The MBA application at Cambridge is trying to determine two things: your fit at the school and how likely you are to get a job after the MBA program. Given Cambridge’s recent rise in the rankings, your employability and the feasibility of your career goals is incredibly important and the school is paying much closer attention to their student’s career trajectory after they leave Judge.
Looking to the essay questions, the first is a very classic MBA application essay question.
Please provide a personal statement. It should not exceed 500 words and must address the following questions:
What are your short and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?
What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?
If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?
A first point of advice is to not answer that you are unsure of your post-MBA career path. In reality, the majority of MBA students are not certain of their plans once they complete the program. That is why people chose to study for an MBA: to have the time to explore their career options! For the purpose of the application, you should have a well defined career path in mind. Once you are admitted, you can change your mind multiple times.
MBA admissions officers are also weary of applicants who want to complete a triple jump: a change in role, a change in industry, and a change in location. If you are an applicant whose goal is to complete a triple jump, I recommend that you have some relevant experiences that will support the fact that you could be successful at accomplishing your goal.
If you are an aspiring triple jumper, you might even wish to choose a career objective that is more in line with your past experience. For instance, if you currently work in the finance industry and your career objective is to work in marketing in the technology industry; it will be difficult to convince the admissions committee that you can be successful unless you have some marketing experience already. For the purpose of the application, you might consider saying that you want to work in finance in the technology sector as this type of career change is more realistic given your background.
Additionally, for this question, make sure that you show that you have done your research into the Cambridge Judge MBA. You should answer why you want to attend Judge and how their unique program components will help you to achieve your goals.
What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)
You should answer this question using the STAR method: Situation-Task-Action-Result. You have a very limited number of words for your answer so be succinct and give more emphasis to the action that you took and the result. In this case, the result is the learning that you gain from your failure.
This question requires honesty, reflection, and self-awareness. Do not be afraid to show a different side of yourself. You can chose a professional failure, a failure related to extracurricular activities or a personal failure; anyone would be appropriate. Studying for an MBA is about personal growth and development. You should be able to show that you can grow and improve.
Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)
An important component of the Cambridge Judge MBA are the two consulting projects: the Cambridge Venture Project (CVP) and the Global Consulting Project (GCP). For these projects, you will be required to work with your classmates as consultants for a company. The school wants to be certain that you are a team player. You need to be able to represent Judge in a good light so that the school can maintain relationships with the companies and continue these projects for future MBA classes.
For the Cambridge Venture Project, you will work with companies that are local to Cambridge and that are in the earlier phase of their lives. The Global Consulting Project can take you abroad or keep you local in the UK. The companies who participate in this project are more established and last year they included Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Unilever, L’Oreal, Land Rover, Merck, Citi, among others. Cambridge has a reputation to maintain with these companies and it is important that they select their students wisely.
For this question, you should again answer using the STAR method: Situation-Task-Action-Result. Most of the focus should be on the result or what you learned from the experience. You should show that you are a team player and that you are very comfortable working with diverse teams.
Finally, give yourself time to fill out the application form. Do not leave the form until the final deadline! There are several short answer questions within the application form and you should also think through those questions and how best to answer them.
I am an Oxford MBA graduate and I also spent a year in Cambridge as a partner of a Cambridge MBA student. I am very familiar with with Cambridge Judge is looking for in an applicant. If you would like to discuss your Cambridge application, do not hesitate to reach out to Rona at firstname.lastname@example.org.