skip to navigation skip to content

The Professional Service Firm Leader – Live Online

Businessman placing post-it notes on a whiteboard.


The Professional Service Firm Leader is an eight-session Live Online programme delivered over a five-week period in May and June 2021. It will be composed of two sessions per week for Weeks 1, 2, 4 and 5, with Week 3 being reserved for individual reflection. The programme will also be supported by access to session reading materials and other resources via our Virtual Learning Environment. The total duration of each session, including pre-session and post-session activity, will be 3.5 hours.

Professional service firms find themselves in a period of unprecedented change and competitive challenge. Pre-COVID, significant forces were already impacting the profession, including digital transformation, changing client demands, changing talent expectations, new models and new entrants. The pandemic has amplified and accelerated these trends, but has also introduced many new challenges, in particular those stemming from the mass dispersal of talent through remote-working.

Professional service firm partners are finding themselves at the forefront of these issues and their impacts. They are needing to balance the demands of developing and serving clients with the focus required to lead and manage teams effectively in a fast-changing environment. The tension that lies at the heart of these two core responsibilities – which are often in conflict – is the source of many of the challenges faced by professional service firm partners.

The programme has been specifically designed to equip partners with essential insights, models, skills and practical pointers to help them operate more effectively, both at firm and practice level. We also allow the time and space for partners to reflect, both as individuals and in groups, on how they can apply these learnings in their own firms.

Our approach

The Professional Service Leader Live Online programme brings together leading business academics from the University of Cambridge and former practitioners to offer a wealth of experience in providing strategic, leadership and personal advice and development skills to professional service firms and their partners.

The result is a unique and transformative learning event specifically developed and tailored for professional service firms. It blends academic and practical sessions to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the concepts of professional service firm leadership and management, coupled with the skills needed to apply them effectively in your daily working life.

Our Live Online programmes offer the same quality and academic rigour associated with all Cambridge education:

  • Delivered by Cambridge Judge Business School’s world-class faculty – Cambridge Judge is a strong research-oriented business school with 19 research centres. All programmes are designed and led by an Academic Programme Director who is a member of Cambridge Judge faculty.
  • Drawing upon the strengths and resources of the wider University of Cambridge and the Cambridge ecosystem, including accessing global alumni and specialists as guest speakers
  • Small class sizes (maximum 30) and high levels of interaction with world-class faculty.
  • Emphasis on quality outcomes – we seek to monitor our delivery against the individual needs of participants. It is no accident that a little over half of our open programme participants come back to Cambridge Judge at least once, often multiple times.


The programme covers four key themes:

  • Re-thinking your leadership
  • Re-thinking your strategy
  • Managing key relationships: your clients and your people
  • The Professional Service Firm of the future.

Session topics include:

  • Professional service firm leadership in the post-COVID era
  • Leadership essentials
  • Professional service firm strategy
  • Innovating across the business
  • Delivering client-centric service
  • Managing high-performing teams
  • Managing digital transformation
  • Building the future: strategy implementation in practice.


You’ll learn from Cambridge Judge Business School’s combined team of outstanding faculty and highly-experienced former practitioners, as well as gain a truly international experience from your global peer group.

  • Access a unique blend of academic insight and practitioner-based experience, including in professional service firm leadership
  • Become a more effective leader and manager of teams by understanding more about your own role and increasing your confidence
  • Gain insights into developing effective business strategies, including those that are disruptive
  • Learn how to think more innovatively across the value chain
  • Develop deeper insights into client-centric thinking
  • Understand the importance of the strategy implementation process
  • Examine how you will manage and leverage the opportunities from digital transformation
  • Think about how you will build your professional service firm of the future
  • Explore practical concepts, frameworks and case studies to identify principles and reinforce learning
  • Reflect individually and in groups as to how to apply your insights and learnings in practice, including the changes you want to make
  • Join a cohort of your peers and build a valuable network with other professional service firm partners from around the world.

Who should attend

Professional service firm partners, particularly those in leadership and management positions such as managing partners, members of partnership boards and other firm-wide management committees, practice area heads, industry sector heads, and those in line to take up such positions and responsibilities.

Programme Director

Matthew Jones

Fellow in Professional Services Leadership & Strategy

Faculty & speakers

Stella Pachidi

University Lecturer in Information Systems

PhD (VU University Amsterdam)

Philip Stiles

University Senior Lecturer in Corporate Governance

PhD (University of London)

Shazhad (Shaz) Ansari

Professor of Strategy & Innovation

PhD (University of Cambridge)

Mark Smith

Senior Advisor

MSc (Henley Business School)

Benn Lawson

University Senior Lecturer in Operations Management

PhD (University of Melbourne)

Cath Bishop

Chair of Cambridge University’s Women’s Boat Club

As Chair of Cambridge University’s Women’s Boat Club, Cath enthuses students to wave their training oars defiantly in the face of a challenge. Fluent in five languages, few people are as well-equipped to inspire others all over the world and influence them to pursue higher goals.

Cath has a BA in modern languages from Pembroke College, Cambridge, a masters in international politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and a PhD in contemporary German literature from the University of Reading. Cath won medals at the World Championships twice, a silver in 1998 in the women’s pair with Dot Blackie, and gold in 2003, again in the pair, with Katherine Grainger. She won silver in the 2004 Olympic Games in the women’s pair with Grainger. In 1999 she was the World Indoor Rowing Champion. From 2001 through 2014 Bishop forged a career with the Foreign Office, for whom she worked in London; Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Basra Iraq. Her roles included: Politica, Projects and Press Officer at British Embassy, Sarajevo, from 2004; Political Adviser to the High Representative to Bosnia & Herzegovina from 2006; Head of the Political Section at the British Consulate in Basra from 2007; and Deputy Director of the Stabilisation Unit in London from 2009-2011.

Cath Bishop is a versatile speaker with key lessons for companies floundering in the rocky waters of business. Sharing practical strategies to help teams make a splash with exceptional results, Cath relays the need for clarity and honesty to achieve success. Delivering outstanding performance under extreme circumstances is Cath’s lifeblood – both from her gruelling Olympic training regime and through her struggle for survival as she sheltered from shelling on her diplomatic mission to Basra.

Cath returned from two Olympic games without a medal and decided that, after rigorous physical and psychological training, she had to unlock the secret to her non-success. In her search for new tactics, she ultimately adopted the well-documented ‘marginal gains’ attitude that saw her sail smoothly onto the podium. No stranger to tough situations, the decade Cath spent as a British diplomat in Bosnia and Iraq has equipped her with the highest level of strategy-building, resilience, and a determination to do her job in the face of danger and adversity. Both rowing and international diplomacy are effective analogies for interdependency and collaboration in business. In a unique amalgamation of her diverse experiences, Cath deftly relates genuine insights into setbacks and how to respond to them.

Dates & fees

The Professional Service Firm Leader is an 8-session Live Online programme delivered over a five-week period in May and June 2021. It will be composed of two sessions per week for Weeks 1, 2, 4 and 5, with Week 3 being reserved for individual reflection.



Fees *

Week 1: 20-21 May 2021
Week 2: 27-28 May 2021
Week 3: Individual reflection
Week 4: 10-11 June 2021
Week 5: 17-18 June 2021

8 half-day sessions in total (mornings, UK time)

£4,000 + VAT

For information regarding payment terms, cancellation rights, transfer policies and fees, please see our terms & conditions documents:

Terms & Conditions for Self-funded Applicants (pdf, 277KB) (updated 4 September 2019)
Terms & Conditions for Organisation-funded Applicants (pdf, 295KB) (updated 4 September 2019)

Registration closes at midday two working days before the programme start date.

Participants are expected to attend the full programme.

Please ensure that you have read our Frequently Asked Questions, which provide important additional information about our Live Online programmes.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about this programme and how it could benefit you or your organisation, please get in touch with the programme advisor:

Stacey Clifford

Client Relationship Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1223 339605

[email protected]

Access Stacey's profile

Request a call back

Stacey Clifford

Version 1 (4 February 2021)


Professional Service Firms


8 half-day sessions (mornings, UK time)


20 May-18 June 2021
(See “Dates & fees” for specific dates)

Book a place