50th Anniversary of Management Studies at Oxford University: an alumni message from Professor Peter Tufano
While Saïd Business School is not yet two decades old, the study of management has a far longer history at Oxford. Approximately five decades ago, Europe was waking up to the study of business, with the founding of Insead, London Business School, and our Oxford predecessors. Early in June 2015, we will mark the 50th anniversary of management studies at the University, and celebrate the line of Oxford institutions that preceded Oxford Saïd, including the Oxford Centre for Management Studies and Templeton College, the forerunner of today’s Green Templeton College.
While much has changed over five decades, the history of business at Oxford has some recognizable themes. Then as now, there was a tradition of deep connection with the business community, interdisciplinary research, and collaboration across the University. Today, we describe ourselves as “embedded,” which manifests itself in our current GOTO module on Water Management, our Engaging with the Humanities course, our pan-University Oxford Launchpad that reaches out to student entrepreneurs across Oxford, collaborative research and much more. Then, and now, we are stronger working together than working apart.
While the School has connections with nearly all of the Colleges, in this anniversary year, we celebrate in particular the relationship with Green Templeton, given the role that Templeton played in the early history of management education. We currently have 122 students and 14 fellows in the college, and our fellows there have made substantial contributions to the thinking about the retail sector (Jonathan Reynolds and Richard Cuthbertson), the organization of health care (Sue Dopson), the role of complex systems (Felix Reed-Tsochas), the power of scenario thinking (Rafael Ramirez), the visual and haptic dimensions of marketing (Nancy Puccinelli and Rhonda Hadi) and the challenges facing the modern CEO (Andrew White and Michael Smets).
We [enjoyed] welcoming back alumni to the celebrations on 5 June, including those from the earliest years of the study of management at Oxford. While you may have been affiliated with Oxford Centre for Management Studies or Templeton, we hope you engage with Oxford Saïd. We seek to connect alumni of all vintages, be part of your life-long learning plan, keep you informed of new research, and invite you to events where you can not only learn about new work and programmes of the school, but also share your experiences with others. For example, you may want to visit the school during the Oxford Business Alumni Network reunion weekend being held 25–27 September.
Anniversaries encourage one to look back. Whether as a School or as an alumnus/na, we can recognize the powerful impact that Oxford has had on us. Anniversaries are also times to look forward. While we would be foolhardy to guess what will happen over the next five decades, there are certain themes that will likely be relevant in 2065. Business will continue to be the driver of economic growth and prosperity around the world. The pace of change will be high and may even quicken. Demographic change, natural resource constraints, new technologies, and geopolitical issues will provide new challenges and opportunities for business. And the discussion of the appropriate role of business in society — and the responsibilities of business women and men — will continue to be an important topic of debate.
Hopefully our Oxford approach, taking a wider and interdisciplinary approach to the study of business, and benefitting from being embedded in this great University, will enable us to continue to contribute to business practice. Five decades hence, I hope that we are still educating effective and responsible business leaders, producing powerful and important ideas, convening thought-shapers and having brave discussions at Oxford. These are exciting times for business and business education, and we are proud to advance the tradition of management studies at Oxford.