Feature of the Week

May 13, 2013 12:02 pm

Oxford’s Saïd school uses technology to link MBAs with alumni

Virtually every business school talks about integrating management teaching with that of other university departments to address the needs of an increasingly complex world. However talk is cheap and action often difficult.

At the Saïd school at the University of Oxford, dean Peter Tufano has nailed his colours firmly to the mast, effectively making this issue the hallmark of his tenure at the business school. His latest venture not only brings together university departments from across the city, but both students and alumni, addressing issues around lifelong learning.

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The Global Opportunities and Threats, Oxford – Goto for short – is a website that combines the teaching of a range of specialists from across the university on a single topic, using video, infographics and blogs to get the message across. Launched in January, Goto’s topic for the first year is demography, to be followed in 2014 by big data and in 2015 by natural resources.

One of the briefs for Goto was that it had to be instructive and appealing for both MBA students and alumni of the university – the site is accessible to all 10,000 Oxford alumni in the business world. “Alumni will only do things if they are interested,” says Prof Tufano.

All those given access to the site can see videos, data and graphics. Additionally, MBA students have access to tutorials and academic papers. In the next version of the website, students and alumni from across the university will be invited to participate and in the third phase other institutions from outside Oxford will be involved. The project is both scalable and adaptive to different platforms, says the dean.

“This is what it starts to look like to get a business school embedded in a university,” says Prof Tufano, who was a professor at Harvard Business School before he joined Saïd. “I want to create a really strong community.”

Goto is Prof Tufano’s second big project in galvanising the business school and other university departments to work together. In November 2011 he announced the business school’s “1+1” programme, which has enabled students to study an Oxford specialist master’s degree and an MBA in two years.

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