The Oxford Strategy Challenge
Get real-world client work experience on this Careers Service programme
The Oxford Strategy Challenge (TOSCA) is a team-based experiential learning event with participants working on real strategy-focused client challenges over a week.
The Oxford Strategy Challenge is an opportunity for you to develop a broad range of transferable skills including teamwork, leadership, communication and business awareness. These along with the client relationship experience, will help you demonstrate your potential in applications, on your CV and in interviews.
You will work with a small team providing consultancy on a client project. The project you will work on will be important to your client, an opportunity for hands-on client work experience, and to make a real contribution to an organisation.
The Oxford Strategy Challenge is an intense challenge. Once you have received your client brief you will work hard with your team to complete the project in a short time period: you will have five days to tackle the challenge.
We will run the Oxford Strategy Challenge regularly each month and are planning for ten events over the next twelve months.
What will you get out of it?
The Oxford Strategy Challenge provides you with real-world client work experience and development opportunities across eight key employment skills: team working, communication, initiative, creativity, planning, leadership, self-management and business awareness.
You also have the opportunity to develop skills in working effectively as part of a remote team, managing a client relationship, collecting data under time pressure, reacting quickly to unexpected changes, and summarising and presenting your findings to a client.
Note that places are limited and applications will close early if the programme is over subscribed.
We have now opened applications for all of our programmes at the start of 2021 on CareerConnect. The schedule for each programme and application links can be found under 'Programme dates' below. Early applications are advised.
How does it work?
The Oxford Strategy Challenge is a team-based, experiential learning event. Every aspect of the process will present a learning opportunity. It is a remote working programme. We will run an assessment process with an online selection exercise before participants progress to training sessions to prepare them for their client project work.
Assessment and Training
The programme begins with an assessment centre task and two training sessions. The assessment task will require to you submit a short video. You will then be placed in your team (usually of four people) and given a short case study to complete as a team before each training session. The online training sessions will prepare you for the project work.Topics will include an introduction to consultancy and consulting techniques, managing the client relationship and reporting your recommendations.
Once you have completed both training sessions you will be given your client brief.
The challenge starts with a briefing call with the client on a Thursday. Your team will work over the weekend through to Wednesday when you will present your findings to your client. There will be the opportunity of an additional check-in call with your client on the Friday.
We will wrap up the Oxford Strategy Challenge with an online graduation event for you to network with others and share your experience and feedback.
Thank you so much for providing this opportunity, it has been eye-opening in many respects and has given me confidence to apply my research skills in a non-academic context.
The programme was excellent. It gave us initiative, allowed us to think and manage for ourselves, and will be a really useful addition for my CV.
I found this a really helpful experience - I went in wanting to test myself and I feel that I did that 100% and was quite surprised by how much I managed to achieve in such a short time frame, from conceptualising the problem(s) to collecting significant amounts of data and synthesising all this for the final report and recommendations - it was incredibly valuable.
Our client was so helpful and seemed really interested in our work. They were great to work for and I have remained in touch with them.
Beyond the Oxford Strategy Challenge
Once you have successfully completed the Oxford Strategy Challenge, you might want to consider signing up for The Student Consultancy (TSC). This 4-6 week original programme invites past Oxford Strategy Challenge participants to address a strategic issue or business challenge for a client organisation, and allows them to gain more in-depth consulting experience. Late stage DPhils and research staff are welcome to apply for The Researcher Strategy Consultancy as a progression opportunity after (or instead of) The Oxford Strategy Challenge.