Like many leading MBA programs in the global arena, the University of Oxford Saïd Business School is continually working to enhance its opportunities for students, professors, and alumni. Most recently, the school expanded its global reach with the establishment of a new Global Leadership Council, which has the goal of advancing the school’s business education model. In addition, the second annual Responsible Business Forum provided a platform for the next generation of business leaders to address social and environmental issues.
Both the council and the forum brought together global companies and educational stakeholders to support the development of mutually beneficial relationships.
Global Leadership Council
The newly appointed Global Leadership Council comprises 28 current and former chairs, CEOs, and C-level executives and will provide independent advice and guidance to the school, helping Saïd and the broader university address the most pressing challenges in business and society.
In a press release, Saïd Dean Peter Tufano explained: “The council will help ensure that our activities remain forward thinking and relevant, to meet our mission of developing leaders with a thorough understanding of business and importantly, its broader role in society.” He added, “We are very grateful to the leaders who have joined the council—their advice and insights will be invaluable.”
The 28-member council consists of leaders from top organizations in both the private and public sectors, including Apple, BlackRock, L’Oréal, McKinsey, UBS, Santander, and CreditEase. Each leader will advise the school on strategy and initiatives that promote Saïd’s global profile, including its relations with the corporate sector, program development, and research.
Ning Tang, CEO of CreditEase and one of the leaders appointed to the council, said in a press release: “I am humbled to be appointed to Oxford Said’s Global Leadership Council and excited to be an active contributor to the school’s mission as it strives ahead. I look forward to working with the global leaders on the council, giving advice and providing insights to help foster forward thinking in addressing the world-scale challenges we face today.”
Sam Laidlaw, executive chairman of Neptune Oil and Gas Limited and former CEO of Centrica, will chair the council. Laidlaw has had a distinguished 30-year career in the energy industry. His previous roles include executive vice president of Chevron Corporation, non-executive director of Hanson PLC, chief executive officer of Enterprise Oil PLC, and president and chief operating officer of Amerada Hess Corporation. He’s also a member of the U.K. Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group and was a senior director of the U.K. Department of Transport.
Of his appointment as the chair of the Global Leadership Council and its impact on Saïd, he said: “Oxford Saïd celebrates its 21st anniversary this year and it has achieved a great deal in a relatively short time. The new council will help the school build on this success and focus on the trends that will define the future, and the organizations and leaders that will shape it.”
Responsible Business Forum
Oxford also hosted the second annual Responsible Business Forum recently. This event brought together global companies to share their experiences tackling business challenges with Saïd MBA students. Nearly 300 MBA students attended the forum alongside representatives from organizations such as Mars, Dell, and Marks & Spencer, all of whom led case studies and master classes at the event. The forum is a core module of the MBA program and is designed to deepen students’ understanding of the relationship between business and society—specifically, as it relates to challenges in the workplace.
Colin Mayer CBE, Saïd professor of management studies, led the forum. In a news release from the university, he explained: “We need a paradigm shift in this area to change not only business practice but also the intellectual agenda. So long as business education continues to preach the Friedman doctrine [which implies that there is only one social responsibility of business, to increase profits in open and free competition] then we’re in no better position to change practice than in the past. We need to recognize that the management change that’s needed cannot be incidental, it has to be intentional and a core part of business going forward.”
Throughout the forum, MBA students had the opportunity to learn about ways companies have simultaneously created financial, social, and environmental value through various forms of ownership, governance, management, leadership, and measurement.
Maren Mende, an MBA student who attended the event, praised the forum: “What I find encouraging is I’m surrounded by a cohort of students, friends and faculty who feel and think the same way and have the collective power, as we spread out across industries and geographies, to take business on its final step on its journey towards mutuality.”