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From international development to the vast expanding healthcare sector, we meet some of our most recent female Cambridge MBA graduates who are looking to make an impact in their careers.

Smiling female MBA student outside in sunny weather.

Doing good well

Raisa Hemani (MBA 2020) from the UK, spent over six years in the public sector working in the UK as a Management Accountant for the Borough of Croydon. Crossing over for a while into the private sector, working for a facilities management company, she started to look for roles that really spoke to her.

“Aside from finance, consulting was something that I had always had an interest in. I had also done a fair amount of community work in the voluntary sector, and I enjoyed helping other people.”

Raisa was looking to take a step back, to get that toolkit that would help her understand a wider variety of business situations, to apply new skills into a long-term career plan and to deal with different people.

“The MBA just seemed like a perfect blend. I knew that I needed a toolkit to make the jump into consulting and long-term into helping other people as well.

“At this point in my career, I was at a crossroads where I wanted to pivot, and so I thought it was the perfect time to do the one-year programme.”

During her MBA year Raisa was nominated as a student representative, taking the thoughts and suggestions of the rest of the cohort, and working alongside faculty and the MBA programme team to help develop and shape the future direction of the Cambridge MBA programme.

“Being a student rep has been an amazing experience for me, especially with the challenges of COVID-19 (coronavirus) during our MBA year. Personally, it has given me such a boost to be in a position that can help people to have a better experience during their MBA year.”

She concludes, “It’s been challenging, but it’s been very fulfilling talking to both sides and knowing that I have probably made an impact on future cohorts.”

Looking to progress her career into international development or to make impact within emerging economies, Raisa used the MBA courses like ‘Doing Good Well’ to develop that toolkit,

“I feel that my Cambridge MBA is a steppingstone with the new knowledge and experience and a clear toolkit to be able to use that in five or ten years when I can step into those countries, understand what needs to be changed, and make the change that I’ve been seeking to do for a long time.”

I started off in the public sector, so had a career there in finance for about five to six years. With a background in finance, across public sector and private sector, I knew that I needed sort of a toolkit to be able to make the jump into consulting, and long-term, into helping other people as well, and the MBA just seemed like a perfect blend of being able to understand business situations, being able to apply those to my long-term career, and at this point in my career, I was at a crossroads where I wanted to pivot, and so I thought it was the perfect time to do the one year programme. I started exploring one year programmes and the possibility of staying in the UK. And actually the linchpin, I think, for me about Cambridge was the diversity it offered. So I was essentially looking to get out of my comfort zone and go to another country, and I thought to myself, why would I go abroad to look for these experiences when they’re actually just right in front of my nose? And that’s one of the things that really struck me about Cambridge. The diversity of the cohort is honestly incredible. Diversity at Cambridge has been a wonderful experience for me. The number of nationalities that I see in the class, the backgrounds in terms of exposure, experience, industry, and careers has been amazing to be able to learn from and interact with people from different parts of the world, so the diversity in terms of personality has been great to understand how different people think. So to be able to work with, on projects, someone who is thinking very, very differently to yourself and bringing a different perspective to you, it really sets the scene for you to be able to go out into the real world and work in teams, which are this diverse. As a British woman, I feel the diversity of the cohort really speaks to me. The size of the cohort here has made me create connections and bonds, which are probably closer in my life and will extend forever. My aims are twofold, I obviously have an interest in consulting and I’ve got an interest in international development and social impact. And then onwards, I’m really thinking about potentially moving to an emerging economy and using some of the learnings I gained from courses, such as Marketing and Innovation in Emerging Economies, International Business for example, that’s something which has always been my dream. Helping others from a young age has always spoken to me and given me purpose, but I feel that my MBA is a stepping stone with knowledge and experience and a clear toolkit to be able to use that in 5 or 10 years when I can actually step into those countries, understand what needs to be changed, and make the change that I’ve been seeking to do for a long time. You definitely get knowledge elevation from the MBA, but more than that, it’s about the network, it’s about the network, not just of your peers that you meet here, but you meet 200 people for example, and actually, your network has now become thousands of people instantly. Whenever you need to reach out for help or you need to help somebody else, that network will be there to support you. That’s why we’re here, we’re here to learn from each other, we’re here to learn from people who are better than us, and we’re here to bring up people who might need the skills that you possess.

The healthcare strategist

Before her MBA, Nicole Advani (MBA 2020) had a background in global health and development, as a Program Manager for a USA based non-profit dedicated to health equity.

“Although I loved my job, I was realising that I was starting to hit that ceiling and ability to keep growing.”

Looking for both a tight knit and collaborative community, Nicole was also looking for diversity in every sense, as well as an international perspective.

“An MBA I knew was going to equip me with the right leadership and management skills to help me progress into more of the strategic planning type of roles that I was hoping to be in, still within the impact sector.”

Speaking with Cambridge faculty, as well as MBA teams and current students before applying, Nicole knew it was an ‘instant fit and click for me’.

Focusing on the Healthcare Concentration in the Cambridge MBA, Nicole tailored her practical consultancy experience during the year. The Global Consulting Project was with The United Nations, developing business and investment strategies for improved health outcomes in Rwanda for The Defeat-NCD Partnership. Nicole also supported Cambridge Judge against COVID-19 – a student led initiative during the year. Working on developing a digital marketing strategy for an NHS medical technology subsidiary and completing market research to assist the introduction of a physician performance tracker for a healthcare clinic.

Nicole was also looking to develop the wider skills she needed to move forward in her career, “I also wanted to pick up some of the more technical skills that come with a business degree, like corporate finance and macro-economics, so I made sure to prioritise those as well, to keep that proper balance during the year.” With the diverse experience and skills Nicole was building across the MBA year, she secured the consultancy role she was looking for, at Deloitte in London, UK, in Healthcare Strategy and Transformation.

My background is in Global Health and Development. So I was working at a nonprofit organisation, mostly managing health technologies. I thoroughly loved my job and was realising quickly that I was starting to hit that ceiling and ability to keep growing. But the MBA I knew was going to equip me with the right leadership and management skills to help me progress into more of the strategic planning type of roles that I was hoping to be in, still within the impact sector. I knew my priorities were to find a tight knit, collaborative community that allowed me to get a very diverse and international perspective. Coming from a Global Health background, I know how invaluable that was, both from my previous education, as well as from my work experience. So after being introduced to the MBA programme, having some conversations with the faculty staff and current students, it was an instant fit and click for me and I’m really grateful to be here. Part of the motivation for the Cambridge MBA was the Healthcare Strategies concentration. I also wanted to pick up some of the more technical skills that come with a business degree, like corporate finance and macro econ, to know I was developing the skills I needed to continue to move forward in my career the way I wanted to. The cohort that we’re a part of, although people might not be specifically within the impact space, everyone here wants to do good in their own sectors. So to be able to keep that mindset of let’s think creatively how we can drive positive change, but maybe we should think about how we can engage with different sectors in different industries to really drive that lasting change. I’ve found that actually in some of the non-social impact or health-related courses is where I’ve done the most thinking and learning and applying in this context, which has been really invaluable and something I wasn’t expecting in advance. I’m hoping to continue to apply some of these skills and really drive a little bit deeper into the strategy aspect of health care and development. And I want to try and use best practices from some other industries and apply them into the impact space to drive the most lasting and sustainable impact. So I’m looking at a couple of different options, but I’ve been taking this time to really evaluate those opportunities, talk to people that are in the field and the different sectors and see what the right fit is for me. In five years time, I hope to be in more of a strategy position within the impact space. I want to stay in the healthcare industry as much as I can, but I know in order to do that more effectively and be a really strong leader in the space, it’s important to get that diverse experience. And I think this year, this past year has been a really good starting point for that. So I’m hoping to use the next few years to continue to explore and build that skillset, so that in five years, 10 years time, I can come back to the healthcare space more intentionally and really apply those learnings in an effective way. I’m at Christ College, which has been a really great opportunity to balance what I see as Judge being very innovative and progressive and you know, building and learning on new ideas and methodologies, with a very much traditional college experience. I think what’s been interesting and surprising and something that I wasn’t really expecting, was how progressive my college is as well. So they very much hold on to tradition and the roots that make the college what it is today, but they do it in a way that’s encouraging innovation, encouraging people to think outside the box, is very inclusive in a lot of ways. So it’s been a really nice complement to my experience at Judge. I intentionally picked a college that didn’t have a lot of MBAs in it, because I wanted again to balance that experience and it’s proven to be true. So my background is in Global Health and Development, and I focused a lot on women’s health and women’s reproductive rights. And so when I saw the role of Women’s Officer come available in my MCR through Christ College, it was something that really interested me. The Women’s Officer at Christ College has allowed me to meet several people in the college and in our MCR, but also you know, the very stereotypical formal hall, graduate hall experiences have been exactly what I was hoping for and expecting. It’s really made me and helped me to embody the Cambridge collegiate experience in a way that I don’t think you’d get in any other university.

The International NGO leader

Christina Feng (MBA 2020) from China had been working in Afghanistan for a number of years before starting her MBA. Working in International Development, she was working with entrepreneurs to develop their businesses locally, especially with investment and expansion.

“I was doing a lot of consultancy services to local entrepreneurs, and I felt that I needed more skills and experience in this area, to improve my competency and ultimately to better serve those developing countries.”

During the MBA year, Christina was involved with a number of networks across the wider Cambridge eco-system, she was Co-chair of the China Business Society and she made contact with both the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, as well as the Entrepreneurship Centre, both of which are based at the Cambridge Judge Business School. She also participated in the Cambridge Venture Creation Weekend, building on her skills, and thinking creatively within the entrepreneurship community at Cambridge.

“So those experiences really helped me put the skills I was learning into practice,” she says. “It also really helped me think through the business ideas I had; it was a very unique experience.”

Christina chose the Global Business Concentration to further develop her international experience and network. She also selected her MBA Global Consulting project working with USAID Georgia Economy Security Program, conducting analysis of Georgia’s fintech ecosystem.

“The project enabled us to really have impact, the real impact on the national policy and to help them to develop their regulations regarding fintech development. By the end of the project, we were invited to participate in the multi-stakeholder forum to facilitate them and find solutions, help for the fintech industry development.”

The global network across the MBA community was also invaluable. “In my cohort, we had international businesses, global marketing, and we also spoke to executives from different companies and a lot of them, they have the experience of working in the emerging markets or frontier markets in Africa, Middle East, and beyond.” Returning to the international development sector, Christina hopes her MBA skills and experience will help her progress faster in her career and help her better serve entrepreneurs in those developing countries she wishes to help grow.

My background is in Global Health and Development. So I was working at a nonprofit organisation, mostly managing health technologies. I thoroughly loved my job and was realising quickly that I was starting to hit that ceiling and ability to keep growing. But the MBA I knew was going to equip me with the right leadership and management skills to help me progress into more of the strategic planning type of roles that I was hoping to be in, still within the impact sector. I knew my priorities were to find a tight knit, collaborative community that allowed me to get a very diverse and international perspective. Coming from a Global Health background, I know how invaluable that was, both from my previous education, as well as from my work experience. So after being introduced to the MBA programme, having some conversations with the faculty staff and current students, it was an instant fit and click for me and I’m really grateful to be here. Part of the motivation for the Cambridge MBA was the Healthcare Strategies concentration. I also wanted to pick up some of the more technical skills that come with a business degree, like corporate finance and macro econ, to know I was developing the skills I needed to continue to move forward in my career the way I wanted to. The cohort that we’re a part of, although people might not be specifically within the impact space, everyone here wants to do good in their own sectors. So to be able to keep that mindset of let’s think creatively how we can drive positive change, but maybe we should think about how we can engage with different sectors in different industries to really drive that lasting change. I’ve found that actually in some of the non-social impact or health-related courses is where I’ve done the most thinking and learning and applying in this context, which has been really invaluable and something I wasn’t expecting in advance. I’m hoping to continue to apply some of these skills and really drive a little bit deeper into the strategy aspect of health care and development. And I want to try and use best practices from some other industries and apply them into the impact space to drive the most lasting and sustainable impact. So I’m looking at a couple of different options, but I’ve been taking this time to really evaluate those opportunities, talk to people that are in the field and the different sectors and see what the right fit is for me. In five years time, I hope to be in more of a strategy position within the impact space. I want to stay in the healthcare industry as much as I can, but I know in order to do that more effectively and be a really strong leader in the space, it’s important to get that diverse experience. And I think this year, this past year has been a really good starting point for that. So I’m hoping to use the next few years to continue to explore and build that skillset, so that in five years, 10 years time, I can come back to the healthcare space more intentionally and really apply those learnings in an effective way. I’m at Christ College, which has been a really great opportunity to balance what I see as Judge being very innovative and progressive and you know, building and learning on new ideas and methodologies, with a very much traditional college experience. I think what’s been interesting and surprising and something that I wasn’t really expecting, was how progressive my college is as well. So they very much hold on to tradition and the roots that make the college what it is today, but they do it in a way that’s encouraging innovation, encouraging people to think outside the box, is very inclusive in a lot of ways. So it’s been a really nice complement to my experience at Judge. I intentionally picked a college that didn’t have a lot of MBAs in it, because I wanted again to balance that experience and it’s proven to be true. So my background is in Global Health and Development, and I focused a lot on women’s health and women’s reproductive rights. And so when I saw the role of Women’s Officer come available in my MCR through Christ College, it was something that really interested me. The Women’s Officer at Christ College has allowed me to meet several people in the college and in our MCR, but also you know, the very stereotypical formal hall, graduate hall experiences have been exactly what I was hoping for and expecting. It’s really made me and helped me to embody the Cambridge collegiate experience in a way that I don’t think you’d get in any other university.

IWD 2022

Women and the Future of Work:
a fireside chat and networking event
8 March 2022 | 18:00-19:00
Cambridge Judge Business School and live online

Register your place >Event: Women and the future of work. Imaginging a gender-equal world.