The Skoll Scholarship is a competitive scholarship for incoming MBA students to Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, who pursue entrepreneurial solutions for urgent social and environmental challenges. The Scholarship covers the full course fees for the MBA programme, as well as partial living expenses of at least an additional £14,985.
The Skoll Scholarship provides funding for entrepreneurs who have set up or have been working in entrepreneurial initiatives with a social purpose or who have pursued an impact career, and who wish to improve their knowledge of market-oriented practices so they can be more effective in their subsequent social change pursuits.
In addition to financial support, the Scholarship provides access to the Skoll Scholar community, a group of leaders who are positively impacting the world through innovation and systems change, as well as exclusive opportunities to meet with world-renowned entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and investors.
The Scholarship is given in recognition that the MBA may represent a significant financial burden, particularly for those who have chosen to work in the social impact/innovation space rather than the purely commercial or public sectors.
How to Apply
To apply for the Skoll Scholarship follow these steps:
- Connect with us to register your interest in the Scholarship and make sure you’re kept up to date with announcements about upcoming deadlines.
- Apply for the Oxford MBA programme directly to Saïd Business School. You’ll need to do this during stages 1,2, or 3 of the MBA admissions process for the 2021-22 academic year. See details below on applying for an MBA admissions fee waiver.
- Upload your answers to the Skoll Scholarship essay questions as part of your MBA application, and submit your MBA application! You’ll find the Scholarship essay questions under the “Funding” section of the MBA application. We would advise that you allow yourself about 1-weeks’ time to answer the Skoll Scholarship essay questions.
- The MBA Admissions Team will then assess your application to ensure you meet the academic requirements sought by the Saïd Business School and determine if you are accepted onto the MBA programme or not.
- If you’ve received confirmation that you have been accepted onto the MBA programme, keep an eye on your emails as the Skoll Centre will send you a link to the second part of the Scholarship application, which is a Logistics and Reference Form. See timelines below to know when to expect this email.
- Complete the Logistics and Reference Form. This consists of a series of short questions about you, how you heard about the Scholarship, your references, etc. Please note, your referees will not be contacted unless you get to the final stages of the selection process.
That’s it! The Skoll Centre will then consider your candidacy for the Scholarship and advise you accordingly.
What comes next?
- If your written applications are successful, you’ll be invited to join a virtual interview with the Skoll Scholarship Selection Committee.
- If you are successful after your virtual interview, you will be invited to interview in person in Oxford. (Please see below for the steps and timelines of each interview stage; and please be aware you may be invited to further interviews if necessary.)
We encourage you to apply to the MBA as early as possible. If you have applied during stage 3, but the decision on your MBA application has been pushed back by the School’s Admissions Team you will need to let us know if you still want to be eligible for the Skoll Scholarship. We will decide on a case by case basis if you are eligible to continue with the Scholarship application process.
Important things to note
- We cannot consider candidates who have not submitted their Scholarship essays, been accepted by Saïd Business School for the MBA and completed the Logistics and Reference Form by the appropriate deadlines.
- We typically award up to four scholarships per year.
- Please note, should your MBA application be successful, a deposit is required in order to secure your place on the MBA programme. However, deposit deadlines will be extended to those who advance throughout the Skoll Scholarship selection process. This will be coordinated with the Admissions Team.
- Please do not request the Logistics and Reference Form from the Admissions Team – you will need to complete the Scholarship essays as part of your MBA application and you will receive the Logistics and Reference Form from the Skoll Centre via email following your acceptance to the MBA programme on the date listed below.
- If you have further questions about the application process, please check our FAQs. If you still have questions, you can contact us at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help.
Candidates must apply to the Oxford MBA programme during specific stages of the School’s application rounds to be considered for the Skoll Scholarship. Timelines for the 2021-22 academic year are as follows (please note exact dates are to be confirmed and subject to change):
Apply for the Oxford Saïd MBA during stages 1, 2 or 3 (including submitting your Skoll Scholarship essays)
|Apply by 8 January 2021 (at the latest)|
|MBA final decision from Oxford Saïd||March 2021|
|Skoll Scholarship Logistics and Reference Form sent to accepted candidates||March 2021|
|Skoll Scholarship Logistics and Reference Form submission deadline||Early April 2021|
|First stage interviews (virtual)||End April/Early May 2021|
|Final stage interviews (virtual)||May 2021|
|Skoll Scholarship final decision||May 2021|
Scholarship Duration and Reward
The Skoll Centre wants to provide educational opportunities to a diverse range of entrepreneurs, including those from developing countries, marginalised communities, or those who are putting their time into a social venture/career at significant personal cost. The Centre has a limited number of admissions fee waivers we are able to grant each academic year. If you are unsalaried or have an income which may preclude you from applying to study on the MBA programme because you cannot afford the admissions fee, you can apply for a fee waiver from the Centre. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis and is non-negotiable. If you would like to apply for a waiver, you should be confident you meet the requirements for the MBA and the Skoll Scholarship.
To apply for an admissions fee waiver, send your CV and a covering letter to [email protected]. Please apply for the fee waiver before submitting your MBA application
The CV should be no longer than two pages and the covering letter should:
- explain your financial circumstances and why you cannot afford the fee and;
- explain why your work in the social impact space (and its resulting outcomes/impact) makes you a strong candidate for the Skoll Scholarship.
1. Entrepreneurial action
- You have identified opportunities and taken action in order to make positive social impact
- You have spent preferably at least 3 years driving change through entrepreneurial approaches. For example, you could have:
- Started or grown a social venture
- OR created and led the expansion of a social impact initiative within an organisation
- OR been tackling a specific social/environmental issue, through a core thread that unites your work
2. Creating Impact with a focus on systems change
- You can demonstrate the outcomes and impact of your entrepreneurial action
- Your impact addresses unjust systems and practises in your area of work
3. Personal qualities of a social entrepreneur
- You are a force for positive change
- You are single-minded and persistent, with a willingness to fail and start again
- You have bias toward action
- You have a tendency to explore your environment for opportunities and resources
- You have a willingness to take personal, and sometimes financial, risks
- You develop networks and leverage members to pursue mutual goals
- You have apprenticed with the problem* or experienced the problem you are trying to solve
4. The Oxford MBA is critical to your career trajectory
- You can demonstrate why business education is essential in helping to develop your work/impact at this stage
5. Financial need
- You are in a position where the cost of the programme is a significant financial burden
- You can demonstrate the need for the Scholarship (for example, due to previous work experiences or personal circumstances)
*“Apprenticing with a Problem”, a term we borrowed from Jessamyn Shams-Lau at the Peery Foundation, refers to someone developing a deep understanding of a problem they did not live through themselves, e.g. by working in the field, working at a related organisation, conducting research, etc. A simple example of someone apprenticing with a problem is a teacher who has gone on to start an education-focused non-profit.
Diversity and Inclusion: We value and encourage diversity within the Skoll Scholarship Community. In order to successfully tackle world-scale problems, we must bring together individuals from different cultures, religions, sectors, genders, backgrounds, and ideologies to create collaborative solutions. Belonging to a diverse community enriches our Scholars’ learning experience, teaches them to challenge ideas and be challenged in a respectful manner, and fosters a global perspective necessary in today’s world. Therefore, we encourage all candidates to apply for the Scholarship, especially women, members of historically underrepresented groups, and those from the global