Cambridge Judge MBA Interview

As per the Cambridge Judge Business School website – “We want people who have:

  • excelled in previous academic achievements (top 25 per cent of class in undergraduate degree)
  • are highly motivated and ambitious, thrive under pressure, and have already exhibited clear progression within their career
  • have had some international experiences through their work and have a global outlook
  • are confident, creative, innovative, with strong interpersonal and collaborative skills
  • an interesting and varied life outside their work

Typically we would invite to the Cambridge Judge MBA interview about half the applicants in each round but this is not exact and really depends on the quality. Ultimately we have a small class (approx. 160) compared to many schools so the application stage is competitive.

All interviews are conducted by faculty members – either at our on campus day or by telephone/Skype. We NEVER use alumni or other staff so the process is fair and consistent.

A telephone interview will not undermine your chances. But you would of course have greater scope to assess the programme and environment of the business school if you attended in person.”

What does Cambridge evaluate in the interviews?

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Tel us 3 key learnings from your work experience.
  3. Why MBA?
  4. Why Cambridge ?
  5. Why do you want to do MBA at this stage in your life/ career
  6. One reason that we should not select you?
  7. Have you applied to other schools?
  8. What are your short- and long-term career goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  9. Tell us about a challenging situation that you faced? How did you resolve it?
  10. What are your greatest strengths? Give examples
  11. What are your weaknesses? Give examples
  12. Describe your leadership style.
  13. What would you describe are your greatest achievement to date?
  14. What efforts have you made so far towards your goal of becoming an entrepreneur?
  15. Interests and Hobbies – Be prepared!.. questions as basic as “Why do youdo poetry (or any other activity” may be asked.
  16. Do you have any questions for us?

Interview Transcript - 1

There’s not a lot of information online about Cambridge Judge interviews so I wanted to help out other applicants. Cambridge Judge offered 2 on-campus interview days, and I decided to travel to Cambridge personally to visit the campus and meet current students. Turns out, most of us had traveled from all over the world to come to Cambridge. Cambridge provided me (and 14 other interviewees) a free night’s accommodation at Westminster College for the night before, and hosted interviewees and our partners at a lovely dinner at Queens’ College. Before dinner, there was a drinks reception where ad-com members were in attendance. Conrad Chua (Head of Admissions and Careers) came up to many of us to introduce himself and remembered details of our background, which was a really nice touch!
The actual interview day went from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM but interviews were all in the morning and only lasted 30 mins. All interviews were with a faculty member, assigned randomly (i.e. not matched based on applicant backgrounds). My interview was unconventional. The professor I interviewed with had read my entire application, and started off by asking what questions I had for him. Because I had prepared a LOT, we spent almost half the interview answering my questions.
Then he asked me:
• What do I hope to do post-MBA?
• Why do I think Cambridge will help me achieve my career goals?
• What’s my leadership style?
• What will I bring to the Cambridge Judge class?
Nothing surprising at all. The professor was hard to read, so I wasn’t immediately sure if he liked my answers or not, but I felt like I conveyed my story and my strengths. The rest of the interview day consisted of:
• An Intro to Cambridge Judge session
• Careers informational session with Conrad Chua
• Small-group career discussions with one of their external career consultants
• Lunch with current students
• 2-hour walking tour of Cambridge (which was easily my favorite part of the day as they hired such personable and funny tour guides!)
• Tea & snacks reception to end the day
Overall, Cambridge Judge did a great job of selling the school and giving applicants plenty of opportunities to ask questions of faculty / students / ad-com and network with each other.
Result: I found out I was accepted 4 days after the interview day, and I was also awarded a substantial merit-based bursary.

Interview Transcript - 2

Cambridge always puts on a good show for the interview day and today was no different. The day started off with preliminary remarks from the Director of the school and the director of the MBA program, and then we split off into our individual interviews. Interviews are done by faculty, including even the director of the MBA program.

My interviewer had full access to my application form and was leafing through it as we were discussing. We covered questions like:

* Why an MBA?

* Why Judge in particular?

* Why did you study the undergraduate degree that you did?

* What’s the most challenging thing about your current work experience?

* Also included questions about my long term goal and potential macroeconomic/industry developments related to my long term goal, which I probably got because my goals and my interviewer’s academic area heavily coincided.

It was definitely inquisitive, though not interrogative at all.

The rest of the day was pretty interesting. We had a group discussion with a careers counselor (3 of us) where we discussed what we wanted to do with the MBA and talked about what we could do starting now to jumpstart that process. We then had another careers presentation by an admissions officer. The rest of the day was more social – lunch, tour of Cambridge, afternoon tea. At lunch and tea, there were MBA students on hand to talk about the program and their experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process – it’s not at all impersonal.

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Interview Transcript - 3

The interviewer asked me:

  1. To walk him through my resume.
  2. Why MBA? Why Now?
  3. Why cambridge? What’s something you like?
  4. If you had one minute to appeal to the Admission Committee, what would you say?
  5. What makes a good leader?
  6. Tell me about an experience where you worked in a team?
  7. Your proudest achievement
  8. One thing you regret in your career

The interview went well indeed!

Interview Transcript - 4

The questions asked were easy and normal. It went on for around 30 minutes or so.

  1. Walk me through your resume
  2. What are your career goals? Why do you want to do an MBA?
  3. What has been the biggest achievement in your life?
  4. What is your management style?
  5. Describe a time when you failed in a team.
  6. What do you think are your weaknesses?
  7. Any questions you would like to ask?

Overall the interview went well.

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Interview Transcript - 5

I was eager apply to Judge primarily because of three factors:

  1. The program: With three consulting projects and one year less to spare the program structure appeared to be solid and value for time/money
  2. The people: The class size is ~150 with nearly 50 nationalities making it a truly diverse and international program. Not to forget selective too!
  3. Cambridge: You can’t discount the Cambridge factor. Its arguably the best university in the world and has a network and history that very few can match.

I interviewed over the phone by a faculty from the School. He introduced himself and we got started with

  1. Why MBA at this stage?
  2. Short term and long term goal
  3. Discussion on the long term goal. I could tell the interviewer was quite intimate with my application and was making an effort to understand me as a person and my vision.
  4. Questions on my essays. There was an essay about what you would do to improve your current organisation. we got into a bit of discussion around that and almost like an intellectual exchange (very Cambridge like!)
  5. My GMAT was slightly off the mark. Explain what happened?
  6. Then there were questions around my essays once again.
  7. Chance to ask the interviewer 2-3 questions.

It turned out to be a good experience but being super crisp in a 30 minute sprint is bit of task.

Tips: Know your application and essays fairly well. Not many usual (why Cambridge?) questions. They want to see the program fit, ability to contribute and some sort of vision. Of course, if you are enthusiastic about studying at a university which produced Newton, Darwin, Hawking etc. that’ll probably show up in your answers.

I did hear from Judge in less than a week and was awarded a place on the programme.

Interview Transcript - 6

My interviewer was a professor on operations management and research and we had the interview in her faculty chamber. It lasted about 25 minutes and I saw it more as Story-boarding exercise rather than an interrogative deep dive into your resume or behavioural questions (since most of these are covered in the essays). And it definitely was a 2 way process with the professor talking a bit about what Cambridge can offer in line with my goals.

– Why MBA (I also did a 1 min elevator pitch with her permission so that she knows my background and how the MBA fits into the larger picture)

– Why Cambridge (Some exaplanation from her on what are Cambridges values and expectations from a Candidate, after I completed my answer)

– We discussed a bit about Cambridge’s faculty, books etc.

– Why 1 yr and long-term goals (got answered in the above 2 questions)

– What would be your post-mba job? why?

– She talked a bit about Cambridge’s learning centres and Entrepreneurship, which gave me an opportunity to talk about my role in Clubs and what activities I will do while on-campus

– we broke out talking a bit about running/extra-curriculars in-between.

She then requested a few questions and I had 3, which meant we spent some more time talking. Towards the end of the interview, when we walked back to the common room she asked me about other schools I applied too and was surprised I did not apply to Oxford Said, despite working in Oxford city. I had a solid rationale to explain and that was a great closing note for us to part.

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