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The Cambridge Executive MBA is a rigorous academic programme. We therefore need to ensure that everyone who attends the programme is of a sufficient standard to manage the intensive and demanding workload. Please read the requirements carefully as they contain important information.


Professional experience 7 years’ full-time experience, including strong management experience, before starting the programme in September.
Academic achievement First or 2:1 Bachelor’s degree, or international equivalent.

If you hold a degree from outside the UK, check that it meets our academic requirements.
GMAT If you meet our academic requirement and feel that the skills covered by the GMAT/Executive Assessment (EA) can be demonstrated by your work experience, then you may complete the GMAT/EA waiver on the application. GMAT/EA waivers can only be granted by the relevant admissions authority after interview. If your degree does not meet our minimum requirements, you will need to take the GMAT or EA – see below.
Two references A professional reference
A peer reference
English proficiency Being a national of a List A country, a three-year university degree completed in a List A country within the last two years, or an IELTS or TOEFL score that meets our requirements – see below.

Detailed requirements

Professional experience

Executive MBA applicants must have a minimum of seven years’ full-time, post-undergraduate work experience, including strong management experience. Managerial experience can include managing people, projects, budgets and/or resources. The admissions committee is especially interested in the professional skills you’ve developed during your career, and how the Executive MBA will complement and accelerate your career development. 

Applicants must demonstrate their employment status when applying for the programme. You are expected to continue working full-time whilst undertaking the Executive MBA, providing opportunities both for real-time transfer of learning and for the sharing of professional experiences with fellow students.

Contractors and consultants are welcome to apply, but please note that you will need to show evidence of your employment as a condition of your offer, should your application be successful.

Academic achievement

The Cambridge Executive MBA is an intellectually demanding 20-month programme. You must have a good undergraduate degree from a recognised university. The precise qualification may vary, but as a general guide we require the equivalent of a first-class or good upper-second-class honours in the British system, or 65 per cent and above for universities who provide percentage grades.

Check that your degree meets our requirements

Scanned copies of your degree transcripts and certificates (both undergraduate and postgraduate where applicable) must be attached to your application when you apply for the programme. If your transcripts are not in English, you must have these translated and verified by an official source (e.g an official translator or the British Council).

GMAT/Executive Assessment

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Executive Assessment (EA) demonstrates your preparedness for re-entering a rigorous academic environment at Cambridge. If you did not achieve a First or 2:1 in your undergraduate degree (or international equivalent), you will need to take the GMAT or EA and submit your score within your application for it to be considered. All waivers are reviewed by the Admissions Committee and at least one EMBA faculty member. This is done at both pre-interview and post-interview application review.

Find out how to apply with a GMAT/EA waiver

The GMAT is just one of a range of criteria on which admissions decisions are based, and a high GMAT score is no guarantee of being offered a place on the programme.

Two references

You need to ask two referees to complete online reference forms. You should ask for references from your line manager or direct supervisor, and a colleague with whom you work closely. We cannot accept a reference from a relative. We learn a great deal about your background and potential through letters of reference, so please select your referees carefully and tell them how important it is that they provide as comprehensive a reference as possible. They should know your strengths and weaknesses well, and be in a position to comment on you objectively.

English proficiency requirement

Fluency in English is a pre-requisite for the Cambridge Executive MBA it is important that you can read, write and speak and understand English fluently.

If English is not your first language you must provide us with evidence of your fluency in English.

We require you to provide test results that meet the requirements of one of the tests listed below. Your results must be from a test taken in the two years prior to starting the programme.

  • TOEFL – 110, with no element below 25.
  • IELTS – average of 7.5, with no element below 7.0.

If you scored 7.0 on IELTS or between 100 and 109 on TOEFL, and you feel that you are a strong candidate, you are also welcome to apply. However, we reserve the right to ask you to retake the test to improve your test scores if it is felt that your English is not of a sufficient standard.

We ask you to self-report your scores on the application form. If you are invited for an interview, we will ask you to bring the original English language test certificates with you.


Evidence of significant work experience within an English-speaking environment may be grounds for eligibility of an internal English language assessment. If you have been resident and worked in one of the following countries for a minimum of three years, and within the last two years, you may be referred to the University’s Language Centre for an internal language assessment:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia (also Christmas Island, Norfolk Island, Keeling Islands, Cocos Islands), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory (also British Antarctica), British Indian Ocean Territory (also Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean Territory), British Virgin Islands, Canada (with the exception of the French-speaking areas), Channel Islands, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guyana, Irish Republic, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand (also Niue, Tokelau, Cokelau, Cook Islands), St Kitts and St Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, Isle of Man, USA; Botswana, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, West Indies, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

If you are unsure of your suitability for the programme, you can read our FAQs page, meet us at one of our admissions events, and submit your CV to be reviewed by the EMBA Admissions Team.

Frequently asked questions

Questions about the programme, application process and funding options are answered in our comprehensive FAQ page.  

View our FAQs

Submit your CV for review

The EMBA Admissions Team can review your CV and give you advice as to whether you meet the requirements for the programme. We aim to get back to you within 10 working days.

Submit your CV 

Meet us

The Cambridge Executive MBA hosts admissions events across the world. Meeting staff, faculty and alumni at these events is a great way to find out more about the Cambridge EMBA, and help you decide if our course is right for you.  

All events are free to attend.

Meet us

Information sessions | UK and worldwide

Watch an in-depth presentation of the Executive MBA programme, network with alumni, faculty members and other attendees, and discuss the programme with our EMBA Admissions Team.

Coffee meet-ups | UK and worldwide

An informal networking event hosted by Executive MBA alumni. Discover more about the programme, modules and cohorts from professionals who have been through it, and pick up some tips on getting the most out of the Executive MBA.

Webinars | Online

An online presentation hosted by the EMBA team; a perfect solution for those unable to attend an event in person.  Watch an in-depth presentation on the programme, and message our EMBA Admissions Team with questions about the programme in real time.

Cambridge Judge open days | Cambridge, UK

Visit Cambridge Judge Business School for an on-campus open day. Find out about the range of programmes offered by Cambridge Judge (including the Cambridge EMBA), watch sample lectures, network with other attendees and meet with our EMBA Admissions Team.

One-to-one meetings

A member of our Admissions Team would be delighted to arrange a personal meeting or a telephone call with you to discuss specific questions you may have about the programme.

Find out more

Sending your application

Start or continue your application

All applications must be submitted via our online application system. Please ensure that all questions including essays are completed before you submit the application.

Submitting your references

We require two references. One reference should come from a line manager or supervisor and the other from a team member or peer. Automated reference requests will be sent to your referees once you have input their contact details into our online application system. 

We will not consider your application complete until your references have been received, and it is your responsibility to ensure they are received by the deadline you select. You can ask your referees to send their references before submitting your application. Input their details into the References section of the application, and an email will be sent to them immediately. Please check with your referees that they have received this email.

Acquiring your degree transcripts

Scanned copies of your degree transcripts and certificates (both undergraduate and postgraduate where applicable) must be attached to your application when you apply for the programme.

Retrieving transcripts from your academic institutions can take longer than anticipated, as does translating them into English. If your transcripts are not in English, you must have these translated and verified by an official source (e.g. an official translator or the British Council).

What happens next?

Here is an overview of the different stages that a candidate will pass through during the complete admissions process. Please thoroughly read through the information in this section before contacting the EMBA Admissions Team with any questions.  

Application review

In rounds one, two and three, completed applications (including references) will be considered as and when they are submitted. You will receive a decision as to whether you have been shortlisted for interview within two weeks. If you are shortlisted you will be offered an interview date within five weeks from submission of your application. You should hear back from us within a week of your interview letting you know the result.

In rounds four and five, we typically receive a much larger number of applications and the application review process will take a little longer. You may not receive a response from us until after the respective application deadline, to give the Admissions Committee the opportunity to review all applications together.

Please note your application must be complete (including the receipt references) before it can be considered.

We regret that, due to the volume of applications we receive, the Admissions Committee is not able to provide feedback on individual applications that are unsuccessful.


Once we have received your application it will be reviewed by the admissions committee and a decision made regarding whether to invite you to interview.

All candidates will need to provide:

  • original copies of degree transcripts and certificates (also GMAT and TOEFL/ IELTS as applicable)
  • their passport or another form of photo identification.

Interview candidates will usually be contacted within one week of interview to be informed of the Admissions Committee’s final decision. This process may take longer for applications received in the final application round.

If we offer you a place on the Cambridge Executive MBA, we will ask (when you accept that place) for a reservation fee of 15 per cent of the programme fee and for financial guarantees that you can meet the costs of the programme.

Receiving an offer

If you are offered a place on the Cambridge EMBA, you will be notified by email within a week of your interview. This email will contain details of your offer deadline and a link to your conditional offer and financial information documents.

The conditional offer documents contain the following conditions which must be met before we can convert this to an unconditional offer:

Agree to the terms and conditions of your offer

Review and agree to the terms and conditions of your offer on the EMBA application portal. Additional information regarding the terms and conditions can be read in the offer information pack that is attached to your offer. 

Payment of the reservation fee

A reservation fee of £10,000 is required to reserve your place on the Cambridge Executive MBA 2021. This reservation fee is not refundable, as it constitutes a contribution to the various irrecoverable costs that Cambridge Judge Business School incurs once a student decides to accept his/her offer of admission. Please note that this deposit goes towards your Executive MBA tuition fees.

Evidence of ability to meet costs

Before you can be fully admitted to the Cambridge Executive MBA, we require evidence that you can fund the cost of the programme. You will need to supply documentary evidence and details of this can be found in your offer.

Letter of employment

You are required to provide a letter from your company, on company letterhead, confirming your job title and salary. This letter should be addressed to the Cambridge Executive MBA Admissions Manager.


You are required to provide an original copy or official duplicate of your transcript(s). If your transcripts do not confirm your degree award, then we also require the original degree certificate.

Reference checks

Every year, Cambridge Judge Business School carries out reference checks on a sample of offer candidates. These reference checks take the form of speaking to one or both of the referees in a candidate’s application, or a verification check of a candidate’s academic record. In some cases, these checks are conducted by a third party on behalf of the School. The Executive MBA Admissions Team will contact you if there is any further information needed in regards to this condition.

Please feel free to contact the Admissions Team at any point during this time with any queries you may have.

Accepting an offer

If you choose to accept your offer of a place on the Cambridge Executive MBA you should ensure that all your documentation and funding are in place and that your letter of acceptance, financial guarantee and reservation fee have been received by the admissions office by your offer deadline. If you are unable to meet any condition of your offer or wish to request an extension to the offer deadline, then please inform the Admissions Team as soon as possible.

Joining a College

When you become an Executive MBA participant at the University of Cambridge, you will also become a member of one of the University’s 31 Colleges.

Once accepted on the EMBA programme, the Admissions Manager will send you a list of the colleges accepting EMBA participants for that year. After revising the list and researching the Colleges, you submit your top three choices to the Admissions Manager.  The Admissions Manager will then apply to these Colleges on your behalf. Each College has its own entrance requirements and membership is at their discretion. College membership is guaranteed to all students of the University of Cambridge. 

It is the responsibility of the Executive MBA Admissions team to find College places for students and students should not try to arrange this independently.

Find out more about the College application process

Becoming an official member of the University

You will only officially become a member of the University of Cambridge once your tuition and College fees have been paid and you have matriculated (become an official member of your College). It is important that all fees are paid on time to enable this transition from candidate to official student (participant) to take place.

We are now open for admissions for the 2021 cohort.

We operate a staged (rounds-based) admissions process that allows candidates to plan when to submit their application, and is used for the purpose of awarding bursaries.

Round 1 16 Nov 2020
Round 2 25 Jan 2021
Round 3 8 Mar 2021
Round 4 19 Apr 2021
Round 5 7 June 2021

*Deadline for applicants wishing to attend the EMBA experience day.

Apply early

It is advisable to apply as early as possible if you are relying on employer sponsorship, loans, scholarships or bursaries to fund the programme as it can take longer than expected to secure funding from these sources. 

An early application also gives greater flexibility on interview date and the choice of Colleges to which you can apply for membership.  


Apply via our application portal.

Apply for the 2021 class

Register interest

Application round deadlines

Round 1 | 16 Nov 2020
Round 2 | 25 Jan 2021
Round 3 | 8 Mar 2021
Round 4 | 19 Apr 2021
Round 5 (Final) | 7 Jun 2021