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What to expect at a Cambridge MBA interview day

8 December 2017

The article at a glance

The Cambridge MBA learning experience requires rounded skills and the right attitude, so we craft our selection process to see ‘the big …

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The Cambridge MBA learning experience requires rounded skills and the right attitude, so we craft our selection process to see ‘the big picture’ of our candidates.

What to expect at a Cambridge MBA interview day

We invite candidates to come to Cambridge for an evening and a day to interview with a member of faculty, talk about their career ambitions with a professional coach, and network with fellow candidates at a Cambridge College dinner. Compared to many programmes, this process is fairly extensive – so why do we do it like this and what do candidates gain from the experience?

College dinner

The evening before the interview, we invite candidates for dinner at one of the University’s Colleges. Candidates have a chance to get to know each other, and most importantly, start to develop their Cambridge network. We encourage candidates to foster their network at the earliest opportunity, through the interview day as well as careers treks and welcome events. The 12-month programme is incredibly intense, and candidates will be at an advantage if they start getting to know their classmates early – alumni have been known to form business partnerships at this dinner!

Candidates also get a taste of one of the unique aspects of Cambridge College life – the formal hall, one that has underpinned the traditions of networking and academic debate here in Cambridge. We’ve previously hosted interview dinners in the beautiful Cripps Dining Hall at Queens’ College, and among the stained glass crests of Trinity Hall’s dining hall.

Interview with a member of faculty

The Cambridge MBA is one of very few MBA programmes where all prospective candidates must be interviewed by a member of the academic faculty. This means that candidates get to meet the people who will actually be teaching them, and the professors themselves can assess academic ability, and contribute to the profile of the class, giving their vital insight into who they think will work well together in that year’s cohort.

Meeting with careers coach

Small groups of candidates meet with one of our external careers coaches, and have the opportunity to talk about their career plans and ideas, and how the Cambridge MBA could help them to realise their aspirations.

Crucially, the careers coaches have worked in industry, and know what employers are looking for in an MBA candidate, and have an insight into if candidates’ ideas are realistic and achievable. The discussions are very much led by students’ interests and provide them with a raft of ideas to think about once they have left Cambridge, regardless of if they ultimately receive an offer.

Lunch and tour of Cambridge

At lunch, candidates (and their partners, if they have come along) can meet current students and ask them in detail about Cambridge life and their experience so far. After lunch, candidates and partners are given guided tour of Cambridge, to give them a feel for the wider University and the city in which they are coming to study.

Vivian Li, from the current Cambridge MBA class, says:

“One of the things I remember strongly about my interview was the welcoming feeling that the admissions team provided. Chatting during the welcome dinner, it was clear that they knew each of our backgrounds very well, and that they had dedicated time getting to know all of our applications, as well as telling the candidates what they could offer in order to find a mutual fit.”

Natasha Takhar, MBA Admissions Coordinator, offers her advice to candidates preparing for their interview day:

“My advice is firstly to be honest and open about yourself and your future goals.

Bring your partner with you if they are going to be moving to Cambridge with you. Your choice of business school is a big decision and your success will depend on the support of those around you.

And finally, enjoy the day! Cambridge is a wonderful city and location for study and we hope to give you taste of this at the interview. Talk to people and be curious – you will make connections here, wherever you finally undertake your MBA!”