Applying for Economics & Management at Oxford University

At Oxford University, the Economics and Management degree examines issues central to the world we live in: namely how the economy and organisations function, and how resources are allocated and coordinated to achieve the organisation’s objectives. 

Economics and Management are ideal intellectual partners, each particularly fitted to strengthen and cross-fertilize the other.

Academic Requirements
- A-levels: A*AA including Mathematics at grade A or above
- Advanced Highers: AA/AAB
- IB: 39 (including core points) with 766 at HL

How did you decide between Oxford and Cambridge?

I prefer the way the Oxford course is structured (less mathsy - Cambridge would prefer further maths I think). Also, Oxford is bigger than Cambridge (the city not the uni) so there's more things to do and places to see etc. (Profile 820)

Wanted to do management as well, and so Oxford was the obvious choice. Oxford's a nicer place too (Cambridge is just a dump) (Profile 141)

(Oxford) claimed to place extra emphasis on tutorial teaching, although I've found this to have little basis in truth. The reputation of the food was another important factor - and that IS true!

Since coming here, I've also found further advantages - the central location is a wonderful thing, and at a time when so many of my friends are desperately searching for private accommodation, I'm glad to be in a college that offers accommodation for your entire course should you need it. (Profile 471)

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation?

MAKE SURE YOU REVISE A/S AND A2 STUFF. I cannot stress more the importance of being well revised. This was something I did not do particularly well, as i was told simply to keep up to date with current economic events. For the economics interview, all they care about is theory. So make sure you know it. (Profile 141)

Read as much as you can. My interviewer didn't ask anything about the books I wrote about in my personal statement, but it definitely gave me background knowledge to strengthen my answers. It shows interest if you are prepared to read outside the A Level topics. (Profile 820)

Read. Firstly, read a book. Maybe one for each subject. Don't go overboard and clear out your library, I'm sure one will do. Make sure you think about it and be able to talk about the issues it raised.

Secondly, be aware of current affairs, and if you've studied either Business or Economics (NOT a requirement, I might add), try to apply your theory to what's going on in the real world.

Personally I took a copy of the Financial Times with me when I went up to Oxford to interview, but by the time I arrived, I was too nervous to read it and spent my time pacing around my room. When I got back from my Management interview, I found pages two and three of it devoted entirely to what I'd had to talk about. If only, if only… (Profile 471)

Did you have to sit any pre-interview exams?

I sat the TSA. I thought the questions were ok but was short on time on the essay. I prepared for the questions by doing a practice paper off the website, but there's no way you could revise for the essay - the titles on offer were too obscure! (Profile 820)

I took the standard university-wide E&M exam, a specimen example of which is available on the Oxford website. Glancing over that was the only preparation I did; this exam tests the way you think, and you cannot really prepare for it. To be honest, though, though it seemed frightening, it was actually quite enjoyable - not something I often say about exams! (Profile 471)

Had to sit the TSA, and am still awaiting the results. These were supposedly used to cut off 50% of applicants pre-interview, so are quite important. You can't really revise too much for this, but try and look at some BMAT stuff, there's more of that available than just the 2 past papers for TSA. (Profile 833)

What questions were you asked during your interview(s)?

About the Target 2.0 competition, monetary policy, credit crisis, how I would reform the banking system, possible ways of administering mortgages in the future. Management questions were about an article. What is this about? What are the author’s feeelings on....? Read this extract.... what is the problem here? Why might managers having shares be a good idea? Why might it be a bad idea? But you just told me it was a good idea, which is it? (Profile 820)

In Management, I was first asked if I'd read anything in the subject, and then had to briefly discuss it. Then we moved on to discuss private sector involvement in health care. Economics centred quite a bit on me and my reasons for taking the course. I believe this is rare, however, and they just wanted to clear a few things up; don't assume it to be generally true. I also had to explain some things about the theory of perfect competition. (Profile 471)

I had to take a written test before my interviews. You can download a sample paper from the Oxford Website. Make sure you go through this, and make sure you understand how to get the answers to the mathematical questions, because the style of questions are similar in the real test too.

Management Interview : Q. There are 2 economists who are going to predict the headline rate of inflation. One is called Bob (who is old, more experienced, and has been correct 50% of the time). The other is Alan (who has just graduated from university and is familiar with the latest statistical techniques used to make economic forecasts. He is not very experienced, and has also been correct 50% of the time.) Which economist will you believe and why ? A. If you do want to choose one economist, don't be scared to go either way as long as you can back up your answer. However, a professional manager might be inclined to combine the works of both economists (e.g. take an average of both predictions or make them work together). Economics Interview : (Mostly questions based around what you're studying at the moment, or some stuff based on your essays you've sent. So when they ask you "what are you studying at the moment in Economics?", make sure you say something that you're comfortable talking about, because that's what the focus of all their questions will be. That was my biggest mistake. I said the truth, and I ended up being asked questions about topics that I had only just covered in class.) Q. Why should Britan join the Euro ? Q. What is a public good ? why is a public good something which has to be provided by the government and not by the private sector ? Q. What are the disadvantages of the regulation of Privatised Industries ? (Profile 141)

Through your work experience, and being Secretary of the Economics society, tell me what you have found the most important aspect of Management to be.

What do you think about debt relief to developing countries?

Long discussion about current affairs, after reading an article on the planned bail out of the US car industry. 

I had to plan a tariff for a bus route, after being given some information and assumptions. It was basically a logic exercise. The assumptions were then changed, and I had to figure out how this would change the tariff structure.

You are a buyer and want to buy a car. There is a seller, with a used car worth 1000 and a new car worth 2000. These are worth 1100 and 2100 to you. How much are you willing to pay for each car. If you didn't know what type of car it was, then how much would you be willing to pay? etc. Basically it was meant to be solved using basic probability and arithmetic. I messed this up though, as my mind went blank when it came to calculation. (Profile 833)