As we publish the Cambridge MBA 2023 Employment Report, we explore the career outcomes for some of our most recent MBA graduates.
A career in operations and tech
Moving from finance to tech
Before the MBA, I was working in finance, and I wanted to change into something different, specifically moving into tech. And so I’ve used the MBA to make that change. You know, I’m changing both industry, and also the type of role that I’m doing there, compared to what I was doing before. So the MBA has been really instrumental in helping me to make that jump.
So the skills I’ve learned this year, that are relevant to my job, you know, kind of incoming role, are the hard skills, sort of around strategy, operations management, which are core courses in the MBA. But then also soft skills like negotiations, teamwork, understanding how the people, you know, work and how to get things done. I’m changing sector, and I’m changing role at the same time. So I want to go to a tech company that is, like, a little bit larger, more structured.
Why I chose Cambridge
When looking at the Cambridge MBA programme, I really liked the experiential aspect, so the opportunity to work in groups on the CVP, with sort of like, Cambridge Ventures and then the GCP as a more Global Consulting Project. And actually the size of the class is really nice, because you get to know everyone very well, but then you are also working very collaboratively on these different projects. And that’s something I thought would be a good experience, and it has turned out to be so. I think I’ve learned, almost like, the most during my time here, during those projects, specifically around, sort of, teamwork and team dynamics with people from different backgrounds. Because it’s a very diverse cohort.
So coming into the MBA, compared to my expectations, the class was so much more diverse than I actually expected, as someone coming from the UK to a UK school. You know, it really is a global programme, and that is something that struck me, as I, sort of started the programme, and as being, you know, an amazing opportunity to have a network that spans all around the world.
The Cambridge Ventures Project and the Global Consulting Project
The CVP is actually working with a real client around the rest of the programme and on top of that, one of our courses is called Management Praxis it’s all about, sort of, team dynamics, and so, you know, although the work itself is very interesting, the actual, I learned a lot about sort of, my own management style, and teamwork, essentially through the CVP.
My GCP, over the Easter break, was self-sourced. Mine was with a group of people that we put together ourselves, with Formula E, looking at fan engagement. That was very interesting. For me, I’m interested, I was interested in you know, moving into sort of the tech sphere, and obviously, you know, Formula E is like a fairly high tech sport, and you know, like, working in, on a strategy project for Formula E is similar to the type of work I want to be doing in the future.
Before the MBA, Ed Bosson (MBA 2021) worked in finance in London for a number of years, firstly for a quantitative hedge fund in Tokyo and London, then at a private equity fund.
“I was working in London in finance, and I decided that I wanted to do something else. And I thought an MBA was a good way to sort of make that pivot into something different.”
Ed was looking for a one-year programme because he didn’t want to spend too much time out of the workplace, and he wanted to stay in the UK and remain where his partner was located.
“I really liked the experiential aspect of the Cambridge MBA. The opportunity to work in groups on the Cambridge Venture Project with local Cambridge enterprises and later on in the MBA year, the Global Consulting Project, as a more international project. With the chance to use the final term for an internship or a work placement. I thought that would be really valuable.”
He continues, “I learned a lot about my own management style and teamwork and how teams work through these MBA projects. It is a very diverse cohort at Cambridge and working with people from very different backgrounds has helped develop my team building and management skills further.”
Ed changed sector and role after his MBA year, “I joined Booking.com as a strategy and operations manager. I joined their smallest vertical as the sole strategy and operations manager for that part of the business.
“I’m going into Booking.com and will have a very different experience to a much larger company where I can sort of develop my soft skills, skills in strategy, operations that I maybe didn’t have the opportunity to before. I think that’ll set me up well for the future.”
Ed concludes, “Before the MBA, I was working in finance and I wanted to change into something different and specifically a move into the tech sector. I have used the MBA to make that change. Joining Booking.com, I’m changing both industry and the type of role that I’m doing compared to what I was doing before. So, the MBA has been instrumental in helping me to make that jump.”
Strategy consulting for the energy sector
So before coming to the MBA, I was based out of London, working for Solar Developers, an asset manager. I didn’t see much of a path forward in terms of growth staying in my old role. So I thought it was the perfect time to apply for an MBA. So I liked the idea of coming into the UK of a one-year programme because my cost of opportunity was a lot smaller. And also, I realised that peers would be more aligned in terms of career, and where we are, and where we want to go. So I thought the UK was the best natural step to progress my career on the MBA.
Pivoting to a new career thanks to the Cambridge MBA
Moving into finance is something that I want to do with my career as well. So having that specialised skills in terms of our classes, in corporate finance, macroeconomics, microeconomics was something that really, really attracted me here. So much has changed. You do really, this place does really feels like it changes you. And that’s naturally a good thing. It’s been really, really good. And exceeded all my expectations; academically, socially, and everything else. So I’m pivoting into consulting after the MBA. And it’s something that it would hardly have been done without the programme. I had a little bit of a different idea on what direction I wanted to go. Finance was in the cards, but through the Cambridge network, I got invited for an interview at a consulting company. So it was, I needed to come here to discover this side of me.
Extracurricular activities can be as influential as studies
I was the Vice-President of the Cambridge University Energy Network, which is a society that was founded by MBAs a while back. And it was great. We exceeded our expectations. It’s a university conference. And we had people coming, climbing up from London just to attend. And the magnitude of speakers that we had was quite heavy. It was probably my proudest accomplishment here in Cambridge.
I have a background in energy and renewables. I’ve been working in renewables for the past seven years. And that’s the industry that I want to go back to. And that was never a question in my mind. It was just, the question was how I would get back to that. And turns out that I’m going to a firm which is widely recognised for doing energy consultancy as well. And I decided instead to concentrate in finance, which is something I had never worked or had a role in before. And I thought there was more value on the growth there, on that part.
The MBA is the chance to diversify your views, and your perspectives, and to learn. So doing strategy consulting for Formula E, was a really, really cool experience. The opportunities that the programme provides you, it’s up to you, right, what you make of it. And organising this Energy Society, that opens up so many doors afterwards. Not just for networking and potential job opportunities, but also, one of the panels in the conference, I thought it was incredibly interesting. So I’m writing my research paper on it. So that’s the value of the MBA. It exponentially multiplies your exposure to new experiences. And then you make out of them what you want for yourself.
Making the most out of the opportunities at Cambridge
In my mind, you cannot even think of Cambridge without thinking about academics, right? This is the university, this is a place where, to quote one of our professors, “There’s something in the air,” right? And so the academic reputation of the university and of the programme specifically were a bit of a deal-breaker for myself. Especially the opportunity to run a research project over the summer. This was very much clear in my mind. If I have an opportunity, to produce something academically at the University of Cambridge that has been around literally for 800 years, why would I ever pass on that?
Joao Bianco Bekenn (MBA 2021) was working in London before starting his MBA, working for solar developers as an asset manager, “I didn’t see much of a path forward in terms of growth, staying in my old role, so I thought it was the perfect time to apply for an MBA.”
Joao had worked in both Brazil, his native country, and the USA before coming to the UK and wanted to choose an MBA programme with a globally recognised name, so an MBA from the University of Cambridge was his first choice.
He chose to concentrate on developing his finance skills across the year, “Moving into finance is something that I want to do with my career, so having those specialised skills in terms of the classes in Corporate Finance, Macroeconomics, and Microeconomics was something that really, really attracted me here.”
He continues, “I have a background in energy and renewables. I’ve been working on renewables for the past seven years and that’s the industry that I want to go back to and that was never a question in my mind. The question was how I would get back to that.”
Now working for Baringa as a Senior Consultant, based in London, he expands, “I’m pivoting into consulting after the MBA, and it’s something that would hardly have been done without the programme.
“I had an idea on what direction I wanted to go, finance was on the cards, but through the Cambridge network, I got invited for an interview at a consulting company in a finance strategy consultant role, and it turns out that I’m going to a firm which is widely recognised for doing energy consultancy as well. I needed to come here to discover this side of me.”
A career in the technology sector
I primarily chose the MBA, the Cambridge MBA for two things, for its strong fundamentals across different business principles. And second is the practical approach to the consulting projects. I’ve come to really understand principles such as corporate finance, private equity, or operations. I’ve been able to do different projects with different industries. For example, in my first semester I had the Cambridge Venture Project, to work with a sustainability consulting company. And during the Global Consulting Project, I worked with Formula E, where I consulted this Motorsport World Car championship. So, all of this combined really helped me enrich my understanding of business, and how to consult different problems and solutions across different industries.
Sustainability in business and entertainment
Having come to Cambridge, and this year in particular, I think, with COP26 being run in October, I think the whole programme has really built its focus on sustainability. Whether you’re doing finance, whether you’re doing entertainment, or digital transformation. All of those concentrations have this specific focus on sustainability because it is more important than ever, now. I think having a solid understanding of sustainability and how important it is for business, can really help build my career differently.
I know I want to be in tech, but I wasn’t really sure on what kind of tech product that I want to phase in, because I came here being very open minded. So I actually chose to do the Media, Culture and Entertainment concentration. So it has been a really exciting journey, to really understand at the intersection of technology and the arts and like consumers of the future. So all of that combined really have been, I guess, the highlights of my MBA.
Diversity in the Cambridge MBA
I came to the MBA expecting that Cambridge will be diverse, and that’s the one of the primary reasons why I wanted to do the MBA at Cambridge. But it still surprised me how diverse it is when it comes to the professional backgrounds. And how diverse the knowledge has been, where I got to interact with my classmates here, and understand their perspectives. Not just for me to learn, but also unlearn about what I think I know. All of these diversities combined really shape or reshape how I think about the world, and how I think I want to be and how I want to position myself in the world.
Mary Rasita (MBA 2021), from Indonesia, started her career in E-Commerce and was a research consultant for a consumer goods company before embarking on the Cambridge MBA.
“My reason for doing the MBA was to enhance and strengthen my business fundamentals. I wanted to expand my horizons and meet people from different industries and sectors globally. I was looking initially to explore product marketing in tech and especially consumer tech products.”
She continues, “I loved my job, but I got to a point where I realised there was a limitation in terms of room for growth. Also, I had always wanted to build an international career where I could relocate and start to build a global career. That’s when I started looking at an MBA.
“My background was a little different and I was looking for a place where I would feel comfortable and fit in.
“At Cambridge there were students who came from an arts background, from engineering or from technology, from healthcare, and from fashion. This range of sectors and backgrounds helped me realise that this cohort is very diverse, and everyone has their place here.”
Mary worked with Formula E for her Global Consulting Project and selected the Culture, Arts and Media Management Concentration, where she did a capstone project for international auction house, Christie’s, a project that examined their digital transformation journey.
She explains, “I know I want to be in tech, but I wasn’t really sure what kind of tech product that I wanted to focus on, because I came to Cambridge with a very open mind and not wanting to be fixated on this tech or that tech.”
Now working for Microsoft in the UK as a Partner Development Manager, she concludes, “My post MBA aspiration, I actually want to work in partnership and sales for tech companies, where I want to build my ability to build relationships and partnerships with different stakeholders.”
The tech sector developer
I’m an industrial and systems engineer. When I looked at the MBA, I thought it was perfect for broadening my business fundamentals and becoming a better product manager. So what I was looking for specifically is I wanted to dive deeper into technology. I have been working as a product management, but mostly for supporting areas.
When I saw a Master’s programme, I thought like this is a great way to position myself at the centre of a product strategy or company strategy.
For me, I think the landscape was the big differential. The access to Silicon Fen, like all of this range of very interesting startups, specifically in the AI space, that is something that I think was very appealing, and something I really wanted to like get into conversations.
It’s the best year, I mean, best decision of my life! The fact of being inside a campus, there’s something about it that you can pick your bike, go wherever you want. So I was able to explore so much my professional side as part of my personal side and also some interest that had nothing to do with what I do professionally or personally, and that versatility of events and just conversation and openness of Cambridge in general is something I absolutely loved.
Learning from my peers and my experience on the course
For me, I have to pick maybe three courses. The first course would be Financial Accounting. For me to be able to go back into the airlines bankruptcy publication and be reading these reports and understanding what happened, for me that was like a life changer and really proved why I came here. And then moving forward, it’s like a duet of strategic brand marketing and leadership in organisations.
This year was really like an exploring. I even challenged myself a lot of like, is product management really what I want to do? And it felt really nice looking into other things. I’ve never been so exposed to so many people from so many different nationalities at the same time. There was this like gravity between the class that really drew us together. It’s just been incredibly heartwarming to collaborate with my MBA peers. They really are a big part of the MBA programme experience.
The fact that you’re part of the Cambridge ecosystem definitely helps open a lot of doors, and the careers team just kind of put the cherry on top on, like, just creating that last bridge between you and someone you really want to meet.
Cambridge, for me, is a place of opportunity. It’s if you have a direction and you have really a passion to try something or move somewhere, Cambridge will give you all of the bridges for you to try them.
Jorge Velasco (MBA 2021) is now based in London working for a travel industry software company, Duffel, but having stepped out of the airline industry in Mexico, it was his MBA year that gave him the network and skills to fulfil his career ambitions and move to the UK.
Jorge started as an industrial systems engineer which then led into product management, from telecoms to airlines.
“The challenging landscape post COVID-19 led me into looking at a master’s programme. When I looked at the MBA, I thought it was perfect for broadening my business fundamentals and becoming a better product manager.”
He explains, “I was looking to dive deeper into technology. I had been working in product management, but mostly for supporting areas. I thought, doing an MBA will be a great way to position myself at the centre of a product’s strategy or company strategy, and get that business overview that I felt I had been missing.
“Cambridge for me has been a year of opportunities and new discoveries, from taking part in the development of the forthcoming Disinformation Summit, through to building the next generation of conversational AIs with a Cambridge based spin off for my MBA summer work placement.”
Now working in London as a Product Manager for Duffel, Jorge concludes, “In five years, I want to drive the new generation of tech innovators. I think that’s the beauty of tech. That it allows you to always just jump onto new challenges and explore new frontiers.”