The University of Oxford's Said Business School combines leading edge research with the highest level of instruction More people than ever are taking MBA courses, in part because there is a plethora of places offering them, from university business schools to executive education providers. One has to consider then the quality of the graduates. Do they actually have practical skills and the knowledge to make an immediate difference to their organisation? One determining factor for which course to enrol in is by recognition of the provider. Top MBA universities and executive education providers make great efforts to build their reputations as competition is so keen. One provider has an advantage thanks to its association with a world-class university - Said Business School, attached to the University of Oxford in Britain. Established in 1996, Said Business School is able to draw on the faculty and research facilities of Oxford, which translates into the highest level of instruction combined with leading edge research. The school's one-year MBA programme has been ranked in the top20 on a variety of lists, including the Financial Times. It is also one of Europe's fastest-growing business schools. Jan Allen, Careers Service, Said Business School, said that over the past 10 years many of the school's graduates had gone on to consulting and finance careers. 'However, we've seen an increasing interest in industry, such as social entrepreneurship, logistics, transportation and renewable energies. Our courses help students respond to the needs of the international market by addressing these areas,' she said. The programme is intensive, with three terms of eight weeks each. During their studies, students are exposed to doing business in different regions and looking at varying business practices. The case studies used are international, which reflect the international teaching faculty. Students often travel outside of Britain to take part in projects. 'Our students need to meet the challenge of working with people from radically different backgrounds. This gives them more international mobility than they would perhaps have attending another MBA programme,' Mrs Allen said. She said that recruiters were looking for MBA graduates to have academic excellence and a particular skill set. 'Employers want their MBA hires to be able to apply their experience from day one. They also need to have the ability to work effectively with people internationally, and to be able to think critically. This gives them flexibility, which helps companies take a leading position in the market.' Part of the curriculum is project-based, with students bidding on provided topics. They are also encouraged to source projects from organisations. Once they have accepted a project the students act as business consultants to a company, they are given a problem and then help the company to solve it, rather than solving it themselves. 'It's a hands-on programme. Working on the projects helps students to think analytically as well,' Mrs Allen said. Students see the Said Business School as a global meeting place, combining the academic world with business, social responsibility and environmental concerns. A well-rounded education, based on research and practical courses, provides MBA students from the school with the skills set to meet all of today's developments.