Case studies

“World-class” strategy

Setting the direction for Saïd Business School to compete with the best in the global executive education market

Deloitte was appointed by Saïd Business School (SBS), part of the world-famous University of Oxford, to develop a strategy for accelerating the growth and enhancing the quality of its Executive Education programme. The firm was selected for its unique combination of Higher Education insight and experience; and the specialised methodology it employs to support strategic decision making.

SBS’s vision is to be a “world-class business school, embedded in a world-class university, solving world-class problems.” The school has a leading reputation and had delivered outstanding growth in recent years. However, growing interest and demand threatened to overwhelm an already strained operating model.

Recent successes and rapid growth meant that the SBS leadership were faced with a clear strategic choice: to ‘hold steady’ and remain a small boutique or to set an ambitious growth target and more fully support the vision for the School as a whole. . The leadership of the school had an appetite to grow further, and to bring together a number of business development activities happening in entrepreneurial silos under a single strategy. They knew however that expansion would expose resource gaps in terms of faculty and staff, and wanted to analyse the likely consequences of this approach both strategically and financially, as well as to understand more about how they arrived at their current position and how these givens would impact their options for development moving forwards.

Through a series of structured and facilitated workshops, Deloitte engaged SBS’s leadership and key faculty members – including a number of professors in management and strategy – in challenging and refining the strategic plan. The seniority, expertise and disparate viewpoints of the stakeholder group made it a significant challenge to lead these workshops and build acceptance and consensus around a plan.

The resulting five-year strategy, which included a detailed financial model, clearly articulated the choices made by SBS leadership to grow further. It set out a vision for a significantly enhanced and expanded Executive Education offer at SBS. Since the project completed, revenues at SBS have increased by 12% and its Open Programmes are now ranked #1 in the UK and #10 in the world.

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This project has been shortlisted for the Management Consultancy Association’s 2016 Awards in the Strategy category.

“Outstanding commitment to the project by the team. They went over and above what was expected and brought excellent skills to the project. This has had a major positive impact on SBS. [Of particular value was] the experience the team had with working with our culture; the balance between respecting this – but also bringing a new perspective. Also, the way the team worked with my team – this taught them new things as well. I did not expect this – it was great to see it. The effort and capability of the team was excellent and was a real credit to Deloitte from my point of view.”

Andrew White, Associate Dean for Executive Education, Saïd Business School – University of Oxford

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