We caught up with some of our alumni at their graduation and asked them about their current roles and the work they did to secure them while at the School.
The ‘switcher’ – Tom Stanley
This is something demonstrated by Tom Stanley, an alumnus who achieved the ‘triple jump’ – no easy feat. A former structural engineer, he knew he wanted to transition into finance, and so leveraged all the contacts he had at the University to make a move to the Equities Trading Floor at Citi. He took advice from Roger Howgego, a careers coach who works with Cambridge MBAs, and secured a summer work placement with the help of some of the social contacts he’d met at the University.
The digital trend – Lana Bazzy
There is a growing trend for our students, in seeking employment in digital environments, with 62 per cent going into these closely related sectors. One such person from the graduating class this year was Lana Bazzy, who made the move from finance into e-commerce, working for Amazon in Milan. She wanted to work for a fast-growing technology company, and is now part of the consumer leadership development programme there. She worked with our Careers Office to develop her interview skills. She says:
“What I found most useful was the interactions with career coaches, as well as the group practice interview sessions. For me it was incredibly useful having the coaches, as well as your peers, provide you with feedback. We were constantly helping each other and tweaking our stories to deliver the most impact.”
The entrepreneur – Natalia Ramsden
Many students go on to start their own companies, using the experience they have gained while on the Cambridge MBA. Previous students have gone on to launch companies in industries such as retail, energy, and healthcare, many staying in Cambridge to leverage the support of the Entrepreneurship Centre at the School.
Natalia Ramsden, who now runs her own company, SOFOS Associates, says that through conversations with the careers service she realised consulting wasn’t for her anymore. She decided to set up her own business.
“After spending ten years in consulting, coming to the MBA and meeting so many diverse people really set me on me on my way to set up my own business. It gave me the confidence and drive to think boldly.”
The big-name company recruit – Babaniyi Ogunbayo
An MBA is not a ‘golden ticket’ into your dream role, but with the right preparation and skill set, employment at the more well-known corporations is an option for many Cambridge MBAs. McKinsey, Microsoft and Google have been our top employers in recent years, amidst a field which is diverse and international.
Babaniyi Ogunbayo had 10 years’ experience in a technical role at Schlumberger, and was aiming for McKinsey. He was worried that he wouldn’t come across well in the interview process, so he worked with the Careers Office to sharpen his interview technique and practise his case skills. He says:
“Before the MBA, I had only done just one interview over the last 10 years, so I was quite anxious starting to interview all over again, so I made use of the one-on-one competency interviews, case interviews with a consultant, and I think that really helped overcome my initial anxiety about interviewing.”
Babaniyi secured a job with McKinsey in Nigeria.
Making a social impact – Lucia Palacios
A good salary is an important factor in employment selection, and while our average package salary uplift from pre- to post-MBA is high, in general, our alumni are motivated by job satisfaction and the ability to make a difference within an organisation and the wider world.
For some, this forms an integral part of their career choice, which is demonstrated by alumna Lucia Palacios, who after focussing on the Social Innovation concentration, and examining different models in social enterprise, decided to take a role with the Peru Opportunity Fund.
Similarly, Karl Schwonik, an alumnus with a background in music as a jazz musician, and now an Associate Dean at Medicine Hat College, Alberta, has just been appointed to the board of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Your idea of your ‘dream job’ may change while at Cambridge as you learn more about yourself and your potential, and you will certainly have to put in the work during your MBA year to find and secure it. The resources and support are here to guide you during your MBA, but your story is your own to write. Maybe your story could be one of those behind the statistics of our employment report one day.
You can watch the videos of alumni talking about their career transitions on our Vimeo channel.