The chief reason for coming to Cambridge is its people. Because most rankings of European universities place Cambridge first, because it has been building its facilities for almost eight centuries, and because it is one of the world's most beautiful and convenient cities, Cambridge is a magnet for talented students and faculty.
This has some obvious benefits - the quality of teaching, the quality of discussion among your peers in class, and the queue of top employers eager to recruit Cambridge graduates. But it extends beyond the classroom and job search. Some students say that the biggest of many benefits they take from Cambridge is a network of friends of amazing diversity and talent. Cambridge Judge Business School's breathtaking building is deliberately designed to foster contact outside class - with large, welcoming social areas, and intimate spaces for group work. Then the college system is designed to throw you into a multi-discipline, multi-cultural pool of friends and ideas. No one creates a more distinguished network: look at the membership of Cambridge Judge Business School's Advisory Board.
Secondary to the quality of the people, but still high on the list of Cambridge features praised by our students, is the quality of the environment. The official (Royal Commission) list of Cambridge architectural treasures runs to two hefty volumes. Walk along the street from Cambridge Judge Business School, and in ten minutes you will have seen distinguished architecture from every period from the eleventh century to the present. Across the road from the School, next to the celebrated Fitzwilliam museum (with its Titian, Rubens, Monet, Picasso, and much else), is Peterhouse, the University's oldest college. Here, as a student member, you might live in a fifteenth century study-bedroom, eat in a thirteenth century dining hall, and work in a sixteenth century library. Cambridge Judge Business School itself makes a renowned contribution to Cambridge architecture, with its 1866 façade by Digby Wyatt leading to a 1995 interior masterpiece by John Outram. But this is not a sterile "museum-town". Interspersed among the stunning buildings where you live and work are the facilities of a modern, vibrant city - pubs and clubs, cafes and restaurants, shops, cinemas and a colourful market.
A very short walk west of Cambridge Judge Business School and you reach the famous Cambridge river landscape, where the river Cam flows through the grounds of a series of ancient colleges. Here, the standard means of transport is the punt. Then, a little way downstream, the river becomes the preserve of the rowers: many hundreds of college oarsmen and women, ranging from beginners to internationals, descend on the river at the end of the spring and summer terms to represent their colleges in the legendary "bumping" races.
You will be a member of one of the 31 Cambridge colleges. These are very diverse, some ancient, some modern, some just for graduates, some just for women; they range in size from 150 to 1000 students. They all provide meals, social, cultural and sporting facilities, and accommodation for many of their students. But you choose what to make of the college: what the college means for each student varies enormously.
Here are some examples:
"Every day for a month, I could have lunch with a student from a different field - art historian Monday, computer scientist Tuesday, philosopher Wednesday, biochemist Thursday ... and every day for a month, I could have lunch with a student from a different country - Chinese Monday, Hungarian Tuesday, Egyptian Wednesday, American Thursday ..."
"My fifteenth century study-bedroom - quaint plumbing, but what an atmosphere and view"
"Retreating to the college bar with friends after a hard day learning finance"
"Forming a string quartet of college members, and giving a concert after college dinner"
"Being centre half of the team which won the inter-collegiate rugby competition"
"Candle-lit formal dinners in the ancient panelled dining hall"
"The May Ball - dancing all night, then punting to Grantchester for breakfast"
"Chatting about football to this amiable, silver-haired guy over dinner - next day, I discovered he's a Nobel Prize winner"
"Friday night discos"
"Finding my husband - we later married in the College Chapel"
As a Cambridge MPhil student at Cambridge Judge Business School, you can taste the University's whole educational programme - you are free to attend lectures in any other faculty, and in fact many of our own classes are taught in accommodation in departments across the University. Several of our MPhil programmes draw heavily on the expertise of sister faculties, with whom the School shares graduate courses. Our major collaborators in the MPhil programme are the Faculties of Economics (cradle of modern economics; four Nobel Prize winners so far), Engineering (a world-renowned powerhouse in many areas of engineering, with over a hundred faculty and over a thousand students), and Mathematics (whose ancestry goes back to Isaac Newton, whose faculty have won numerous Fields Medals and Nobel Prizes and which has just moved to a new £50 million Centre used by some of our MPhil students).
Many Faculties host lectures and seminars for University staff and students by world business, political and cultural leaders. This is particularly important for the School, which aims to confront rigorous academic analysis with the latest business problem, and which attracts many business leaders each year. But you will be welcomed at such events at Faculties across the University - from Music to Medicine.
Then the University organises centrally many courses which you would be free to attend, ranging from IT at the Computer Laboratory, through languages, to research techniques at the (7 million book) University Library.
Hundreds of millions around the world watch on television the King's College Carol Service, or the Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford. Underpinning such top class events is a wealth of cultural and sporting activity at University and college level, catering for the casual beginner through to the performer of international standard.
One visiting academic noted when he left that every day for two terms he had been able to go to a musical performance in Cambridge - ranging from a lunchtime organ recital in a college chapel to an orchestral concert in the University Concert Hall. Drama is similarly active in central theatres, college theatres, and college gardens in summer. Art is everywhere - in several galleries, and inside and outside many college and University buildings.
The colleges have an extensive range of sports facilities from squash courts, to sports grounds, to boathouses. And the University has high class facilities for major sports such as rugby, athletics and cricket, which have launched many past students into international competition.
There are some 400 student societies in Cambridge, catering for almost every taste and interest. Visit the Cambridge University Student Union website or Cambridge University Clubs & Societies webpages for more details. This small excerpt from the alphabetical list gives the idea: Amateur Dramatic Club, American Stage Tour, Amnesty International, Amoral Society, Andean Archeology Society, Anglo-Japan Society, Arab Society.
If there is not a society catering to your interests, set one up!
The countryside comes close into Cambridge: pretty villages with pubs and tea gardens are within walking or punting distance. At the other extreme, London is less than an hour away by train: an easy half day trip to interview an executive or collect data, or a comfortable evening trip for a play or concert. 30 minutes from Cambridge by direct train is London's most agreeable and fastest growing airport - Stansted - which has a particular strength in cheap flights to the rest of Europe.
For more on the city, visit Cambridge News Online for listings of events going on in and around Cambridge or the Cambridge City Council website for information on city services, schools, etc.