In at the deep end
I graduated from university in the spring of 2007, now known to most people as the last of the boom years. To say my experience was interesting is an understatement. I joined a global bank in a Middle Office support function and within three months of starting, saw first-hand the effects of the credit crunch hit my bank. The recession, the collapse of Lehman and all the other now infamous events have made the first three years of my career colourful and memorable for the wrong reasons. In a financial market that was falling apart, my career development stalled and it was time to find a way to kick-start it.
A modern business school in an ancient setting
When I started researching business schools, Cambridge struck me for its uniqueness. There it was, at the heart of one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, a modern business school in an ancient institution. I was attracted to the unique proposition of diversity of nationalities and experiences that form the basis of the CJBS experience. You learnt from your lecturers, but more importantly, you learned from your classmates.
Soak up the diversity
The MBA was a life changing experience for me on many levels. The brand name bolstered my marketability and the classes increased my knowledge and enhanced my understanding. To me, one of the most useful aspects of the MBA was the interaction with my classmates. Being the youngest in the class, I was able to soak up the diversity, the wealth of experience and knowledge from those around me. It changed my worldview. This is crystallized through the global consulting project (GCP). I worked in a team with an investment banker, a surgeon and a healthcare expert on a finance project for an environmental NGO. It was an incredible privilege and learning experience to be part of a team that was full of diverse knowledge and experience and to see how it all came together to complete our project.
The value of an MBA
The MBA has opened up career opportunities that were not available to me before. I was able to move from a support role to a business development and relationship management role. I firmly believe that an MBA is an important step in the development of a career in finance. Not only does it provide a chance to gain more diverse knowledge about business, but it also expands your horizons and changes the way you look at the world. It is a year to test your limits, gain new skills and find your niche. The Cambridge MBA taught me to look at problems in a different way, and to understand how people interact and how innovation happens in ways that I could not have imagined.
Cambridge has an incredible number of resources on offer, from experienced professors to an incredibly large and strong global network, and supportive career services. Everyone at Cambridge is willing to help you find your path, but you have to do the initial work yourself. Donít shoot randomly and hope to hit a target. It is important to develop a strategy on how to tap in to these resources so that you can gain more by using them to their full extent. Itís also important to know that the MBA isnít a free pass straight to your ultimate ambition, but an essential step in the right direction. I have been able to make the transition from a support to a revenue-generating role, thanks to the MBA.
— Sarah Ishak, HSBC
Cambridge MBA alumna