A cohort of 221 professionals started their Cambridge MBA in September, in a global business climate of recovery and renewal.
With 45 nationalities represented, the class is preparing for an exciting year of learning and teamwork. With an average of six years’ work experience across the board, an average age of 30, and our largest proportion of female students to date at 43 per cent, the MBA Class of 2021/22 will bring a wealth of experience, a wide variety of perspectives and a broad cultural context to the MBA year ahead.
We welcome three Olympians, including two from the recent Tokyo Games, alongside those from the tech, beyond-profit and cultural sectors, as well as engineers, founders and entrepreneurs, military veterans, financiers and those pivoting both into and out of the global consultancy sector.
Here we’ll introduce you to some and ask them about their career journey to date, what Cambridge means to them and where their ambitions lie in the coming months.
Daniil Shcherbakov, our Technology and Innovation Scholarship recipient from Russia, created and developed the first mobile VR headset available on the international market, selling over 50,000 units through retail giants like Amazon and Walmart. Daniil explains his reasons for coming to Cambridge for his MBA,
“Despite my achievements, I want to go further by learning how to create a business in conditions of uncertainty and to lead such companies for growth over the long term.”
He continues; “The unique entrepreneurial and venture ecosystem at Cambridge with its Ideation @ CJBS weekends, courses like New Venture Finance and Venture Capital and the Entrepreneurial World, as well as the fact that it is in the heart of ‘Silicon Fen’, made the Cambridge MBA for me the only place where I want to study at and to be a part of”.
Daniil concludes, “By upgrading my existing management skills and understanding of international business culture with a Cambridge MBA dedicated entrepreneurial courses and opportunities like the Global Business Concentration and the Cambridge Venture Project, as well as the networks that come with meeting other professionals in the University of Cambridge environment, I will be able to move from a high performing startup founder to an international business development executive able to fly into any situation”.
Aderinsola (Derin) Alege
Aderinsola (Derin) Alege, from Nigeria, is a female founder and CEO of the Nigerian based start-up, The Ambulance Company. Derin trained initially as a doctor, and has chosen the Cambridge MBA at this time because, “The time was just right now, as it gave me the perfect opportunity during a pandemic to go back to school and equip myself for the next stage of my career”.
“I felt that this was the right time to get the education in business that I was looking for to kickstart my career. It will lend credibility to me as both a doctor and a founder and ensure that my clients and my investors will believe in me going forward.”
On diversity across the class and the impact that will have on her career, Derin says, “Coming here I expected a diverse cohort, and that is exactly what I have met here”.
On her future expectations at the end of the MBA year, Derin says: “I would expect that coming here for my MBA, I would be able to use my experience and by working alongside the diversity of the class, be able to tackle any future problems that I may face. In addition, I would expect living here in Cambridge that I would become more confident and have gained the necessary skills to be able to tackle the real world of entrepreneurship.”
Mira Hopkins, from the USA, was working in Private Wealth Strategy for Morgan Stanley in New York.
She left the financial services sector after a marketing focused rotational program to pursue a career in consumer goods in the marketing strategy and brand management field.
Mira decided to come to Cambridge to study for her MBA because of the diversity of the student body and because of the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
“I chose to study for an MBA now in my career as I was going through a transition and wanted to switch industries and I am also interested in moving to the UK as well – the timing was just right for both of these factors.
“I am really looking forward to meeting so many different types of people from so many diverse backgrounds and I am also looking forward to joining the Retail E-commerce Luxury Marketing Special Interest Group (RELM SIG).”
Jisu Moon, from South Korea, has worked for seven years in the arts and luxury industry, more recently, as a Client Relationship Officer for Christie’s Auction House in Seoul.
“I made the decision to attend business school at this time because I have recently founded my own business and I realised that I lacked a certain amount of technical business management knowledge. I felt that in order to propel my business forward it was absolutely necessary to acquire the leadership skills which I felt could only be obtained from a global MBA programme, like the one at Cambridge Judge.
“I am most excited to network and exchange ideas with my peers, who have such diverse backgrounds and so many distinctive perspectives. I believe through these discussions, my worldview will be challenged and enlarged which, in turn, will allow me to see a more colourful view of the world”.
Bob Mwaniki, from Kenya, was working for Mckinsey & Company in Nairobi. He previously trained as an electrical engineer and had also worked for aviation giant, Boeing, in customer operations.
Bob had reached a point in his career where he had worked across a variety of different industries and in various roles, and he wanted to take a step back to decide which industry and which path he was going to take into Management Consultancy. As he was also on the verge of managing people, Bob was looking for the specific skill set for that in his career, a skill set, “only an MBA could deliver”, he feels.
Bob is really looking forward to the projects most of all in the coming year, “The one thing I can’t wait to get into is the projects, the CVP and the GCP; I want to do something I may not have had the chance to before, working in East Africa”.
Ruby Tew, one of our Entrepreneurship Scholarship recipients, is a professional athlete as well as a female founder. Starting and running her own catering company, Athlete Food Co, for the past five years, Ruby was also competing on the world stage as a professional rower, representing her country, in both the 2016 and 2020+1 Olympics, competing for her home country of New Zealand.
But Ruby is now looking to broaden her experience and extend her skill base further on the MBA year.
“I am looking to transition away from sport and into the healthcare sector. I felt I needed a broader understanding of how the industry works as well as a more comprehensive business education. The Cambridge MBA is a perfect fit for me with its Healthcare Concentration, the high impact one-year programme, as well as the diverse cohort that I can learn so much from.”
Looking across the year ahead she says, “I hope that my MBA journey will ultimately take me to a leadership or management role in a leading NGO or non-profit, but I also hope that I leave Cambridge next year with a whole cohort of friends, who will help and support each other in our future careers”.
Emmet Walsh, from Ireland, has been working in Melbourne, Australia, for Accenture in technology and strategy consulting, working globally across India, Asia and the USA, before joining this year’s cohort.
“An MBA for me was an opportunity to move into the business world with a more formally recognised qualification, having come from an engineering background.”
He continues; “The people at Cambridge Judge that I have met already in my time here have shown me the value and the networking which I am going to gain from the year ahead”.
“Cambridge is also a special place, and I am not just in the Business School but being part of the College community and the wider University eco-system gives me the opportunity to meet people who are outside of my normal network.”
Emmet explains; “I want to use the MBA to leapfrog into something a little bit different, there is talk of the triple jump – changing your location, your industry and your job – coming from Melbourne I definitely want to move into the European market, and regarding the industry I don’t know yet and my role will almost definitely change”.