We caught up with some of our most recent graduates on their Graduation Day, as they reflect on how their Cambridge MBA degree has helped them in their career, as well as their personal growth.
MBA graduation from Cambridge Judge Business School takes place every UK Springtime, some eight months after the MBA students complete their studies. By then our graduates are firmly established in their new career roles and with new organisations across the globe, or they have returned to more senior roles back in their home country. Many choose to stay in the UK in London, or in Europe to develop their international skills and experience further.
Switching sector, function and role
Ezinne Onyeka (MBA 2020) is currently on the Accelerated Leadership Programme at Amazon, based in the UK. “I was looking for leadership experience and I secured this role early on in my MBA year”, she says.
“The main thing was to remain open minded, I wanted to learn about different industries and different functions and see what else was out there”, she continues.
“I was looking for something beyond consulting and outside of Africa, so my goal coming into the MBA was to switch sector, location and function – everything really.”
Skills for business leadership
For Melony Mahaarachchi (MBA 2019) it was an opportunity to go back to school and formalise the skills she needed to become a founder/partner at Cambridge Global Ventures.
“Professionally this MBA allowed me to pivot my existing vibrant career to something more challenging yet multidimensional. It allowed me to insert myself into networks and ecosystems I would not otherwise have been able to with my engineering profession.”
And personally, “my MBA experience has been life changing. One reason is the internationally diverse cohort I spent my year with and the friendships I cultivated, which in return made a mammoth impact. I sure will have friends in every corner of the world as I travel for my new career endeavours in the future.”
Broadening your experience and building your confidence
For Audrey Aw (MBA 2020) it was about making the move from HR at Shell into Consulting at Bain, still based in Singapore.
“The concentration I took on Digital Transformation was really useful in the world we are in today. I see that as a common theme in a lot of consultancy cases and so I am looking forward to applying that at Bain.”
She continues, “I think just being on an MBA programme, with a truly international cohort; it broadens your perspective beyond the work experience you have had.
“I think it gives you the confidence that you’re able to learn new things really quickly, in a really condensed year and do fairly well in it. So that has given me the confidence to move into consulting,” she concludes.
Making a transition with an MBA
Like Ezinne, Xavier Maqueo (MBA 2020) was also looking to change sector and role.
Xavier’s goal was to remain firmly in the public sector, after 4 years in quantitative analysis at the International Monetary Fund, “I wanted to have some strategic role to make recommendations and improvements within government and projects. It is in the private sector that you build those management skills, and an MBA was the perfect way to step into the private sector and to then progress back into the public sector.”
For Xavier having an idea of what you want to do was key to enjoying the MBA year.
“A year makes it sound quite a long time but for a career, it is exactly what you need for a transition, but not more than that.
He continues, “Having an idea of where you want to go, talking to your classmates and the CJBS Careers Team, making sure you are accessing all the resources that you can during the year. It is going to open so many doors.”
New challenges, new geography
For Manar El Batran (MBA 2020), now working with Strategy& based in the UK, leadership skills were key as she developed her career in consulting.
“For me, the MBA was key to harnessing those leadership skills, as well as those softer skills. I wanted to make sure that I’m ready for the next step in my career because as you progress, you will have the opportunity to manage more people and leadership skills are key. This was one of my targets coming into the MBA.”
Previously based in Dubai, working at EY, Manar was looking to switch locations. “While I haven’t switched functions, it is a whole different landscape, the geography dictates differences in terms of the scope and the kind of problems you are working on. So, it’s a whole new world and a whole new set of challenges for me.”