Core themes


The Oxford Executive MBA is structured around three core themes:

  1. Entrepreneurial thinking
  2. Strategic leadership
  3. Global complexity and risk

Entrepreneurial thinking

Develop the ability to think entrepreneurially in any organisational context.

You will leave the programme with an entrepreneurial mindset, irrespective of whether you are working in a large corporation or starting up your own venture.

Entrepreneurship Project

This focus is reflected in the entrepreneurship project, which every student participates in and which has culminated in many new ventures, companies and in-company organisational initiatives.

You will have the opportunity to develop a complete business plan and recruit fellow students to your team or join a new start-up proposed by a fellow student. Undertaken either as the result of a proposal put forward by your sponsoring organisation, an EMBA colleague, or created around your own entrepreneurial idea, the completed plan must be attractive to an investor; the numbers must add up, the competition must have been understood, and a winning strategy developed. You and your team will be required to present your plan to a panel of faculty associates who are skilled in assessing the feasibility of a new venture.

If undertaking a work-based project is a motivation for you to undertake the programme, you may want to incorporate this into a business case for employer sponsorship. 

At the end of the programme, I ended up with a project that not only satisfied my boss, but, when we took it to the board of directors and presented it, they unanimously endorsed the idea at the first draft and committed over ten million dollars of funding. Plus I was promoted to spearhead the entire implementation of the five phase plan.

Stephan Poirier

Vice-President, Business Development, The Calgary Airport Authority

Strategic leadership

Build the decision-making abilities and self-awareness to become a leader capable of delivering sustainable success in any business sector.

You will develop new leadership capabilities, vital self-awareness, and use new ways of thinking to tackle your specific business challenges that they face. Alongside the core curriculum, our focus on leadership will allow you to develop yourself as a leader who can inspire others to achieve your organisation’s goals.

Individual leadership coaching

As well as the core and elective leadership modules, you experience a leadership development focus through the programme. The school’s Coaching Community is a group of dedicated, experienced coaches who work regularly with senior managers on our executive programmes. We match you with one of our coaches when you arrive in Oxford, and you meet with them at five key points during the programme.

Sessions are designed to help you prepare for your future professional challenges, consider the best way of achieving your goals, identify ways of managing your role in an uncertain global business environment, and reflect on how you can make the greatest possible impact as a leader.

Personal leadership development

At Oxford, we recognise that the individual is the most powerful force for leadership development and organisational change. 

During the programme you will examine the role of personality in team dynamics, working in groups and on an individual basis to explore insights about yourself and your potential as a leader.

Executive career development

Our aim is to help you reflect on and prepare for your future career, whether in a new role or maximising your impact in your current organisation.

The Executive Careers Team recognises the broad spectrum of potential executive career pathways.

Whatever your aspirations and wherever you are in your executive career journey, Executive MBA students are invited to engage in a unique career development support programme to help you reflect on, develop and activate your career development trajectory.

The three stage Executive Career Development Programme provides a pathway for reflecting on your vision and purpose, discovering a roadmap and activating your plan.  

Dedicated EMBA Career Coaches will partner with you to provide personalised one-to-one support and guidance, with access to specialist industry advisors. Resources also include a programme of bespoke career workshops, events information sessions, and a range on online resources to help inform your choices and support you in activating your plan. 

The Career Development Programme offers the flexibility of virtual engagement both during and between modules.

Global complexity and risk

Understand the landscape in which businesses operate to be able to mitigate risks and seize opportunities, worldwide.

These themes are supported by ground-breaking research taking place at the University’s many research centres, examining pressing issues such as the impact of ageing populations, threats to cyber-security, the causes of international financial meltdown and the reliance on ever-diminishing natural resources.

You will explore ideas of global complexity first-hand as part of the internationally-based modules.

Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford (GOTO)

As an Oxford Executive MBA student, you will be required to examine big existential threats that will shape business agendas for decades. Participants will be actively involved in the Global Opportunities and Threats initiative, with the current topic being Climate Action. 

We completed case studies and studied the strategies of foreign companies entering China – the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. We also looked at the rapid development of local firms and how more and more of them are dominating the Chinese market. For me, the highlight of the trip is the actual company visits, where we move outside of the classroom, and into the offices of the domestic and foreign companies operating in China.

Christine Li-Auyeung

Senior Vice President, StoneCastle Partners, LLC


North America
South America
United Kingdom