Learning to Lead With Purpose in a Networked World

August 7, 2018

Oxford Saïd hosted a collaboration with the Aspen Insitute to host a leadership program for Global Network students in June.

Oxford Aspen Institute

In the first collaboration of its kind with a major international business school, the Aspen Institute US partnered with Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford to design and run a customised leadership seminar for 20 participants enrolled on an MBA, EMBA, IMBA or MAM programme at a Global Network for Advanced Management member school.

The inaugural Oxford Saïd Aspen Leadership Seminar took place between 31 May – 3 June in Oxford, focusing on "Leading With Purpose in a Networked World."  Using Aspen’s proven method of text-based dialogue, and led by an Aspen Institute facilitator, participants explored classic texts from Plato and Mencius, and contemporary texts from Jorge Luis Borges and Chimamanda Adichie, as a starting point for thinking about questions underlying leadership in a globalising world.

Peter Tufano, Dean of Oxford Saïd commented "Aspen Leadership Seminars focus on the ‘why’ of leadership, rather than the ‘how’, which echoes our approach here at Oxford Saïd. We believe in developing leaders with purpose and leaders who are responsible and principled in the way that they do business. In today’s fast-moving and complex global environment, values-based leadership is crucial."

Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute said "This seminar is an exciting and important collaboration between the Aspen Institute and a major international business school. Oxford Saïd is an ideal partner due to humanities already being part of its educational DNA."

The highly interactive seminar was designed to highlight the complexity of today’s society and the breadth of perspectives needed for making decisions in a networked world. The diverse cohort was made up of students from fifteen business schools from across the world including Yale, the School of Management at Fudan University, the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, Oxford Saïd, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School, the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and EGADE Business School in Latin America.

Kathy Harvey, Associate Dean, MBA and Executive Degrees, commented "At Oxford, we are proud to be a member of GNAM and able to offer opportunities such as this seminar to others in the Global Network. This seminar has been a truly collaborative effort with the Aspen Institute US and has been an excellent way to bridge learning and understanding across cultures and borders. The participants returned home with a much deeper understanding of their leadership challenges, and a sense of how to approach them with humility and integrity."

Todd Breyfogle, Director of Seminars for the Aspen Institute, who facilitated the Oxford Saïd Aspen seminar said "We all need time and space to reflect on what we believe and why we believe it. For almost 70 years, Aspen Executive Leadership Seminars have been helping accomplished leaders reflect on the core values which inform the decisions they make. This collaboration with Saïd Business School offered the same opportunity to a group of leaders who are at an earlier stage of their career. Now, more than ever, the world needs leaders who are more self-aware and more self-correcting, so it makes sense to begin this journey earlier, rather than later in life." 

In 2016, the Aspen Institute presented Professor Tufano with the Aspen Faculty Pioneer Award and a Special Award Distinction for Institutional Leadership. The awards were in recognition of the ‘Global Opportunities and Threats, Oxford’ (GOTO) course, which he pioneered and a team of faculty from across the School and the University taught on the MBA programme.