The Cambridge MBA
I was kind of thinking like, “Okay, where do I want to take my career?”
I was starting to hit that ceiling and ability to keep growing.
I needed to move on and do something a little bit different.
I decided to pursue an MBA now because I am going through a transition to switch industries.
I thought it was a really good environment to kind of thrive and think of ideas for the future as well.
Through exposure to people from diverse backgrounds, I’m looking forward to expanding my world view and challenging my previously held beliefs and opinions.
I want to have a chance to be challenged and also be inspired by people around the world.
The career barriers for women
I think as a woman, it’s really important to consider what stopping your career part way through and going back to school might mean for the rest of your career and your education.
I think one of the barriers which holds women back from potentially applying is obviously family. But if you can almost put that at the back of your mind and realise how worthy you are of this education and how valuable you could be to helping others.
A community of female leaders
I’m one of the leads for the Women’s Leadership SIG, which has been a really great experience. With my colleagues we’ve been able to organise some really great events and create a support network.
Coming here I expected a diverse cohort and that’s exactly what I’ve met here.
I think it’s a city where people trade knowledge. People are not afraid to what they really truly feel and people are very inclusive.
And I really love that about the programme. All the women here I’ve met are willing to take on leadership roles and jumping onto opportunities to do something.
Choose your career path
For me the Cambridge MBA is a year of reflection to think through what I have already achieved and what’s still ahead of me.
There are definitely still barriers and I can see that. And I think that there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done there.
Now is the time to actually choose your career and create your own path.
The friendship that we built here I’m sure that we’ll all support each other along the way. The ladies I’ve met here are just the best cheerleaders.
Cambridge Judge Business School is developing the next generation of women leaders
We do this by attracting a diverse community through our educational programmes. We research the cultures, institutions and organisations that enable more women to become successful leaders. We believe in encouraging and supporting business women to achieve their best potential.
Each MBA class comprises around 200 experienced professionals from a broad range of cultural and professional backgrounds.
With a Cambridge MBA, you will:
- gain the business education required to excel in a wide range of careers
- join a thriving and ambitious network of students and alumni
- be part of the women in business student group – work with peers to drive the gender balance agenda in business
- become involved in the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre, supporting their research, conferences and outreach activities
- develop personally in an educational setting which supports diversity, equality and inclusivity.
Read more stories from Cambridge women
Meet our women
– Before coming to Cambridge, I had a very, I’d say, non-traditional background. I worked in the public sector in infrastructure investments. Thinking about my career journey, I’d reached a point whereby I was interacting quite a bit with C-suite executives, and collaborating with the private sector. And what this alerted me to was the fact that I needed to be able to have the business skills and the know-how to be able to interact effectively with private sector partners. An MBA was the perfect opportunity for me to gain those leadership and business skills to take my career to the next level. So, once I started thinking about an MBA, I wanted a programme that was one year. And I also wanted a place that was recognised worldwide to give me opportunities to work in potentially different geographies. Cambridge stood out because of Silicon Fen, which is the ecosystem that’s here. So, trying to be able to see how you can bridge that innovation economy with my previous life. And I think the one thing that stood out for me that was unique was the collaborative nature of the programme. So, just looking at how the different terms were organised and the opportunities which were more experiential. When I came in, I was very clear that I wanted to challenge myself in the Finance space, so I started taking courses that were related to that. So, one of the courses that I took was New Venture Finance. So, from a perspective, it opened me to a world of opportunities that I didn’t even know existed for me. The Global Consulting Project was a phenomenal experience. I worked with JP Morgan. And from my perspective, just being able to get into an organisation like that, so being able to get in there and work quite closely with senior leadership on some of the challenges that they’re facing was an experience that I would never have anticipated in my wildest dreams. So, I think what’s unique about the Cambridge MBA is it provides all these opportunities that maybe normally would not be available to you, and they bring very top tier companies for these projects that we work on. The Cambridge MBA was about opportunity for me, being able to realise my potential. And I think, from that perspective, it’s done that and more. So, I’ve been able to figure out potential career paths that were not on my radar. I think I’m now very well equipped to make that transition to the corporate world. Now, as I reflect on my journey and think about some of the skills that I wanted to build, some of the networks that I wanted to engage in, I will say that my growth has been tremendous.
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.
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.
I primarily chose the MBA, the Cambridge MBA for two things, for its strong fundamentals across different business principles. And second is the practical approach to the consulting projects. I’ve come to really understand principles such as corporate finance, private equity, or operations. I’ve been able to do different projects with different industries. For example, in my first semester I had the Cambridge Venture Project, to work with a sustainability consulting company. And during the Global Consulting Project, I worked with Formula E, where I consulted this Motorsport World Car championship. So, all of this combined really helped me enrich my understanding of business, and how to consult different problems and solutions across different industries. Having come to Cambridge, and this year in particular, I think, with COP26 being run in October, I think the whole programme has really built its focus on sustainability. Whether you’re doing finance, whether you’re doing entertainment, or digital transformation. All of those concentrations have this specific focus on sustainability because it is more important than ever, now. I think having a solid understanding of sustainability and how important it is for business, can really help build my career differently. I know I want to be in tech, but I wasn’t really sure on what kind of tech product that I want to phase in, because I came here being very open minded. So I actually chose to do the Media, Culture and Entertainment concentration. So it has been a really exciting journey, to really understand at the intersection of technology and the arts and like consumers of the future. So all of that combined really have been, I guess, the highlights of my MBA. I came to the MBA expecting that Cambridge will be diverse, and that’s the one of the primary reasons why I wanted to do the MBA at Cambridge. But it still surprised me how diverse it is when it comes to the professional backgrounds. And how diverse the knowledge has been, where I got to interact with my classmates here, and understand their perspectives. Not just for me to learn, but also unlearn about what I think I know. All of these diversities combined really shape or reshape how I think about the world, and how I think I want to be and how I want to position myself in the world.
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