From career change to new skills and better pay and rewards, as well as doing good for society – where are your career ambitions as we step into a new year? We meet a few Cambridge MBA graduates and hear how an MBA changed their career pathway.
You want a career change
“I was interested in working in finance when I started my MBA, but I didn’t really think it was a viable option for me. I had such a non-traditional background, coming from the art market. By the end of the year, I had a job in the finance industry!” says Rachel Buchholtzer (MBA 2021).
The annual Enrolled Students Survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that MBA students’ top goals and motivations in 2022 were to enrich their lives and make a career change.
An MBA course gets you on the fast track to gain skills and build a network to launch your career in a new direction. The GMAC report found that, overall, 60% of the business school graduates surveyed had changed job functions after obtaining their degrees while about half moved across industries.
82% of the MBA Class of 2020/21 at Cambridge Judge ending up switching careers. And of those taking a job in consulting, almost 70% came from a non-consulting background.
You want to develop new skills and build new networks
“You will never have 100% of the skills required for a role, but during your MBA you can make sure you are aware of your skills gaps and have a personal development plan,” says Aimée Somerville Assam (MBA 2018), a former consultant at Deloitte Digital who now works as Principal Consultant at Qualtrics.
The FT 2022 Global MBA survey found that personal and management development continued to be one of the main reasons surveyed alumni gave for doing their MBAs.
Bob Winslow (MBA 2021) has just started as a consultant at Bain & Company, “What helped most during the MBA, aside from the education, was having a group of people around me who were all working for the same thing. And they had so much more knowledge of the intricacies of consulting than me!”
You want to work in a new part of the world
“The Cambridge network opened a lot of doors for me. I have achieved my aim of moving from Chicago to the Middle East,” says Matt McCrary (MBA 2021).
After seven years working in finance in Chicago, Matt came to Cambridge intending to change countries rather than career sector. He now works for SNB Capital in Dubai.
An MBA is recognised across the world, especially if you’ve completed your study at a university with a strong ranking and reputation. 64% of the Cambridge MBA Class of 2020 switched to a new location and are now working across 22 countries.
You want to start your own business
“You don’t need any prior experience (running a company) before starting your MBA. You will be surrounded by other individuals who will increase your knowledge tenfold.” So says Jonathan McBride (MBA 2020), co-founder and CEO of Fotostax, winner of the Santander Accelerate Project Award and designated one of the most disruptive MBA startups of 2021 by Poets and Quants.
Peter Hiscocks, Fellow in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management at Cambridge Judge and a successful entrepreneur himself, teaches MBA students how to build a business, “It’s about going beyond business startups – we need to identify how to grow our new venture.”
Gazelle companies growing at more than 25% per annum are common in the Cambridge entrepreneurial eco-system, the largest in Europe. Cecile Gani, Technology and Entrepreneurship Careers Lead at Cambridge Judge, says, “You can become an entrepreneur by immersion here.”
You want time and space to consider your next career move
“The one expectation I had of my MBA is that I would be able to explore,” says Rishika Daryanani (MBA 2021).
Many choose to take an MBA to make the switch into consulting, but Rishika had already worked five years at Accenture before coming to Cambridge. She wanted to know if consulting was her future. Rejuvenated professionally after her MBA year, she has just accepted a post at McKinsey & Company.
Sadia Cuthbert, Head of Careers at Cambridge Judge emphasises that there is a timing for everything. “Our work with students starts much earlier than the September admission. We begin having conversations as early as June. It is important we understand where our candidates are now – and where they want to be when they graduate.”
She and the Business School-wide Careers Team help to guide students through the recruiting calendar, depending upon their sector interest.
An MBA will get you positive results
Whatever your reasons for considering an MBA, you can expect a positive result if you decide to take the plunge. The 2022 GMAC Report “The Value of Graduate Management Education: From the Candidate’s Perspective”, found that 84% of graduates reported that their business school experience helped improve their professional situation, while around 7 out of 10 reported that it helped achieve personal (72%) and financial goals (68%).
If it is change you are after, nearly half (47%) of the Cambridge MBA Class of 2020 achieved the ‘triple jump’ of function, industry and country through their job offers on graduation.
And you can expect a financial reward. 91% of job seekers from the class accepted an offer within three months of graduation, achieving an average salary increase of 61%.
But perhaps the most important part of your MBA experience will be the people you meet. They may change your life.
“Everything related to my business, whether it is the first investor, the first customer, or even my first mentor, I found them by building my Cambridge network, whether it was inside the MBA programme or outside it,” says Suyash Bhatt (MBA 2019).