interviewing, either by yourself or with a seasoned mentor/ coach, the better you’ll be able to rectify your mistakes, and fine-tune your content and delivery. Practice will also help you feel more confident to face questions, including those curveballs. 

Don’t over-practice either, to the extent that you sound overly scripted and robotic. 

Oxford MBA Interview Timelines 2023-2024

RoundApplication DeadlineInterview NotificationFinal Decision Notification
ROUND 1Sep 27, 2023Nov 8, 2023Dec 13, 2023
ROUND 2Jan 5, 2024Jan 31, 2024Mar 8, 2024
ROUND 3Mar 20, 2024Apr 17, 2024May 17, 2024

Oxford Saïd MBA Interview Questions Compilation

Here’s a compilation of questions that have been asked in past Oxford MBA interviews. Please consider this list indicative and not exhaustive:

  • Tell me something about yourself/ Walk me through your resume.
  • Please explain the rationale for your job switches, and how you evolved/ progressed.
  • How did you prepare for the interview today?
  • How will you introduce yourself to your classmates? 
  • Why MBA, and why now?
  • Why Oxford in particular?
  • What are your short-term, medium-term (3-5 years), and long-term (8-10 years) career goals? How will Oxford help you achieve these?
  • What are the top three elements (courses, electives, clubs, etc.) of the program that most excite you?
  • Which Oxford alumni have you connected with during your research? What did you learn from them?
  • What can you contribute to Oxford, professionally and personally? 
  • How would you become involved in your campus community?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment? Why?
  • What part do you see yourself playing in a collaborative effort in a team i.e. as a leader/ follower? 
  • Give some instances from your most recent experience that illustrate how the values taught at Oxford MBA relate to real-world situations.
  • Interests and Hobbies: questions such as “Why do you do a certain activity?”
  • Describe your leadership style, how it has changed, and how you believe you may improve
  • An example of a time you dealt with a challenging co-worker i.e. conflict? How did you deal with it, and what did you learn?
  • What would your friends say your strengths and weaknesses (or vulnerability) are?
  • How do you learn from your mistakes? What process do you follow? 
  • Speak about a juncture when you failed in a team environment. What did you do to overcome it?
  • Tell me about a time when you settled a problem within your team. How did you approach the coworker inside that? How did he react to it? What do you believe you might do better?
  • Tell me about a time you had to work with people from different cultures and nations 
  • Do you have a role model?
  • If you didn’t get into the Oxford MBA, what other options do you have?
  • Anything else you want Oxford to know about your profile?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Final Thoughts

As you prepare to face the Oxford Saïd MBA interview, remember that the interview is not just an assessment; it’s an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and demonstrate why you’re an ideal candidate for the Oxford MBA program.

With careful preparation and a strategic mindset, you can confidently navigate the interview process and leave a lasting impression.

If you’d like our support with mock interviews, please write to us at consultingteam[at]admitstreet[dot]com or fill in the form here and we’ll get back

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