Oxford Executive MBA Entry Requirements

Studying an Executive MBA (EMBA) at Oxford can be a great way of levelling up your knowledge, developing your higher-level skills, and unlocking the door to new roles, companies and career paths. However, Oxford’s EMBA is extremely competitive, and it is essential that applicants go above and beyond the minimum entry requirements in order to have a realistic chance of securing a place.

This guide goes through all of the entry requirements for the Oxford EMBA programme, including what qualifications, work experience and additional tests you need to complete in order to maximise your chances of receiving an offer.

What is Oxford’s Executive MBA?

Oxford’s Executive MBA programme is a part-time course spread over 22-24 months. It is designed to help you explore the answers to complex business issues as well as how to innovate, lead, and navigate change in business practice. The programme is designed for busy and experienced professionals to study alongside full-time roles, with the average age of a typical Executive MBA class being 41.

Oxford’s EMBA is structured around three key themes: entrepreneurial thinking, strategic leadership, and global complexity and risk. These themes are woven into three main structural elements:

  • Core courses – these are compulsory modules that offer you a comprehensive understanding of business in the modern world. The content and locations of core courses vary.
  • Elective courses – these are modules that are selected by you and allow you to develop your individual skills and specialisations.
  • Compulsory projects – the Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford (GOTO) project and the Entrepreneurship Project (EP) are both team collaborations which tie together and apply themes and topics studied on the programme.

Oxford Executive MBA entry requirements

Academic qualifications

To apply for the Oxford Executive MBA, you will usually need a minimum of a good 2:1 or first-class undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional qualification. You may also be considered if you have a very strong fast-track employment history.

As part of the application process, you will be required to attach your degree transcripts (documents outlining the subjects you studied and grades you obtained during your past degree/s). If your transcripts are not in English, you will need to have them translated into English and verified by an official source, such as an official translator or the British Council.

Professional experience

Oxford requires Executive MBA applicants to have at least five years’ managerial experience, however, most successful applicants are able to demonstrate long and successful careers with more than five years in managerial/executive positions. EMBA applicants are expected to continue working full-time during the programme, so you will need to show evidence of your employment status and career plan.

Additional essays

As part of the application form, you will need to complete three essays – the exact essay questions vary from year to year, but they will typically be related to your professional experience and resemble questions you might be asked in a job interview. For example, they may include questions about your motivation for applying for an EMBA and be looking to assess your self-awareness and analytical ability. Below is an example set of questions from previous years:

  • Essay 1: Please outline your career objectives and explain how the Executive MBA would help you achieve them. (~500 words)
  • Essay 2: If we asked your closest associates to describe you, what would they say? Which adjectives would they use and why? What would they say are your strengths and weaknesses? (~500 words)
  • Essay 3: Describe an aspect of your organisation which could be viewed as ‘problematic’. Briefly outline three different action plans which could be implemented to deal with the issues involved, assessing the advantages and disadvantages of each. (Maximum 2,000 words)

Make sure that you draw on specific examples from your professional experience when answering these questions. You are not required to submit a personal statement, so this is one of the only opportunities you have to sell yourself to Oxford’s EMBA admissions team. We recommend asking someone experienced in the EMBA process, like an admissions tutor, to proofread your answers to ensure they are as effective as possible.

Admissions test

In most cases, you will be required to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or Executive Assessment (EA). The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Executive Assessment (EA) are tests that are designed to assess your thinking skills and abilities, as well as demonstrate your preparedness for re-entering a rigorous academic environment.

The average GMAT score for Oxford’s MBA programme is 690, so you should aim for this as a benchmark when preparing for the test. If you decide to take the EA test, you’ll need a score of at least 150. Although your application will be considered as a whole, a high GMAT/EA score can help you stand out from other highly competitive applicants. Some exemptions from taking the GMAT/EA may apply; you should reach out to Oxford’s recruitment team to find out more.

For tips on how to prepare for the GMAT and maximise your score, you can use Oxford’s GMAT practice test, read our helpful guide, or reach out to our team to be matched with a professional GMAT tutor today.

English language proficiency

To study Oxford’s Executive MBA, you will need to demonstrate your English language fluency. If English is not your first language or you are not from a majority English-speaking country, you will need to take an English proficiency test.

The most common English language proficiency tests accepted by Oxford are the TOEFL and IELTS. If you are taking the TOEFL, you will need to achieve a score of 110 (Listening: 22, Reading: 24, Writing: 24 and Speaking: 25). If you are taking the IELTS, you will need to achieve a score of 7.5 with no sub score less than 7.0. Our guides provide more detailed information and tips on how to prepare for the IELTS and TOEFL.

References

You will need to submit two references as part of your Executive MBA application: these can either be professional references or academic references, but ideally one of each. Suitable referees typically include a line manager or direct supervisor (professional reference) and an academic tutor or member of your department who worked with you closely (academic reference). You must provide valid work/professional/institutional email addresses for each referee.

Your references are one of the most important parts of your application, so you should select your referees carefully. Make sure that the people you choose know your strengths and weaknesses well and can comment on your academic achievements/career and current performance objectively and reliably.

How can we help?

The Profs’ MBA admissions experts can provide you with invaluable support with your application to the Executive MBA course at Oxford. 90% of our tutors have postgraduate degrees, including MBAs, and many have worked for years in senior roles, including CEOs, Professors, Barristers, Vice Presidents of top companies, and Senior Executives. This makes our tutors best placed to give expert advice on your suitability for the Oxford Executive MBA programme and how to show you meet the entry requirements in your application. Reach out to our team today to access support.

FAQs

What is the difference between an MBA and an EMBA?

Both MBAs (Master of Business Administration) and EMBAs (Executive Master of Business Administration) are postgraduate qualifications designed to equip students with the tools and connections to enhance their knowledge of business and unlock new career opportunities. However, there are several differences between the two.

Firstly, the entry requirements for MBAs and EMBAs are different. MBAs typically require at least three years of experience, whilst EMBAs typically consider applicants with more than six years of experience. In addition, MBA applicants are expected to have some managerial experience, whilst EMBAs are expected to be senior executives with lots of managerial experience.

How much does an Oxford Executive MBA cost?

The Executive MBA Oxford fees are £106,540. There are also other costs associated with Oxford’s EMBA, including living costs, which you will need to calculate before applying. There are scholarships and funding opportunities for the Oxford Executive MBA which are listed on the university’s website. Make sure you check the deadlines associated with any funding opportunities, as they may be different from the application deadline. If you cannot secure funding, you will be expected to cover all costs yourself.

What is the Oxford Executive MBA acceptance rate?

The acceptance rate for Oxford’s Executive MBA programme was around 55% in 2019/2020. Oxford’s Executive MBA is very competitive and requires top academic and professional experience, as well as a stand-out application.

Does Oxford interview for Executive MBA?

Oxford does hold interviews for its Executive MBA course. Once Oxford has received your application, it will be reviewed and you may be shortlisted for interview. This interview will take place either in person in Oxford or online via video call.

Do I need to choose a college for Oxford EMBA?

You can indicate a college preference when applying for the Executive MBA programme at Oxford. In order to have the best chance of getting into your chosen college, it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible once applications have opened, as spaces will fill up quickly.

When is the application deadline for Oxford’s Executive MBA programme?

Applications for Oxford’s Executive MBA programme are separated into stages 1-5. Typically, the deadline for stage 1 is in January, stage 2 in February, stage 3 in April, stage 4 in May, and the final stage 5 deadline in July. You can apply during any of these stages, however, the sooner you apply, the more likely you are to be allocated your chosen college.