Chief of Staff Executive Education at the University of Oxford

Our Executive Education programme at Oxford University is the required capstone in the Core Competency Pathway to achieve certification.

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.

Read Our Latest Report

The Oxford programme report captures a flavour of the discussions held during the programme and highlights the key insights that emerged.

Together, the reports serve as a valuable resource for chiefs of staff worldwide; allowing them to track developments in the profession and stay-up-to-date with contemporary discourse related to the role.

We are grateful to the programme participants for allowing us to communicate their thoughts and ideas in the anonymous quotes scattered throughout.


April 2023 Programme

Each cohort is exclusive to approximately 40 members of The Chief of Staff Association.

Fee: Circa US6750

Accommodation: Marriott Courtyard, Oxford City Centre

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided during the programme.

Exclusions: Transport costs, additional nights accommodation (optional), costs to obtain travel visas, airport transfers etc.

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

World-Class Education at
The University of Oxford

Learn what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of business, government and academia.

Exclusive to members of The Chief of Staff Association