University Of Oxford Said Business School Essay Analysis 2021

August 30th, 2018

| Last Updated on February 5, 2021
Said Business School Essay Analysis 2020-2021

If you are applying to the Saïd Business School in 2020-21 and unsure how to write the essays, you have come to the right place. In this blog, we will be helping you understand how to approach the application essays, so you send in a winning application.

Before we get into the essays, let us look at the advantage of an MBA at Saïd Business School:

1. Getting associated with Oxford, one of the oldest educational institutions in the world (it is older than the Aztec civilization!)

2. Gaining a qualitative and quantitative educational experience – something that is different from what is offered by the conventional MBA programs in the US.

3. Gaining a two-year UK work permit post your MBA program – a key requirement for international students.

Saïd Business School has the usual requirements that most MBA programs have, including submitting your Undergrad transcripts, your GMAT/GRE score, and other details. If you wish to know more about Saïd Business School, we have a curated list of all the essential information for you right here.

If you would like to watch what our GMAT and MBA Expert, Arun Jagannathan has to say about writing your Saïd Business School MBA application essays, you can watch the video here.

Now let’s dive into the essay requirements for Saïd Business School.


Taking a different route from most B-school, Saïd focuses mainly on video essays rather than lengthy written essays. This is a trend that we observe at many top schools – most of which believe that a video representation of who you are is a better way to judge your personality.

We will first discuss the written essays section and then proceed towards the video essays.

Essay Question 1:

Tell us something that is not covered in your application which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you.
Maximum 250 words

Before you write this essay, think about the possible questions that the Saïd admissions team can have regarding you as a person. Will they have some misperception if you have, for example, switched many jobs? Perhaps you scored low in a particular year in college, and that might reflect poorly on your application. The main aim of the optional essay is to preempt every question about your personal or professional life.

If you are re-applying to Saïd, you will have to write an additional essay.

Essay Question 2: For Reapplicants

What improvements have you made in your candidacy since you last applied to the Oxford MBA? Maximum 250 words

This is an important essay for reapplicants because the Admissions team who rejected you previously will want to know how you have grown in this period. They will be interested to know what has been different about you since you last applied for admissions. Be careful to give them a good reason to consider you this year.


Before analyzing the Online Assessment section or the video essays, let us understand the purpose behind them.

A quote from their website perfectly sums up the ‘why’ behind the Online Assessment:

“To virtually meet you, get a sense of your personality and see how you think on your feet, you will need to complete an online assessment as part of your application.”

Look carefully at the keywords, ‘Get a sense of your personality,’ ‘How you think on your feet’- these are the qualities that Saïd is looking for in the students. The reason is that written words can be over-orchestrated with multiple edits and changes, but in a video essay, your presence of mind will help you get brownie points.

Now the million-dollar question is: How do you do it?

Don’t worry; we are here to help you. All the students have to answer five questions and will have the same format for the video essays.

The questions are categorized as:

A. Two motivation-based questions: All candidates will answer the same question
B. Two competency-based questions: These will be randomized
C. Written response: These will be randomized and light-hearted to show how you can think on your feet!

Now let us discuss these different question patterns in detail.

A. Motivation based question:

1. Why do you want to do an MBA?

2. Why is an Oxford MBA the best program for you?

– For the first question, you will need to set the context for your why. You do not have to mention the Oxford MBA as you have another question addressing that issue. You need to address three smaller questions, which will tie up to form the answer.

– For the second question, you should be as specific as possible. Remember to mention how the program will help you advance in your career. For this, you can take the help of your answer to the previous essay as well. That way, you can tie in the context of your why.

The questions are:

1. Where are you currently?

2. Where do you want to go?

3. What is the advantage that an MBA will provide you?

Keep in mind to be specific and structured. You can use the following three questions to help craft the Motivation-based questions.

The questions are:

1. Where are you currently?

2. Where do you want to go?

3. What is the advantage that an MBA will provide you?

B. Competency-based question:

Although these questions are randomized, you can judge the type of questions you might have to attempt if you check out the previous year’s questions. Some of them are as follows:

1. Tell us about a time you asked for help. How did it go?

2. Tell us about a time you were overloaded with work. How did you handle it?

3. How are you able to convince a project member?

Do not worry too much as there is a list of 10 questions you can prepare beforehand. But remember to keep a couple of examples in your mind; this will be useful when challenged. Then you can cite an example of a particular project.

C. Written response:

For this section, you are provided with fun and light-hearted questions to showcase your quick thinking capabilities. We will also share some of the previously asked questions to help you gain a perspective.

1. What do you like more? Cats or dogs?

2. What do you prefer more? Apples or oranges?

Do not try and find the logic behind these questions; the focus is to see how quickly you can think on your feet.

Remember that the admissions team is looking for your ability to think on your feet, sense of humor, and ability to play with words.

Now that you have understood the type of questions you will have to answer, let us discuss another critical aspect before attempting these video essays.


1. Remind yourself that you will do your best only if you are comfortable. Please do not get conscious that you are taking a test in front of a camera. Remember to be your authentic self.

2. Prepare a response for 60 seconds. Before the video essay begins, Kira will receive a prompt and a countdown timer; all you have to do is enable access for your camera and your microphone.

3. Since practice makes a (wo)man perfect, you can visit the Kira Testing Platform and practice with their test questions for your video essays.

4. Remember to prepare for the motivation based question beforehand to just speak out your answers without overthinking.

5. For the other sections, the questions will be random, and so the only way you can prepare is to have a precise thought process and cite specific examples. This will help solidify your words.

We are confident that you can face your video essay round with more clarity and conviction if you follow the advice mentioned above.


Application deadlines for the Oxford Saïd MBA class of 2021-22
Stage 3 Jan 8, 2021
Stage 4 Apr 9, 2021
Interview decisions
Stage 3 Jan 29, 2021
Stage 4 Apr 30, 2021
Final decisions
Stage 3 Mar 19, 2021
Stage 4 May 28, 2021

Now that you know Saïd’s application essay requirements, you can go ahead and confidently attempt them. Whenever you require any help, you can always refer to the tips mentioned above.

It is essential to be structured and precise and to understand the intent of the essay questions.

If you require our help in drafting and reviewing your essays, you can always reach out to us. Click on the image below and get in touch with our expert.