Oxford Saïd vs Cambridge Judge: An MBA Comparison

Oxford and Cambridge universities

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge are two of the most elite institutions in the world. The MBA courses at their respective business schools, Oxford Saïd and Cambridge Judge, are among the world’s most coveted.

Both institutions figure prominently in the majority of business school rankings - but how do their MBA courses differ?


Oxford Saïd:

“Dominus illuminatio mea” - The Lord is my light

Cambridge Judge:

“Hinc lucem et pocula sacra” - From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge


Oxford Saïd:

Oxford, United Kingdom

‘The city of dreaming spires’ is home to Oxford University - the oldest institution in the English speaking world; the birthplace of the real Alice in Wonderland, and the home of more published writers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

Cambridge Judge:

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Cambridge is home to the world’s third-oldest surviving university and harbors healthy competition with Oxford. The city is the UK’s capital of punting, the home of Pink Floyd, and the birthplace of soccer as it’s played today.


According to the QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2018, the latest QS MBA ranking which analyzes the world’s top business schools - both institutions are in the top 20 in the world. Oxford’s Saïd ranks ninth, while Cambridge Judge comes in at 19th.


Oxford Saïd:

For the MBA class of 2018, the median GMAT of students was 690 and admittees had an average of five years of work experience. By far the most popular employment background of applicants is financial services.

Cambridge Judge:

For the MBA class of 2017, the average GMAT score was 696 and students had an average of six years of work experience. The most popular employment background of applicants is industry.


Oxford Saïd:

334 MBAs were admitted to the 2018 class with an average age of 28. Of the class, 92% are international students and 41% are female.

Cambridge Judge:

In the 2017 class, 208 students joined Cambridge Judge. Of the class, 29% are female and 44 different nationalities are represented.


Oxford Saïd:

Fees for the class of 2018/2019: £55,000 (US$72,314)

Cambridge Judge:

Fees for the class of 2018/2019: £53,000 (US$69,684)


Oxford Saïd:

Oxford’s one-year MBA program includes lectures, seminars, group work and team project work - the aim of which is to develop students’ abilities to think logically, laterally and independently.

The course begins with a two-week residential program, designed to introduce students to the course and life at the school. The launch period will introduce students to soft skills training and the beginnings of the fundamental skills they’ll need on the course. It also includes a one-day workshop with a guest speaker to introduce each year’s GOTO topic (Global Opportunities and Threats).

The first term consists of ‘core courses’, which builds the foundation of the qualification. Students will also begin working on their talent development plans, and the first integrative module takes place during this period. The second term consists of further core courses and the selection of students’ elective courses. The second integrative module also takes place during this period, and students will begin their GOTO project. The third term is a continuation of the elective courses along with the last integrative module. The Entrepreneurship Project will also take place during this time.

The summer term is comprised of three options: A six-week strategic consulting project, summer electives or an internship for at least six weeks. The course ends with a final session of lectures, workshops and celebrations.

Cambridge Judge:

Cambridge Judge’s MBA has four distinct sections across four terms. It follows a ‘micro to macro’ pathway to help students develop into competent business people.

The program commences with a two-week orientation, including pre-term courses. Each term results in a learning milestone being reached. It consists of four practical projects and two team projects.

The first term focuses on foundation studies, using analytical tools and problem framing. The second term focuses on decision-making in Business Models. The third term concentrates on global application, while the fourth term switches to the career aspects of MBA students.

As the program progresses, students can begin to personalize their routes by combining electives. Students have the option to take electives, participate in the Global Consulting Project, undertake one of 10 concentrations, participate in summer term activities and more.

Teaching style:

Oxford Saïd:

Saïd Business School’s teaching style is highly interactive and requires significant preparation before the class. The course has 24 contact hours a week, split between case studies and lectures. The use of study groups is a major focus of the course, that facilitate and encourage collaborative learning and working - beneficial skills in the working world. Presentations are required in many of the courses, to help students develop these skills.

Extra classes are offered in quantitative subjects and one-on-one help is available through ‘office hours’.

Cambridge Judge:

A distinctive feature of the Cambridge MBA is the focus on experiential learning. This means that there are regular opportunities for students to apply their developing knowledge and skills in groups, and individually, in a live setting. This solidifies the theory they’re taught and gives them real experience in the business world.

Teaching methods vary depending on the course and lecturer, but interaction and contribution from all students is a major focal point. Students are placed into study groups to help facilitate peer-to-peer learning, while faculty are accessible to help when needed. In-class debate is much encouraged and the diversity of the course means a global perspective is guaranteed.


Oxford Saïd:

Saïd Business School is a young and innovative institution. It is simultaneously part of a centuries-old world-class and world-famous university. In this way, it is a blend of new and old. The cutting-edge education is underpinned by ground-breaking research, remarkable facilities and some of the world’s brightest minds. All of this fosters a spirit of intellectual discovery, insight and collaboration.

Cambridge Judge:

Similarly, Cambridge Judge is a young business school that is part of an old, established, elite institution. The school fosters an air of camaraderie that means students have an almost unrivalled opportunity to network, and the connectedness of the institution means that students can associate with experts from a myriad of backgrounds.

Judge offers students a culture of knowledge, and it continually challenges its students and faculty to solve problems, to innovate and create new knowledge. Judge brings together the latest thinking from the academic and professional worlds, and uses this to stay abreast of developments in the business sector. Furthermore, the school is part of a rich business community. Cambridge itself is surrounded by science parks and facilities and ‘Silicon Fen’ is the most successful technology cluster in Europe.

Student life:

Oxford Saïd:

Students on Saïd’s MBA are also a part of the wider Oxford community and are able to participate in the huge variety of societies and clubs available. There are over 85 sports clubs to join, outstanding sports facilities, along with a range of social clubs and societies. Furthermore, the individual colleges which make up Oxford have many of their own musical and social clubs. Students can also get involved in the student union and the Oxford Union - the world’s most famous debating society, with previous guest speakers including Malcolm X, Stephen Hawking and Benazir Bhutto.

Cambridge Judge:

As part of Cambridge Judge Business School, students will also be part of the wider University of Cambridge. Cambridge has hundreds of student societies and clubs, covering sport, hobbies, politics, music and art. Students can also participate in the student union or volunteer for charities.

In a similar vein to Oxford, the colleges themselves have individual musical clubs, dramatics societies and sports teams - catering for all interests.

Employment outcomes:

Oxford Saïd:

Of the 2015-2016 class, 80% had accepted a job offer within three months of graduation. Of these, 64% indicated that they found the role with help from the university or alumni and 33% found positions individually.

The mean salary for graduates was £69,132 (US$91,882), with maximum salaries up to £300,000 (US$398,724) for those working in the finance sector. Prominent employers (those which hired more than two students) included Uber, Amazon and PwC.

The largest percentage of graduates pursued careers in finance at 25.1%. The second-largest sector for graduate recruitment was consulting at 23.4%, followed by technology (part of the global industry sector) which accounted for 22.3%. A further 10.3% went into social impact careers.

The most popular destination for graduates was Europe, with 48% remaining there. A further 19% moved to Asia and 14% to North America.

Cambridge Judge:

For the 2015-2016 Cambridge class, 92% had received a job offer three months after graduation and 89% were employed at that point. 98% of graduates switched country, function or industry sector after their time at Cambridge.

The average salary package for graduates was £99,025 (US$131,612). The largest employment sector was consulting, which hired 25% of students, followed by technology at 20%, internet/ e-commerce at 16%, and finance at 10%. Public Sector/ NGO workers made up 4% of graduate roles.

Of the graduating class, 33.3% remained in the UK, while 12.3% moved elsewhere in Western Europe. 17.3% moved to East Asia and 11.1% moved to the USA (the same percentage which moved to Southeast Asia).


Amelia Hopkins
Written by Amelia Hopkins

Amelia Hopkins is a writer for TopMBA, covering the latest news in business and business education. A graduate of the University of Leeds and Yorkshire native, she enjoys reading, travelling and talking incessantly about the countryside.

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