Hone your academic career and prepare for your PhD

The MPhil in Innovation, Strategy and Organisation is an interdisciplinary programme, designed for those pursuing a research career. The programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the competitive world of management scholarship.  

You will study management in a modern world and from an early stage in your career, you will focus on your area of interest. You will be encouraged to think about organisations, their role in society and the impact you can make through your research on challenges and issues that matter to organisations beyond traditional theory. 

Career outcomes

Most MPhil in ISO students continue to a PhD at Cambridge or elsewhere.

“How was it to go through the MPhil in ISO before moving on to a PhD elsewhere?”

Professor Matthew Grimes: “So both Lucy and Jonah have gone on from the MPhil in ISO programme to pursue the PhD at Cambridge. But Matt, you actually chose to go to Stanford after the MPhil in ISO programme, where, again, in the North American model, of course, the PhD wraps in an additional sort of master’s component there. So for you, how was it to go through the ISO programme initially and then move into more of the North American model?”

Matt Cummins (MPhil ISO): “They’re very different worlds. So in ISO, I was introduced to a whole approach, as people were talking about a little bit earlier, where there’s a phenomenon driven kind of interest and a lot of qualitative research, case study research and things like that. And the funny thing is, I spent five years at Stanford. I wouldn’t have covered that stuff at all. And that’s a whole portion of the world. That’s a whole part of academia.

“So in that sense, it gave me some kind of idea that what I was learning at Stanford and the approach I was being inducted in was not the universe. So that was certainly one kind of distinction there that it will have given me. So there’s the useful part.

“Actually, even before that, no credible PhD programme would have given me an offer before I’d done ISO. I did a philosophy degree. I did fairly well at that. Went into consulting on the usual conveyor belt from undergraduate and so on, and then into sales at this startup. And so I was curious, I was interested at some evidence that maybe I could do well in an academic context. But ISO was the programme that gave me a chance.

“So that, I think, is the thing I’d highlight. I remember in the phone interview the sense that the interviewer had, a former faculty member, I think, at Cambridge Judge, that, well, this guy is kind of interesting but I don’t know if he’s cut out for academia. But that’s a decision on the selection side that you can make for ISO. And you can have a more interesting, more diverse cohort as a result.

“But that doesn’t actually answer the question. So coming back then, why was it useful to separate those out? Some of that is about exploration. I could do something. I could do a one-year project, make connections and learn the whole suite of basics, like how do you negotiate with an organisation to get access, which, for me, was like in an eight-week process to produce my MPhil, it was really condensed.

“And then I don’t think I continued with that project. But it gave me that, and then beginning to learn how to code for the kinds of projects that I was interested in pursuing, anonymising data, working with that to produce something, the interaction between the quant approach and the theory that you’re then trying to put on top of it and so on. So it was enormously beneficial in that respect. It was my first playground, I guess, in academia.”

View video with transcript

Your career support 

We can help you whether you have no final plan for what to do after Cambridge, a few ideas or a clear idea. You’ll get the support you need through: 

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Careers Service platform

The University of Cambridge Careers Service platform giving you access to: 1-to-1 guidance consultations; booking your spot-on workshops and briefings; careers fairs and employer presentations.

Career Essentials programme

The University of Cambridge Career Essentials programme that provides a selection of sessions, offering you the opportunity to access career and recruitment advice you need from our career advisers. 

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Recruitment events

The Careers Services at the University of Cambridge organise recruitment events that attract major global companies, who are keen to hire from the talent pool assembled in Cambridge, and offer you excellent networking opportunities.

Visit the University’s Careers Service website to find out more

Hear from MPhil in ISO alumni

Jonah Zankl


MPhil ISO alumnus

After receiving the MPhil ISO, Jonah joined the PhD programme in 2019 as a Benavitch Scholar at St Catharine’s College. His research aims to answer how healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems are developed in communities – whether they are globally connected or geographically and economically isolated. 

Jonah: “The MPhil in ISO prepares students to think about organisations and their role in society through a rigorous programme. This programme stands out for its emphasis on management studies in a modern world, reflecting on how scholars can make an impact through studying grand challenges and issues that matter to organisations beyond traditional theory. Students develop essential research skills to tackle meaningful research, and are well-prepared to continue to PhD studies. My research will be in contexts that are both unconventional and impactful for the communities I seek to understand.”

Tirza Gapp


MPhil ISO alumna

Tirza’s research focuses on environmental sustainability and organisational culture – in particular, on how individuals can leverage organisational culture in order to advance issues of sustainability in their organisations. 

Tirza: “The MPhil in ISO is the ideal steppingstone for a career in academia. Compact and rigorous, this nine-month programme allows students to focus on their areas of interest from an early stage in their career onwards and equips them with the knowledge and skills to thrive in the competitive environment of management scholarship. The small class sizes and fantastic supervision render this programme a unique experience in a beautiful setting. My fellow students at CJBS constitute a supportive network of inspiring companions and, most importantly, great friends.”

"An opportunity for transition"

Our alumni discuss the advantages of the MPhil in ISO being separate from the PhD programme.

MPhil in ISO news and insights

Read stories from MPhil in ISO students and alumni and get inspired by their achievements.

Ariel de Fauconberg.

A book proposal on pioneering entrepreneurial solutions to climate change by Ariel de Fauconberg, a PhD student at Cambridge Judge Business School, wins the Bracken Bower Prize of the Financial Times for best book proposal by an author under age 35.

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A summary of recent research and other initiatives from Cambridge Judge Business School.

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Two papers authored at Cambridge Judge Business School win top awards from the European Group of Organisational Studies.

Alumni network

Join a major network for life. As an MPhil in Innovation, Strategy and Organisation graduate, you’ll be part of an international network of more than 9,600 Cambridge alumni, in more than 147 locations worldwide. Meet up at alumni events and reunions to keep connections that last a lifetime.

Discover our alumni network