A cohort of 210 professionals started their Cambridge MBA this month. With 46 nationalities represented, the class is preparing for an exciting year of learning, teamwork, and career progression.
With an average of six years’ work experience across the board and an average age of 29, the MBA Class of 2022/23 will bring a wealth of experience, a wide variety of perspectives and a broad cultural context to the MBA year ahead.
Looking to enhance and pivot their careers with an MBA from the University of Cambridge include those from the tech sector, banking and finance, and consulting, as well as founders, entrepreneurs, and engineers. Alongside this we welcome our military veterans, those from the not-for-profit and impact sector, as well as those equipping themselves with the necessary leadership skills to step up to the next level in global governance.
We met some of our new class and asked them about their career journey to date, why Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) was their choice of business school and where their career ambitions lie in the coming months.
Ruth Douglas, recipient of the Forté Foundation Scholarship from the UK, was working as a senior lawyer for the UK Government before embarking on an MBA. Her work included supporting acts of parliament as they passed through into UK law.
“I spoke to a huge amount of people in advance of applying to an MBA programme and the Cambridge MBA really stood out. That was first and foremost because of the people. It was clear it was a tight-knit, diverse community of change-makers who were bright and ambitious, but also collaborative and supportive. That’s a community I want to be a part of.”
With the highest female representation on the Cambridge MBA programme to date, standing at 47% of the cohort, Ruth has received one of five Forté Foundation awards made this year.
“I’m looking forward to encouraging more female applicants to the Cambridge Judge programme, particularly those from non-traditional backgrounds. The MBA Admissions team gave me the confidence to apply to Cambridge and I would like to do the same for others going forward.”
She continues, “I am so excited to be in an environment where my main focus is to learn, engage and grow, with a group of other people on the same journey. I want to soak up all the opportunities on offer and really challenge myself.”
She concludes, “I know I will come out of this year with more insights about myself and my goals than I could have imagined.”
Iranian born Farshid Farasat, launched and scaled a leading vertical E-Commerce business in Tehran, as founder and CEO, before starting his MBA.
“Although I went through a lot of pressure to scale a startup in a turbulent economy, I am determined to launch a business again. However, I want to equip myself with new weaponry to go into battle this time, especially when the battleground is international and is far more complex and challenging than a local market.”
Farshid continues, “I would like to explore the exciting world of people around me. The MBA year ahead is a great time to exchange ideas, share experiences and learn from each other. I am keen on challenging talks with ingenious minds, especially regarding startup ideas.”
On his career growth and ambitions during and after the year ahead Farshid says, “I aim to continue my entrepreneurial journey in the global ecosystem and work internationally. I believe my Cambridge MBA will accelerate both my soft and hard skills to a new level so I can add more value to working in and developing a startup.”
Jonathan Ngai, from both the UK and China, was working in London before his MBA as a Deputy Portfolio Manager in infrastructure investments. Jonathan wants his MBA to expand his network, and also to bring world class speakers and guests to the University and Business School during the year ahead.
Jonathan was attracted to the Cambridge MBA because of the busy ‘Silicon Fen’ eco system and the famous Cambridge cluster. He knew that this rich pool of contacts and networks would help him develop his entrepreneurial skills and support him to realise his future career goals.
Having worked within investments for some of the largest infrastructure projects in the world, Jonathan says, “My focus at Cambridge will be expanding my horizons beyond my existing expertise in infrastructure investment, such as learning more about entrepreneurship, leadership, and the risks and opportunities facing the world.”
Cínthia Passos Maia
Cínthia Passos Maia, travelled from her hometown of São Paulo, Brazil to start her MBA journey at Cambridge. After three years in the financial services sector within the automotive industry and a further three years in valuation consulting, Cinthia was looking to get a formal education to build on her business experience and existing skill base.
She says, “Being an accountant and having more than five years of a broad set of professional experiences, from finance and accounting to marketing and strategy, I thought it was time to get a formal education to leverage these experiences and acquire the skills and network to excel in global leadership positions.”
She had done an exchange during her undergraduate years in Melbourne, Australia and was looking to continue her studies in an international setting. In partnership with TalentoTotal, a non-profit organisation dedicated to creating opportunities and providing pathways for high-achieving black men and women from underrepresented communities working initially across Latin America, she felt that an MBA was the right fit and there was never a better time in her professional career to make it happen.
After only a few weeks in Cambridge, Cinthia has already found the diversity and global reach she was looking for in an MBA programme, she explains, “Cambridge has one of the most diverse MBA classes in the world in terms of nationality. My class has representatives from 46 countries. Even in these early weeks, I have already learnt a lot from my colleagues. What most excites me is knowing I will always have different and global perspectives on business.”
Karina Matin Gutierrez
Karina Matin Gutierrez from Mexico wants to be the ‘best version of herself’ and equip herself with the right skills to progress her career.
Based in Mexico before her MBA she was the Group Controller for the Azteca Real Estate Group.
She talks about why an MBA and why now, “I am convinced that it is important to be well-prepared to succeed in a business environment. The MBA is just what I need to advance my career. Cambridge has always been my aspiration, but I thought it was impossible.”
She continues, “One of the main reasons I was attracted to the Cambridge MBA was the wide and diverse cohort that the Business School attracts and also just how practical the MBA programme is. It is just the experience I need to develop both my career and the best version of me.”
Cambridge for Karina means, “A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; a dream come true and a challenge that will push me to become the best version of me. I get really excited every time I think about this opportunity, and I just cannot stop smiling.”
Nigerian Paula Faniran has worked in some of the largest pension providers across Nigeria. Having spent ten years in some of the leading financial institutions, Paula was looking to expand her skill base and equip her with the skills to tackle further career growth in the next ten years.
“My professional development efforts over the years have accelerated my growth into senior management, but in the coming years I am eager to gain new skills, expand my network and broaden my impact. There is no better place for me to do this than at Cambridge. As I transition into a career in impact investment, I know that a Cambridge MBA will equip me with the specific skills and knowledge I require to achieve my career goals and become a leader in today’s world.”
She continues, “I look forward to expanding my network and building meaningful, lifelong relationships with the faculty and my peers. I am also super excited to participate in term projects and build the investment, communication, and leadership skills I will need to thrive in my post-MBA career.”
Ing Shern (Dexter) Lee
Ing Shern (Dexter) Lee, from Malaysia, has seven years’ experience in the animal nutrition/biotech industry working across the Asia Pacific region as Business Development Manager for the CCPA Group.
Dexter is looking for diversity in his career and a breadth of experience within an international context. “I wanted more diversity and to experience various business topics across different industries. This MBA allows me to reflect and draw from diverse perspectives from the very diverse Cambridge Judge cohort.”
He continues, “I also wanted to bridge the skill gaps required to achieve my career goals, for example with the unique consulting opportunities offered during the Cambridge MBA, such as the Global Consulting Project and Cambridge Venture Project.”
He concludes, “I want to enrich my life experience by leaving my comfort zone, living abroad, and contributing to the broader collegiate community at the University of Cambridge.”
USA born Nicholas Oddo founded a medical device company after graduating and obtained his first US patent aged just 15. Nick intends to develop his entrepreneurship skills further during his MBA year.
“While operating my own business, I realised that I needed to fine tune my executive management skills to grow as a business leader. This led me to apply to the Cambridge MBA programme, which is a perfect match for me because of its strong entrepreneurial spirit and culture.”
He continues, “I am very excited to meet my classmates in person and become immersed in the Cambridge MBA community. There are so many amazing things at Cambridge to get involved in, such as student government, Special Interest Groups or SIGs, the King’s College Entrepreneurship Lab, College Formal Dinners, and MBAT – a global sports competition for MBA students. I am looking forward to the very exciting times ahead!”
These are just some of the professionals embarking on their MBA year at Cambridge – look out for introductions and insight from others across our MBA social channels as well as our student blog – Cambridge MBA Stories.