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Cambridge EMBA alumni enjoy lifelong learning at CJBS


Graduates can return to Cambridge each year to take an elective course free of charge

Cambridge EMBAThe Cambridge Executive MBA is more than just an intensive 18-month programme – it’s a lifelong learning experience. After graduation, Cambridge Judge Business School continues to furnish its alumni with the knowledge and skills needed to become more effective managers.

In an initiative unique among UK business schools, EMBA graduates now have the chance to return to Cambridge every year to take elective courses alongside current students. It’s a valuable opportunity to keep abreast of the latest research and thinking, catch up with former colleagues and make contacts in other cohorts.

Alumni can come back to Cambridge to do one elective a year

Participants on the Executive MBA programme undertake two electives over a period of four days. Under the new scheme, alumni are offered the chance to join them for one elective a year, free of charge. Subjects for the electives vary from year to year, and are chosen to best complement the interests of each cohort. Recent examples have included Strategy and Organisation for the Information Age, How to Start Technology Companies, and Fast Strategy, Intrapreneurship and Business Instinct.

Electives can help with career change

Once the options have been decided, a list is circulated to all EMBA alumni. Take-up has been impressive: out of approximately 200 graduates, a third have decided to return this year to take an elective. Among them was Matthew Condy (Cambridge EMBA 2011), who found the experience a valuable help with his change of career direction.

He says: “I took an elective in Consumer Behaviour, as I’m transitioning from government consulting to business and management consulting. In my previous industry I was dealing with government clients and politicians, and they behave in ways I’ve studied for a long time.

“With more commercial ventures there’s a whole new customer base, so there was tremendous value in this elective for me. We examined consumer behaviour from a commercial standpoint, and did some case studies about how businesses make decisions based on consumer wants and needs or how they want to be positioned in the marketplace. It was very interesting.”

The opportunity to learn new topics and network

Shiri Zilberman (Cambridge EMBA 2011), project manager at semiconductor company Broadcom, relished the chance to sample more electives than her EMBA programme had permitted. “I had to pick just two electives when I was doing the programme, and afterwards there was a lot of feedback from the other participants about the courses they’d done. I felt I’d really be interested to do some of those courses myself, and when I came back this year I was able to do the Fast Strategy, Intrapreneurship and Business Instinct elective.”

There is an added incentive for alumni to return: the weekends also include a formal dinner at a Cambridge College and a high-profile speaker. The last occasion included António Horta-Osório, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, as guest of honour.

Both there and in more informal settings, alumni enjoyed great opportunities to network and catch up with old friends. “I was very happy to see that around 50 per cent of my class had come back,” says Matthew Condy. “It’s always good to catch up with old classmates, but we also had the chance to meet and co-mingle with people from other classes who had come back, and with the two current cohorts. That sort of cross-pollination between different groups is just great.”