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Participant profiles

The Cambridge Executive MBA attracts participants from all over the world, and they each bring with them unique experiences which create a dynamic and diverse learning environment.

Below is a selection of current student profiles to give you an insight into the classes and why they chose the Cambridge Executive MBA:

Christian Gleave.

Christian Gleave

Head of Europe, Meta Aerospace

Nationality: British
Country of residence: United Kingdom
Industry sector: Aerospace and military

What is your professional and educational background?

I spent 26 years as a fighter pilot in the RAF, predominantly flying Harrier and Hawk aircraft as a Qualified Weapons Instructor. I flew for three years in the RAF’s Aerobatic Team and later as the Officer Commanding of the RAF’s Aggressor Squadron, acting as the airborne adversary to other RAF aircraft and air forces.

Later in my career, I attended RAF Staff College as a Wing Commander and graduated from King’s College London with a masters in Defence Studies. My final tour was as the senior UK exchange officer to the Pentagon, working on military strategy and effects-based planning for combined UK and US operations.

After leaving the RAF, I was fortunate to know of a start-up company, Meta Aerospace, that was considering Director positions to provide outsourced aerospace solutions to governments. Since I had a desire to try my hand at more commercial ventures, I applied and joined as Head of Europe. The company is now represented globally, has a workforce of over 500 people and is providing contractor-owned, contractor-operated (COCO) aerospace solutions from air and space to governments and commercial entities around the world.

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

The pinnacle of most military pilot’s career is to conduct live operations on behalf of their country. That is certainly true for me: I flew in two major combat operations and a few less well-known British skirmishes, all of which were heart-stopping, intense and gruelling, but immensely rewarding. That may be difficult for some to understand but it is a profession, and everyone wants to be the best they can be.

As a member of the Red Arrows, I was privileged to formate on Concorde for the Queen, and again in 2012 when I led a world-record number of aircraft in close formation over Windsor Castle in ‘E II R’ formation. My Mum and I were lucky enough to meet the Queen personally for a cup of tea after, which of course made me very proud.

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

Serving in the military is an incredibly grounding experience that develops superb leaders. It broadens personal horizons, fulfils ambitions and is a never-ending adventure. Seeing my younger brother succeed in business, however, left me yearning for something a little different; I felt the need to move into a career that was less bounded.

The Executive MBA seemed like an outstanding way to quickly gain knowledge across a number of my commercial vulnerabilities (finance, M&A, corporate ventures, business acumen), to meet and network widely with other like-minded individuals around the world, and to delve into academia, in the hope that some of Cambridge’s magic dust rubs off on me!

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

The University of Cambridge has a unique and prestigious brand. I was always slightly envious of my RAF colleagues who had been to Cambridge for the doors that it seemed to open for them, so a chance to study here is a dream come true for me. I was sold at the very first EMBA information session I attended – I felt like a fish out of water and in awe of the gifted people around me – but far from cliquey or protective, everyone was warm, friendly and utterly welcoming. Since I only live an hour away, and I was juggling with a busy job, Cambridge was my first and only choice.

What are your career ambitions in the long term?

I have reached an age where ambition is an interesting concept. I have more ambition for the company I work for than myself as I truly believe in our offering. I feel very fortunate to have accomplished what I have in life and equally fortunate to have made a successful transition into civilian life and a new commercial role. Anything that comes in the future, particularly in leadership roles, will be an added bonus.

Omar Habbal.

Omar Habbal

Chief Operating Officer, Wiser

Nationality: British
Country of residence: United Kingdom
Industry sector: Creative and talent

What is your professional and educational background?

I am a founder and the current COO of Wiser, a creative agency that focuses on employer branding and early talent strategy. The company, based in Farringdon, London, was founded in 2013 whilst I was still at university, and today it is 100-people strong and profitably turning over approximately £7m.

I’m from the UK; I was born in London. My parents emigrated to the UK from Ireland and Egypt. Before founding Wiser, I studied Politics, Philosophy and History at King’s College London and Harvard University. I then went on to study law at the College of Law, Moorgate.

What is the most exciting thing about your work, and what are your proudest achievements?

Part of my mission as a COO is to change the way people think about work and creating an environment where people can be themselves, which is a core value of my company.

The most exciting aspect of my work is experiencing and contributing to the development of others. Some of the people I have the most respect for at work joined the company without experience and have developed into leaders or become inspirational figures for others. I feel most rewarded when I see someone I’ve worked with prosper and succeed.

Wiser has received a number of awards for its work, and I attribute much of this success to its strong cultural foundation. In the past three years, we’ve ranked second in The Sunday Times ‘Best 100 Small Companies to Work For’, won Creative Department of the Year at The Drum’s Agency Business Awards and EBMA Europe’s best brand ambassador programme.

When it’s great and when it’s bad, work is never just “work” for me.

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

As a founder straight out of university, I am conscious that all I know is my company. I have loved every minute of my journey but I want to prepare myself for bigger challenges and new ventures. I believe the EMBA will give me a broader, more complete view on how to do business. I value the connections with the people I’ve already met and have been working with so far.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

Is there a better place to study than at Cambridge? The academic integrity of the University and the vibrant, entrepreneurial community made it the perfect place for me.

What are your career ambitions in the long term?

Whatever I do in the long term, my ambition is to maintain my values and surround myself with ambitious people.

Katharine Hibbert.

Katharine Hibbert

Founder and Director, Dot Dot Dot

Nationality: British
Country of residence: United Kingdom
Industry sector: Real estate

What is your professional and educational background?

Today, I’m very glad to be an entrepreneur, running Dot Dot Dot, a social enterprise that turns empty spaces into homes for people that want to volunteer. But entrepreneurship wasn’t my plan when starting out in my career.

After finishing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge in 2003, I became a journalist, working my way up to a job at The Sunday Times. I loved it, and after a few years got the chance to write a book that built on a piece I had written for the paper. That book, entitled FREE: Adventures on the Margins of a Wasteful Society, tells the story of people who find a way to live using things the rest of us throw away. It was an opportunity to shed some light on a hidden and misunderstood group of people in British society, and gave me an in-depth understanding of the issue of empty buildings in the UK.

Following the publication of the book, I was inspired to do something practical to deal with the issues I’d written about, so I founded Dot Dot Dot. Today, we’re a team of 30, housing hundreds people across the country and supporting thousands of hours of volunteering every month.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

The most enjoyable thing about working on Dot Dot Dot is that when we’re successful, everyone wins. For a start, it’s extremely satisfying to provide housing for our residents for around half the local cost of rent. Lower living costs enable them to do brilliant things that benefit a lot of people, whether that’s running community dance classes, helping at food banks or answering the phone at The Samaritans.

On top of that, we’re providing a useful service for property owners, who need a way to manage buildings which are waiting to be sold, refurbished or regenerated. Filling buildings with well-chosen, well-managed people provides reliable, flexible and cost-effective security, so property owners gain commercially from our work, as well as seeing the benefit of our social impact.

Meanwhile, local communities get friendly neighbours and more volunteering for good causes, as well as avoiding the blight empty buildings can attract.

And by bringing it all together, Dot Dot Dot is a successful business that makes money and is able to grow. As far as I’m concerned, succeeding while helping others is living the dream.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

I studied at the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate and loved being part of the University and Clare College at the time, so I jumped at the chance to come back.

I was confident that the standard of the teaching would be excellent and that, as a student, I would be expected to work hard and achieve high standards.

I also wanted to be part of Cambridge’s wider culture – I appreciate the emphasis Cambridge places on cross-disciplinary conversation, as well as its world-leading commitment to learning and research, and I’m really glad to be part of it again.

What are your long-term career ambitions?

I like to keep an open mind about what I’ll be doing in the long term – my goal is to do work I think is worthwhile, that uses my skills and that I find interesting and challenging, and to do it alongside people I like. I’m studying now so that I can be as prepared as possible when opportunities that tick all those boxes arise in future.

Philipp Jundt.

Philipp Jundt

Professor of Flute, German School of Music Weimar; Artistic Director and CEO, Gonjiam Music Festival

Nationality: Swiss
Country of residence: Switzerland/Germany/South Korea
Industry sector: Music

What is your professional and educational background?

I entered the classical music industry as an active performer and recording artist at the age of 13 after winning a major flute competition. In my twenties, while performing internationally, I decided to commit to studying economics in the United States of America and Germany.

Skipping the normally important step in a music professionals career of playing in an orchestra, I was offered a professorship at the University of Music Weimar – something usually reserved for individuals with some 10 years more experience than me. This opened the door for me to work in Seoul, a most vibrant city and truly a capital of classical music, for 12 years.

A couple of years ago, I co-founded Gonjiam Music Festival in South Korea. Despite high saturation and extreme competition, the festival became one of the leading festivals of its kind internationally.

What do you consider your proudest professional achievement to date?

My proudest professional achievement is building a career through alternative, unconventional approaches, and maintaining this path with ongoing success and pleasure. A stimulating journey, which hopefully will last for the rest of my life.

With the festival I co-founded, I am most proud that we were able to fundamentally change and open up some of the complex and political market structures in Korea. We not only managed to build Asia’s largest flute festival but also a profitable one, completely independent and without large outside donors or government subsidies, which is very rare in this field.

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

In order to push our limits, we must overstep them, and the Executive MBA programme allows me to do so every single day. Even more importantly, the knowledge I gain will be instrumental for transitioning my career into its next phase, where business aspects become the main focus.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

Having studied and worked with some of the world’s top professors and musicians, I believe that true excellence is only possible in a diverse and humanistic environment. I learned the most from exchanges with colleagues, my own students and personal friends.

After my first term in Cambridge, I am simply overwhelmed by the amount of inspiring, open-minded and supporting co-students whom I had the chance of learning with and from. The power of such a conglomerate of knowledge and cultural diversity is truly life-changing.

The opportunity for continued, lifelong learning at Cambridge Judge is outstanding and matches my understanding of development, not only of knowledge but also by becoming a member of a larger family.

What are your career ambitions in the long term?

My vision is to make classical music profitable and more independent, rather than serving a boutique audience, by being funded by government hand-outs or private sponsors.

Adriana Robles Coello.

Adriana Robles Coello

Head of Campaigns, Latin America and the Caribbean, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Nationality: Mexican
Country of residence: Mexico
Industry sector: Public sector

What is your professional and educational background?

I am currently in charge of the strategic planning and implementation of campaigns in the Latin America and Caribbean regions for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. I lead a team that supports a network of 33 diplomatic missions, promoting shared interests that aim to strengthen our economic and diplomatic relations.

I’ve always been passionate about marketing and communications, which inspired me to study at Tecnológico de Monterrey, one of Mexico’s top universities, graduating with a first-class bachelors degree in marketing.

As part of my undergraduate studies, I enrolled in a one-year programme at ESSEC Business School in France and, as I was interested in the retail industry, I got a certificate in marketing retail, allowing me to focus on the fashion and entertainment industries earlier in my career, before joining the British Government in the Department for International Trade.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

Working for the UK Government has allowed me to deliver a wide range of fulfilling projects that have made positive impacts in my country and in other Latin American and Caribbean nations. It is fascinating to see how the communications, policy and commercial teams can come together to deliver projects with benefits in different subjects and geographies. Knowing that I am making my contribution in these areas is incredibly rewarding.

My experience dealing with crisis communication has been particularly interesting as well, including supporting COVID-19 repatriation flights and tailoring the UK’s communication response to its departure from the EU.

I also do some volunteer work to assist during natural disasters, which has given me the opportunity to help on the ground, for example during Hurricane Dorian, considered the worst natural disaster in Bahamian history.

As part of my role, I advise Ambassadors on embedding strategic communications into their country business plans, which is very exciting as well. The icing on the cake is getting to lead innovative public diplomacy projects that have allowed me to meet well-known people like the Rolling Stones, Lewis Hamilton, Stella McCartney and HRH Prince Charles and Prince Harry. Every day is a different experience!

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

Throughout my career to date I have developed a varied skill set, and I’m now keen to diversify, gain a broader outlook and become more versatile. I’m interested to learn more about emerging industries, stay on top of the newest trends and acquire the core business principles I need for my professional future.

I love the flexibility offered by an Executive MBA and the chance to broaden my global network is also invaluable. With over eleven years’ experience, I found that a programme like this was the best fit for me, as it is also giving me the opportunity to engage with an amazing, talented group of people that I now get to call my cohort.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

I wanted to join a first-rate programme that could give me exposure to new ways of thinking. I knew that Cambridge Judge would offer me an authentic global experience and allow me to learn with and from high-calibre colleagues coming from different industries and backgrounds. As I’m from Mexico City, the flexibility of the programme structure fits well with my working schedule and personal life.

Above all, I wanted to join a prestigious school that would also be more than just a business school. The wealth of resources available, the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre, top-notch lecturers and speakers, and the College experience made this the best choice by far.

What are your career ambitions in the long term?

I want to prepare myself for a role in the C-suite within the next few years. I’m interested in areas like digital innovation in the media and sustainable retail, and so want to be prepared to make a positive impact in whatever sector I take my career in. I’m confident that the Executive MBA will help me diversify my marketing and communications experience, accelerate my learning and give me tools to create value.

Xuyang Song.

Dr Xuyang Song

Associate Director, Clinical Pharmacology and Quantitative Pharmacology, AstraZeneca

Nationality: Chinese
Country of residence: United States of America
Industry sector: Pharmaceutical/biotech

What is your professional and educational background?

I’m a scientist and a global functional lead in clinical pharmacology at AstraZeneca, focusing on the development of biopharmaceutical drug candidates in the areas of oncology and inflammation, from preclinical phases through to patient delivery via healthcare professionals.

I received my PhD in Pharmaceutical Science from the University of Florida in 2014 and my Master’s degree in Biostatistics from the University of Florida in 2020. I completed my undergraduate education at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, one of two comprehensive pharmaceutical universities in China.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

I’m excited to play a role in channelling our scientific capabilities with an aim to make a positive impact on patients’ lives. My work within AstraZeneca has contributed to a novel class of antibody therapies that are being evaluated in clinical trials with the aim of addressing unmet medical needs.

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

As a functional lead, one of the most important deciding factors for me is that business knowledge in drug development has become imperative to my career development. I strongly feel that core business principles and strategic thinking are critical to make the right investigational decisions.

I believe a world-class Executive MBA programme will help me develop the necessary skills and refine my vision for my professional future.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

The Executive MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School interested me for several reasons. Firstly, I believe this programme will provide me with the advanced management and core business principles training to support my continued success as a leader within my organisation.

Secondly, the design of this programme allows me to continue working while earning a Cambridge degree. And finally, the University of Cambridge provides an excellent global peer network and academic environment with a global context.

My professional experience in the pharmaceutical industry, combined with an Executive MBA from Cambridge Judge Business School, will help me achieve my vision of bringing new medicines to patients.

What are your career ambitions in the long term?

In the long term, I want to be a successful leader in the healthcare industry. I want to not only have the pharmaceutical science skills, but also the business competencies and interpersonal soft skills needed to guide my team to success. I hope I can demonstrate the skills and expertise to lead a larger group or organisation, expand my global perspective and maximise my potential.

Claire Stacey.

Claire Stacey

Head of Marketing, Autoglass

Nationality: British
Country of residence: United Kingdom
Industry sector: Automotive

What is your professional and educational background?

I am currently Head of Marketing for Autoglass, the UK arm of the global market leader in vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration. I head up the marketing function for all UK brands, products and services, and lead an outstandingly talented team. My role, which sits just below board level, operates laterally across business functions to drive the growth and brand agendas and is pivotal to digital transformation.

Before entering working life, I studied an undergraduate degree in Business Studies at the University of Sheffield, graduating with First Class Honours. I developed a love for marketing at this stage, focusing my studies on modules related to marketing management and consumer behaviour.

On graduation, I spent some time travelling, before moving to London to join one of the top five media agencies: a type of advertising agency that create and implement strategies to grow businesses and brands through media planning and buying. It was a hugely creative and fun environment in which to learn my craft.

I worked my way up quickly to Business Director level, running a portfolio of accounts with full P&L responsibility, before moving sideways to an ecommerce platform.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

I love the combination of left and right brain thinking that marketing offers: using data and insight to drive creative and results-focussed work. Marketing is an incredibly dynamic field and the breadth of strategies and tactics is almost infinite. The art and science is in the strategic planning – identifying where to invest your resources to deliver the business’ objectives.

I get a real kick out of delivering growth and clear return on investment for our products and brands.

I am also passionate about nurturing talent and building cohesive high-performing teams.

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

I had always planned to do an MBA. I’m an ambitious person by nature and always knew it would be the right additional qualification for me from early in my career.

After learning more about the Executive vs. full-time route, it was clear that, as a senior professional, the Executive MBA would be the most rewarding route. And it doesn’t disappoint!

The course is designed to maximise peer-to-peer learning and the cohort are an incredible bunch – I have already really expanded my knowledge of other industries and how to lead in a global environment.

When I researched the course content and structure, I could see it supported my ambitions to hone my business management skills for a future boardroom position. I liked the balance of core learning alongside the focus on soft leadership skills.

The opportunity to come back each year after graduation for electives to stay abreast of the latest research and thinking on hot business topics and network with alumni from past cohorts was very appealing too.

Seeing the sheer breadth of what the University offers is astounding. With such phenomenal research taking place and the calibre of teaching and peers, there’s so much on offer beyond the course content too.

I also might be somewhat biased – I live in Cambridge, so having one of the best universities in the world on my doorstep made it an easy decision.

What are your long-term career ambitions?

In the short to medium-term, I intend to drive marketing success from a board-level position in a dynamic and customer-centric growth business. I am open about the long-term as I fully expect the experiences across the EMBA to shape my thinking and journey.

Abdulrazak Bello.

Abdulrazak Bello

Project Engineer, Shell

Nationality: Nigerian
Country of residence: Netherlands
Industry sector: Energy/utilities

What is your professional and educational background?

I’ve always had a passion for technical details, analytical reasoning and solving problems. This inspired me to take my first degree in chemical engineering and my masters degree in petroleum engineering. I have 14 years’ experience in the planning and execution of various oil and gas projects in the upstream and midstream sectors, working for companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil, Total, Nigeria LNG and Shell. I have been fortunate to build the robust technical and leadership skills required for successful planning and execution of complex projects.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

Knowing that I am contributing to the provision of cleaner energy to meet current and future needs of consumers globally. I get a great sense of satisfaction when, after years of planning and execution, we safely commission complex projects on time and to budget.

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

I believe an Executive MBA will equip me with the tools, knowledge and skills required to enhance my ability to offer strategic business solutions which, combined with my professional experience, will help me achieve my goals and ultimately build value for the organisation I work for.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

I’ve always wanted to study at Cambridge. Its global reputation as one of the best places to study, build networks and inspire personal growth means coming to Cambridge Judge Business School is a dream come true.

I am excited to gain a unique, multi-cultural learning experience as part of a diverse cohort. I’m looking forward to meeting participants from different professional and personal backgrounds, learning from their insights and sharing my own.

Most organisations, including mine, are on an ‘improvement journey’. By studying an Executive MBA at Cambridge Judge Business School, I can continue to develop as a professional, enabling me to contribute to this journey. I intend to fully leverage all of the advantages provided by the School to help me achieve my goals.

Stephan Chan.

Stephen Chan

Co-Founder and CEO, Merino Brothers

Nationality: Hong Kong
Country of residence: Hong Kong
Industry sector: Retail

What is your professional and educational background?

I graduated from the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong in 2005 and started my career as a medical doctor. Out of my passion for luxury menswear, I co-founded Merino Brothers in 2013. Merino Brothers is the agent for several reputable fabric brands, including Harrisons of Edinburgh, Fox Brothers and Cappioppoli, for the Great China and Southeast Asia markets.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

Due to the connections I make through my work, I have the opportunity to access the most beautiful fabrics, the best handcrafted suits, the most esteemed tailors and the best-dressed gentlemen in the world!

What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

As a trained medical doctor, I joined the programme with very little prior knowledge of how a business functions on the inside. As my company continues to grow, I am obliged to equip myself with accounting, financial, marketing, management, analytical and leadership skills to take my company to the next level.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge?

The heritage associated with the Cambridge brand is important to me. The flexible programme structure also fits my working schedule, allowing me to balance work and study. And last but not least, the wide network of Cambridge students and alumni is definitely a bonus for me.

Ling Hua.

Ling Hua

Investment Manager, Changsheng Fund Management

Nationality: Chinese
Country of residence: China
Industry sector: Asset management

What is your professional and educational background?

I work in the international department of a pioneering Chinese mutual fund with, at present, RMB 68 billion (GBP 7.4 billion) in assets under management. My major portfolio has achieved 63.6 per cent absolute return since July 2015, equivalently ranking sixth out of 70 in the market.

I started my career as a management trainee at Ford Motor Company between 2005 and 2008. I made the transition to the financial sector in 2010, when I worked as an analyst at an insurance company specialising in risk management, and after that I moved into equity research and asset management.

I hold a Master of Science degree in Risk Management from St. John’s University, New York, where I was awarded the Zurich Chinese Scholarship. During my undergraduate years, I received an outstanding student scholarship from Zhejiang University, China.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

For the past nine years, I have researched over two hundred listed companies in Hong Kong, China and the US from an investment point of view. It is so exciting that, through my work, I’m able to reach out to these companies. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and successes with these companies with my Executive MBA cohort, as well as the challenges they faced and how they overcame barriers.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

I have an opportunity to advance my career by being nominated as responsible officer to my company’s Hong Kong subsidiary. To prepare myself fully for this exciting, life-changing opportunity, I am studying for the Executive MBA to supplement my work experience, increase my understanding of broad, strategic business issues and gain rapid exposure to the elements most important in running a business.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge Business School?

My undergraduate university in Zhejiang is sometimes called the ‘Cambridge of the East’, so I appreciate now having the opportunity to study at the real University of Cambridge! It’s been a dream of mine since childhood.

Cambridge Judge Business School’s emphasis on international business is important for me. I work primarily with Hong Kong and US markets, so exposure to European markets, amongst others, is an opportunity I am seizing. I’m also keen to gain a wealth of international business contacts through my peers and the alumni network.

Megan Jones.

Megan Jones

Head of Strategy and Development, EMEA Funds Practice, White & Case

Nationality: British
Country of residence: United Kingdom
Industry sector: Financial services

What is your professional and educational background?

I studied law at Cardiff University, graduating with a first-class degree in 2011. I trained at a Magic Circle law firm in London and practiced there as a junior lawyer before transferring to White & Case.

Whilst at White & Case, I’ve worked on several interesting deals in the financial restructuring space and undertaken two long-term secondments to two of our credit fund clients. Following these secondments, I was interested in progressing to a broader strategic and business role, and I was therefore appointed as Head of Strategy and Development for the EMEA Funds Practice in 2019.

My focus is now on managing the EMEA network’s deal origination efforts, working directly with both the head of our EMEA practice and external EMEA credit funds to both maximise the firm’s exposure and to promote continuous development and understanding around how the firm can best support its clients.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

I speak to a wide range of market participants every day. It’s fascinating to gain insights of the nuances of our clients’ businesses, as no two are the same. I also enjoy learning not only about our client businesses, but about the jurisdictions and sectors in which they choose to invest. Legal, financial, economic, political and social analysis are all relevant in our discussions with clients, and there are always new perspectives to consider.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

Moving from a traditional legal role into a broader, more commercially focused position has meant tackling a host of new challenges and building new areas of expertise, some of which I was initially unfamiliar with. The Executive MBA felt like the perfect degree to support me in this transition.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge Business School?

I was, above all, seeking exposure to new ways of thinking, and to do that I knew I had to seek out professionals working in different fields and geographies. The breadth of experiences among my cohort and the alumni network was therefore a huge draw to the programme, and I am already seeing the benefits in my professional (and social!) life.

The structure of the programme appealed to me. I felt the balance of contact time at the University, together with personal study, group assignments and individual projects would fit well into my professional and personal schedule. It was essential that I could progress in the programme whilst maintaining balance in other aspects of my life, and I think the Cambridge EMBA strikes the right note in this respect.

I was also encouraged by the contact and interaction with real-world businesses and issues, particularly through the Team Consulting Project and the visiting industry speakers.

Emma Kent.

Emma Kent

Construction Director, Metropolitan Police Service

Nationality: British
Country of residence: United Kingdom
Industry sector: Public sector

What is your professional and educational background?

As a Construction Director for the Metropolitan Police Service, I lead a team that plans, co-ordinates and delivers the Met’s programme of capital real estate development projects to support the incredible work of our operational colleagues.

My background is in engineering. I am a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Chartered Structural Engineer, and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. I have an MEng in civil engineering from the University of Nottingham. After graduation, I worked for engineering design consultancies in Bath, Sydney and London, prior to moving client-side with the Met.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

Working for the Met means my projects directly support our hardworking frontline colleagues. Seeing the difference a great building or facilities makes to our colleagues’ working lives is very fulfilling. Good quality accommodation improves people’s wellbeing, reduces stress levels and makes their day-to-day jobs that little bit easier. I also find it fascinating working on some of our specialist properties, such as equine stables for the Mounted Branch or a new wharf for our marine units on the Thames.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

I’ve always sought out opportunities to develop my professional skills and, since moving client-side, my role involves significantly more management and finance, particularly when preparing business cases for consideration by the Mayor of London’s team, so I’m keen to hone my skills in those areas.

Looking ahead to the rest of my career, I wanted to prepare myself for a C-suite role within the next few years. I feel the Executive MBA will accelerate my learning, helping me gain business acumen that might otherwise take years to develop. Inevitably, my development to date has focused on the technical skills required to succeed in engineering and real estate; now I want a broader outlook and skill set.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge Business School?

The Cambridge brand is extremely powerful, so that was a significant factor in my decision. When I attended an information session and the Executive MBA experience day, I found myself thinking the other attendees were people I wanted to learn from and with. I felt at home when I visited Cambridge Judge Business School and knew it was a place I would fit in.

I was also encouraged by some of the research centres established at the Business School, including the Circular Economy Centre and the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre, both of which appealed to my personal interests in sustainability and diversity.

Tom Kinmonth.

Tom Kinmonth

Fixed Income Strategist, ABN AMRO

Nationality: British
Country of residence: Netherlands
Industry sector: Investment banking

What is your professional and educational background?

In my role, I write research on the banking sector, where I focus on European bank bonds. The research I conduct is predominately used by pension funds, insurance companies, traders, asset managers and regulators to make their investment decisions. My coverage concerns bonds valued at approximately €900bn. I also co-write the ABN AMRO Green Bond Monthly series, where I focus on the leading role that banks can take in a sustainable future. I have broadly studied business and mathematics since my teenage years, both at university and post-university.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

In my role I have the opportunity to meet and discuss business opportunities with investors across the world. The bank market is highly correlated with macro-economic events, geopolitics and monetary policy, something that I find fascinating. Every day is different.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

The Executive MBA gives me the opportunity to improve my knowledge via its syllabus and through the high-calibre connections I make on the programme. I enjoy the opportunity to develop and diversify my skills in the fundamental parts of the programme. Moreover, some aspects are totally new to me, such as entrepreneurship, innovation and negotiation. In these weaker areas of understanding I can use both the syllabus and other cohort members (many of whom have experience in these areas) to greatly assist my learning.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge Business School?

One overriding factor for me was that I wished to study in a place that was not associated purely with students from the finance industry. I work every day with people from finance and so I wanted to broaden my horizons. Cambridge gives me this opportunity. There is a wealth of students in the School from across industries and locations. The cohort culture is incredibly collaborative. Naturally, studying at one of the best institutions in the world is an amazing opportunity, with great lectures and an abundance of resources available to me. One cannot help but be inspired by the truly remarkable students working on improving the world through their work.

Mandeep Saini.

Mandeep Saini

Head of Software Development, GÉANT

Nationality: British
Country of residence: United Kingdom
Industry sector: NGO

What is your professional and educational background?

I am a software engineer by trade working on impactful projects in the education and research space. I joined my current organisation as a research student and have progressed through the ranks to my current position as Head of Software Development. Over the 13 years I’ve been with my organisation, I’ve been instrumental in many critical software and federated identity management solutions.

I studied a bachelors degree in technology at Kurukshetra University, India, and a masters in distributed systems and networks at the University of Kent, UK.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

While I have a strong technical background, I readily admit I have lots to learn about business. I’m taking an Executive MBA to sharpen my business skills across a range of areas and deepen my understanding of today’s global business practices. I’m also keen to learn from the experiences and perspectives of my fellow participants, who are leaders in their respective industries.

The ability to learn fundamental business and leadership skills over the weekend and apply them in my day-to-day work as soon as I return to the office is also an important factor of the programme for me.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge Business School?

The Cambridge Executive MBA is renowned for attracting diverse cohorts, which was incredibly important to me when choosing a business school. I was fortunate to land a job in the perfect organisation for me straight out of university, so my exposure to different industry sectors is limited. Interaction with the cohort will help me fill this gap.

I was also attracted by the opportunity to return to Cambridge to take an elective of my choice every year, which allows me to keep abreast of the latest research and thinking, and continue my professional development throughout my career.

Nabeel Sbei.

Nabeel Sbei

Senior Manager, ENERCON

Nationality: Syrian
Country of residence: Canada
Industry sector: Energy/utilities

What do you do for a living?

By day, I work in renewable energy for one of the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines, covering the North American (CA/US/MEX) market. My family business, back in my home of Syria, is always occupying a smaller part of my professional life.

What is your professional and educational background?

My family owns a well-established manufacturing business, so pursuing a degree in Engineering was a clear choice. I studied industrial engineering at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, and after graduation returned to Syria to help modernise the family business.

When the Syrian civil war broke out, I moved back to Canada to look for a job that would allow me to make positive impacts in the world. I joined the finance department of ENERCON as an analyst before progressing to my current role in the project execution department.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

An advantage of being a leader in such a young industry means I can see the impacts my team and I are making on the industry and communities. This is particularly true when working on projects for off-grid communities that, with proper due diligence, can transition to and operate fully from wind, solar and battery power.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

I’ve always wanted to get a business education to complement my engineering degree. As my responsibilities at work increased and my family grew taking a year out for an MBA wasn’t an option for me. The Executive MBA at Cambridge was perfect fit for me as there has been no sacrifice on a personal or professional level.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge Business School?

The slogan used in some of the programme’s marketing is ‘See where it takes you’. That really resonated with me because I’m already comfortable with my day job and salary; what I’m interested in is equipping myself for the unknown. I’m looking to meet people that will challenge me and engage in discussions that take me out of my comfort zone. After completing the Orientation Week, I can already say ‘Bingo!’ I’ve found what I’m looking for.

Christian Veddeler.

Christian Veddeler

Architect and Director, UNStudio

Nationality: German
Country of residence: Netherlands
Industry sector: Construction/engineering

What is your professional and educational background?

In 16 years of professional experience, I have built a portfolio of more than 50 award-winning architecture projects internationally. I have specialised in projects with high design quality from conception to realisation, including the Singapore University of Technology and Design, SUTD. I also contribute to various universities as an educator, including, until recently, Harvard University.

Academically, I hold a Master of Science degree in Architecture and a degree of engineering in Architecture with Honours from Delft University of Technology.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

I am excited to be involved in and contribute to innovation from within the building industry and here to instigate a larger human-centred discourse of cultural, social and economic concerns. My goal is to increase the relevance of architectural thinking in the global challenges we face, and to improve the quality of our man-made environments. For me a global perspective is essential as I see possibilities of exploring new alliances, forms of collaboration and markets; and to face challenges of urbanisation, digitalisation, demographics and environmental concerns.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

In my eyes, good architecture should equal good business. In practice, this is not always the case. To ensure the combination of high-quality architecture and economic development, the architecture practice in my eyes is in need of more profound business understanding. That is why I want to learn how to more efficiently manage and grow an organisation based on well-considered decision-making. I want to learn how to analyse, understand and evaluate economic trends and financial reports. I want to build bridges from architecture to other industries being able to speak the language of international business. From the Executive MBA I expect to gain practical skills in leadership, management, strategy, finance, and entrepreneurship.

What attracted you to Cambridge Judge Business School?

Cambridge Judge Business School was my first choice. As a hub for the exchange of ideas, opinions and knowledge, as well as rigorous learning, I felt my experience in architecture would introduce a different perspective to the already diverse cohort. The valuable opportunities to build a network of international business contacts while learning is something I am embracing.

As I take my 20-month Executive MBA journey, I know the schedule works for my requirements and fits into my professional life.

Cambridge Judge Business School felt right, and still does.