Damiano Pietroni




United Kingdom




Sep 2018 - May 2020

By Damiano Pietroni

Strategy as an Oxford Executive MBA

There are plenty of opportunities to learn more about strategy as a topic as a student on the Oxford Executive MBA. First, the Strategy module, which is a year one module taken by all candidates, covers both strategy frameworks and theory, and thinking around strategy implementation. The course is highly interesting, and the interactions between students, many of which play an active role in the shaping of strategy at their organizations, ensure that discussions are always grounded in reality. To complement the mandatory strategy course, there are multiple elective modules which cover topics related to strategy, including innovation, negotiation, and business history.

Second, for those who wish to specialize in strategy, the Oxford Saïd Strategy Group acts as a hub for research focusing on both strategy theory and practice. In the last few years examples of research topics are dynamics of competitive advantage, analysis of the foundation of markets and industries, and social entrepreneurship. Having a research group focusing on strategy specifically is of great value to EMBA students as it increases the chances of finding scholars interested in the more niche areas of strategy research.

Third, for those keen on gaining hands on experience of strategy consulting, the Oxford Strategy Group, and the Oxford Strategy Group Digital, which are student run management consultancies, provide the opportunity to work on strategy engagements for real clients. The focus of the first is classic strategy, including growth strategy and market entry; the focus of the second is data driven advisory. The organizations are both open to students across all subjects at the University of Oxford, both undergraduate and post-graduate, meaning that EMBAs that join, and it is a competitive process to be accepted, get to learn and interact with a very varied cohort of students.

Fourth, for the EMBA students keen on transitioning to strategy consulting as a career, the Oxford Saïd Business School provides access to industry advisors with extensive experience of the industry who can provide guidance and indications on how to make the transition. This approach works particularly well for Executive MBA students, who tend to be more experienced and senior, and as such require tailored career advice. Furthermore, Oxford Executive MBA students can attend Oxford Saïd careers events, where leading strategy and management consulting organizations provide context on their work.

Fifth, for students who wish to complement their learning on the Executive MBA, the Oxford Saïd Business School offers the Diploma in Strategy and Innovation, which through four modules, namely Strategy, Innovation Strategy, Globalisation and Strategy and Strategy in Action, gives a comprehensive overview of how strategy and innovation can be understood and leveraged to provide long term competitive advantage. Completing both the Executive MBA and the Diploma would provide both a generalist and a specialist view on the topic of strategy, potentially differentiating EMBAs in the job market of strategy consulting.

Overall, through the modules on the programme, exposure to research, participation in student run consultancies, and career advice, an Oxford EMBA student has a wide array of opportunities to learn about strategy, equipping him / her well for both senior roles requiring an in depth understanding of the topic, and for careers focused on strategy such as strategy and management consulting.

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