Chief of Staff Certification at Oxford

The four-day residential programme is delivered on campus at the University of Oxford,  Saïd Business School and has been designed by Oxford’s foremost subject matter experts specifically for chiefs of staff. Upon completion, participants become a Certified Chief of Staff™.

Chiefs of Staff are gatekeepers to the world’s leaders. The role demands exceptional talent – and knowledge. Chiefs of Staff are expected to be highly analytical, deftly diplomatic, extremely organized, aware and empathetic, and able to work swiftly and simultaneously across multiple portfolios and agendas. Yet, despite the strategic nature of the role, there exists little in the way of structured professional development delivered to global best standards – until now.

Our programme features insights from invited political, diplomatic and business leaders. These speakers share views on the core responsibilities of the role, and on emerging new challenges and responsibilities. Students participate in shared discussion and debate, enriching their perspectives and capability.

Finally, fostering professional interdependence between members of each cohort is a key objective of the programme. Participants are encouraged – formally and informally – to share best practices and learnings gained in their careers and current roles. At the end of the programme, students not only form strong friendships but also a network of competent peers who can act as ongoing sources of advice and professional support.

Programme Overview

When & Where

The next residential programme takes place April 11-14, 2022 and includes 4 days tuition with University of Oxford faculty and 4 nights accommodation at Egrove Park, Oxford, UK.

The programme fee of GBP 4,895 is inclusive of all tuition and reading materials and meals*. Travel costs and visas to enter the UK are not included in the programme fee.

The programme is led by Rupert Younger, Director of Oxford University’s Centre for Corporate Reputation and the Academic Director of the Corporate Affairs Academy.

Exclusive cohort

The class represents a breadth of diversity, a multiplicity of perspectives and expertise, along with a willingness to exchange ideas and concepts.

This strategic certification programme provides structured insight, expert guidance, best practice and networking, operating under the auspices of the Chief of Staff Association.

The programme caters for participants from a range of sectors and industries: from diplomacy, government and uniformed services to the private sector and is capped at 40 participants.

Academic Curriculum

Pre-Oxford Preparation

  • Preparation and pre-readings
  • Facilitated pre-discussion groups
  • Questionnaire and cohort insights research
  • Curate and shared biographical information

Day 1 – Governance

  • Build ethical frames, and governance anchors
  • Analysis of ‘air traffic control’ function and best practices
  • Debate and discussion on key organisational expectations
  • Navigating reporting lines – soft and hard
  • Conflict management and resolution strategies
  • Project team structures, the role of COS in deep-dive projects

Day 2 – Insights

  • Key concepts of reputation, perceptions and influence
  • The CEO Report and ‘the power of doubt’
  • Information sources – how to trust, prioritise and decode
  • Stakeholder insights, context and trade-offs
  • ‘Buying Time’ – diplomacy and creation of decision space
  • Emerging opportunities and threats

Day 3 – Engagement

  • Understanding networks and the benefits of ‘brokerage’
  • Engagement strategies to build ‘coalitions of the willing’
  • Personal resilience, managing multiple demands
  • Information flow structures, how to best brief the ‘principal’

Day 4 – Scenarios

  • Scenario planning and strategic innovation
  • Adrenaline shots on key themes
  • Complexity and prioritisation, management of fast-moving uncertainty
  • Future forecasting techniques and methods

Post Oxford

  • Continued engagement and influence within the CSA
  • Ongoing contact and sharing of expertise and insights
  • Oxford Business Alumni Network

Saïd Business School

Programme Director

Rupert Younger is the founder and director of Oxford University’s Centre for Corporate Reputation and co-founder of The Finsbury Group. He is a recognised expert on how reputations are created, sustained, destroyed and rebuilt and has advised some of the world’s largest organisations over the past 30 years.

Mr Younger is regularly featured in major news outlets including the BBC, CNN, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Times of London. In addition, he chaired The University of Oxford’s Socially Responsible Investment Committee of Council (2012-2017) and is a member of the Senior Common Rooms at Worcester College, Oxford and St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Saïd Business School

Since 1996, Saïd Business School has been at the forefront of executive education. Today it is recognised as a prominent and respected research institution embedded within Oxford University; one of the world’s leading universities.

For centuries, the University of Oxford has produced some of the most influential and respected people in business and Oxford graduates are represented in every Fortune 500 Company, country and government in the world.

Enrolment is reserved for members of
The Chief of Staff Association.

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