The Oxford Strategy Challenge
Get real-world client experience on this Careers Service programme
The Oxford Strategy Challenge (TOSCA) is a team-based experiential learning event with participants taking part in real strategy-focused client challenges over a week.
Applications are now open for the March - April 2024 Programme.
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 be placed in a small team providing consultancy on a client project. The project you will take part in will be important to your client, an opportunity for hands-on client 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 and your team will need to complete the project in a short time period: you will have five days to tackle the challenge.
What will you get out of it?
The Oxford Strategy Challenge provides you with real-world client 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 collaborating 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 oversubscribed.
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 programme. We will run an assessment process with an online selection exercise before participants progress to training sessions to prepare them for their project.
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.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 collaborate 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.
I loved my TOSCA experience. It taught me invaluable skills and gave me first-hand experience managing a client relationship. It gave me a really good understanding of the type of work I can expect from a consultancy.
TOSCA is probably one of the most valuable experiences I have conducted while studying at Oxford. I believe that I'll use the gained skills while applying for my dream job!
This has served as a springboard for my subsequent exploration. I am now aware of so many more opportunities... . It is also reassuring to confirm my time management skills and make myself aware I can explore multiple things while keeping up with school work.
[I] would recommend to anyone regardless of their career aspirations as the skills I gained from it were truly invaluable and could be applicable to any future career.
I gained significantly more experience in leadership and interpersonal relations than I expected.
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.