…five tips on applying for the MBA. Candidates often use holiday time to take stock(ing) of the things they have achieved over the last year. So, in true seasonal-style, here are five tips from the Admissions team on how to improve your MBA application.
A reference from a supervisor
We only ask for one reference and that should include specific examples which demonstrate the skills which they say you have. Candidates sometimes want to add a second reference; however, we would only advise adding a second if it adds something to the application, for example, another side to you which is not demonstrated by your existing professional experience. This can be particularly relevant for those switching careers. However, don’t leave it until the last minute to ask your supervisor, applications are often held up because of references which haven’t been submitted in time.
Two questions on your application
We ask you to answer two questions on your application. One which focusses on what you have learnt from your most spectactacular failure, and another which shows us how an MBA will help you to achieve your career objectives. The second essay question is about collaboration, and then there is the ‘personal statement’ or third essay question about your careers objectives beyond the MBA.
For the first question, we would like to see how you self-reflect and recover from failure; the MBA will be challenging and we are looking for resilient individuals who demonstrate leadership potential in difficult circumstances. From the careers questions, we want to see a statement which shows you have a clear idea of what skills you hope to gain and the potential effect on your career. It is fine to say you want to try new things, but specify what and how they will help you. Include your prior achievements and how you plan to develop upon these.
Three years of work experience
We ask for three years’ full-time work experience after completion of your undergraduate degree. This is because we want you to get the most out of your MBA, and you will be drawing on some of the knowledge which you have gained during your career. If you have three or more years of experience, but there are frequent job-switches on your CV, make sure you can justify why, such as wanting increased responsibility or needing to move location.
Four stages after submission
Once we have received your application, it will be reviewed and a decision made about whether to shortlist you for interview. You will receive an email within three weeks of the relevant application deadline. If your application is successful, the next stage is interview, where you will be invited to Cambridge to meet a member of the faculty. There is also the opportunity to be interviewed by Skype instead, if attendance at interview in person, is not possible. If you are successful at interview, you will receive a conditional offer, where you must satisfy conditions such as the completion of the financial documents and payment of the first reservation fee. Once these conditions have been met, you will receive your enrolment confirmation.
Five rounds of applications
Many candidates believe that their application will have a greater chance of success if submitted in rounds one or two. However, for the Cambridge MBA, we don’t have quotas, preferring instead to review the quality of each round and invite candidates to interview accordingly. Apply when you have spent enough time on the essays and achieved a strong GMAT or GRE score; your application will be assessed in the same way at each round. We encourage students to apply early if they are interested in CJBS scholarships, which are only available in the earlier rounds, Round 1, 2 and 3.
Remember the Admissions team will be on hand after the new year, so keep in touch with your admissions point-of-contact and we’ll support you as much as possible during your application. Happy holidays.