Katie Lundie.

Home from home? Why choosing to stay in the UK for your MBA can be a smart choice

10 February 2023

The article at a glance

Doing an MBA in the UK can be rewarding, as well as eye opening. It allows you to develop your skills and expand your network across the UK and London and it can give you a whole new perspective on your home country. We talk to some of our recent graduates and ask them why they chose to study for their MBA right on their doorstep, here in the UK.

Doing an MBA in the UK can be rewarding, as well as eye opening. It allows you to develop your skills and expand your network across the UK and London and it can give you a whole new perspective on your home country. We talk to some of our recent graduates and ask them why they chose to study for their MBA right on their doorstep, here in the UK.

Will it be global?

Raisa Hemani.
Raisa Hemani (MBA 2020)

Raisa Hemani (MBA 2020) was looking at two-year programmes and the chance to study overseas. “I then started looking at one-year programmes and the possibility of staying in the UK,” she explains.

“I was looking at getting out of my comfort zone and studying in another country. It was actually on the interview day in Cambridge, I looked around me and I felt like I was abroad.”

Before the MBA she had been working in the finance sector for both local government and in the private sector with a focus on empowering the underserved and fostering financial inclusion.

“The linchpin for me about Cambridge was the diversity of the MBA community. I thought to myself, why would I go abroad to look for these experiences when they’re actually just right in front of my nose?”

For Russell Anderson (MBA 2019), who worked for Amazon in the Strategy & Operations division after graduating in 2020, the global exposure the MBA offered was the main driver. “I think that’s a key part of the MBA, is that worldwide opportunity. I’d be very happy to get a job anywhere in the world and to get that sort of global mobility, that I was looking for in my previous career. So that’s something that I’m really trying to utilise the MBA for.”

Will I get access to overseas employers?

Russell Anderson.
Russell Anderson (MBA 2019)

In our most recent employment report our top employers were Amazon, Deloitte, BCG, McKinsey, JP Morgan and Shopee, but over 100 international employers recruited from our diverse Cambridge MBA class of 2020/21.

Ed Bosson (MBA 2021) was also looking to the diverse cohort to expand his global connections.

“Coming into the MBA, compared to my expectations, the class was so much more diverse than I expected – as someone coming from the UK to a UK school. It really is a global programme and has provided me with an amazing opportunity to have a network that spans all around the world.”

Before his MBA, Ed Bosson had worked in both Tokyo and London in private equity finance and was looking to explore a different direction in his career. “I wanted to look beyond the finance sector, and I thought an MBA was a good way to make that pivot into something different.”

Anna Wood.
Anna Wood (MBA 2021)

Anna Wood née Mason (MBA 2021) received the Cambridge MBA Professor Nick Oliver Scholarship for UK Nationals, an annual award of up to £15,000. After a career in the music industry in London for a tech-based record label, Anna was looking to strengthen her financial and strategic skillset and develop her business skills further.

“I have longer-term entrepreneurial ambitions and with eight years of professional experience under my belt, it felt like the perfect time to embark on the MBA journey.”

Now part of the Accelerate Cambridge programme, Anna explains, “My long-term aspiration is to set up and run my own business. I look forward to the diverse toolkit Cambridge will equip me with and to ultimately make a greater impact on any future venture. I hope the MBA will enable me to become a transformative leader.”

Will the curriculum allow access to new sectors and experiences?

Ed Bosson.
Ed Bosson (MBA 2021)

Not only does the MBA open opportunities to meet global employers on campus, but the range of projects offered as part of the core curriculum also offer practical consulting experience on the international arena.

“So my Cambridge Venture Project during the first term was a sustainability project for a multinational global telecoms company, based in the UK, working with their head of sustainability strategy,” Ed says.

For his Global Consulting Project, Ed then worked with a small team on a fan engagement project for Formula E. Another project with sustainability at its heart, this time Ed was motivated by the tech credentials of the company.

“I was interested in moving into the tech sphere and obviously Formula E is a very high-tech sport. And working on a strategy project for Formula E is similar to the type of work I want to be doing in the future.”

Ed now works for the global company Booking.com, in strategy and operations. “I have changed both industry and the type of role that I’m doing compared to what I was doing before. So, the MBA has been really instrumental in helping me to make that jump.”

Could I work overseas afterwards?

Katie Lundie.
Katie Lundie (MBA 2020)

Katie Lundie (MBA 2020) came to the MBA from the international auction house, Christies, where she was a specialist auctioneer in Chinese antiques. Then after graduating and after a Summer term work placement with the startup Bond180, she stayed in the fintech sector and took up a role in project development and fundraising for the London-based fintech, Bond 180.

“In terms of location, I moved to Amsterdam for a while, because I incorporated a company together with the team at Bond180. We incorporated a new company called 180 Protocol in Singapore. And I basically ran those operations out of Amsterdam.”

Now based back in the UK Katie recently took an Associate role at Outlier Ventures, still firmly in the tech sector working in Web3 fashion.

“Being exposed to others on the MBA who are also entrepreneurial and have these ideas that I’ve seen start from just a conversation, to now seeing classmates with an actual startup, offering a functional product to customers. It’s interesting to see that process, and it made me believe that’s something I could do as well. And having that network of global alumni really solidified that opportunity for me to put into practice what we had learned on the programme.”

Are there trips abroad?

As well as the long running treks across the year to places such as South Africa, Japan and Israel, the MBA curriculum at Cambridge offers the option of an International Business Study Trip in the Summer term. The International Business Study Trip is a week-long visit to a global location carefully selected based on current economic trends, with all lectures for the course delivered during the trip. Topics and themes range from innovation to globalisation and understanding cultural distance.

Will I just meet other British people?

Our community is highly international, with the MBA class each year being around 90% non-British. This global community is essential in enabling our world-class research, teaching, real-world impact, and outreach as a business School. To support the continuance of this diversity, we offer several scholarships to candidates from under-represented countries.

The new Cambridge MBA Scholarship for Regional Diversity offers up to £32,000, to five applicants from countries we target to ensure a diverse global cohort each year.

The current class brings together students from 46 different countries and nationalities.

“The diversity at Cambridge has been a wonderful experience for me. The number of nationalities that I see in the class, the backgrounds in terms of exposure, experience, industry, and careers has been amazing. To be able to learn from and interact with people from different parts of the world that you’ve never even visited before and really understand their points of view,” says Raisa Hemani.

She continues; “The diversity at Cambridge is something which I’ve never seen before. I would never have worked in a team where there are five different nationalities and you’re working so closely together.

“It really sets the scene for you to be able to go out into the real world and work in teams which are this diverse.”