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?

Cambridge Judge MBA 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?

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 8

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.

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 7

The whole admission process at Cambridge is far more pleasant than at other schools. The admissions staff are great and, rather than being treated like a number, they seem to know all the applicants and their stories without hesitating. Similarly, I really enjoyed the interview process. It is more about showing you the school than grilling you.

Before the interview day, they ask you to join a secret Facebook group of current students and people who have been accepted from previous rounds, where people introduce themselves etc. It was a bit cringe-worthy at times, but good to see who else was in the running. Cambridge sets up a dinner at one of the colleges for Sunday night and somebody organised informal drinks prior to that through the Facebook group.

The dinner was really good, with current students at each table, and it was a really comfortable way to get to know people. Afterwards, we went for a quick drink in the college bar. Everybody stays in Cambridge on the Sunday night, as it is an early start on Monday. First up on Monday is the interview, where one of the faculty talks to you about your application. My interviewer was pretty quiet, but kept asking questions to keep things moving. My GMAT score was good, but heavily swayed towards verbal, so he asked about my proficiency with numbers and whether I would be able to keep up with what is a very fast moving and academically-challenging programme. There was no difficult quant question, as some had suggested. Once he was happy with that, he dug a little deeper into the periphery of my essay questions. There weren’t any questions around why I wanted to go to Cambridge, but I slipped a bit of that in at the end through my questions to him. I didn’t really hit it off with my interviewer and it didn’t feel like the interview went brilliantly, but it was a perfectly pleasant experience.

We then had small-group careers sessions with an external careers person who specialised in placing MBAs. That was excellent and she was far more candid than I would ever have expected at an interview day, talking through the challenges we would face in doing what we wanted to do even if we had an MBA. She also could give some very unbiased thoughts on the MBA programmes offered by different schools. We also had a big group session about careers, which also included each person talking about where they were from, what they currently did and what they wanted to do. It was pretty impressive to see the diversity in the room and it gave an inkling of how useful it would be to be in a programme with those people – a huge number of people wanted to do something where another class member had experience.

The rest of the day was again showing you what Cambridge had to offer, with a networking lunch, coffees, a walking tour of Cambridge etc. They know what they are doing and it is hard not to fall in love with the place once you’ve been there properly for a day. It also showed the benefit of the Judge business school as a learning space. I’ve been to a few business schools and they are all pretty similar, but Judge has breakout spaces and an open feel where you do just naturally sit down and start talking to people.

I would encourage anybody who can to go along to the interview day. It is a tough decision choosing between the top global programmes and I found it gave me a really good feel for the school. You can tell that it is part of a thriving ecosystem of academic excellence and creativity, rather than just an efficient machine for turning out bankers.

I was given an offer, but more importantly the whole admission experience made it my top worldwide choice, above other schools that are higher in the rankings. It is hard to weigh up completely different schools and it is deceptively simple to think a school with
a higher ranking is the better school. I couldn’t warn you more about that approach—nearly none of the rankings focus on things that mattered to me. After looking into it, I only applied to LBS and Cambridge and received offers from both, but I’ll be going to Judge.

The technology and entrepreneurship opportunities at Cambridge have few parallels elsewhere. On that front, this is worth a read:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/why-cambridge-is-at-the-heart-of-britains-economic-recovery-9134717.html
More than that, it is the uniqueness of the Cambridge Exprience. It is as if you can feel a history of 800 years of the world’s greatest thinkers in the walls of the buildings and, once I had visited, I couldn’t wait to go back to start the programme!

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Frequently asked Situational and Behavioural interview questions

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Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 6

I could not see any detailed interview experiences of Judge business school and so hope this helps to guide candidates who wish to apply to the school. I was wait listed without an interview on my R2 application before being offered a 10 minute telephone call with an adcom member to make a case on why Cambridge should be interested in me and what are my motivations. This is atypical of some other schools that have a binary decision on whether to call a candidate to interview or not. Cambridge has a very selective class profile that is diverse in geography, experience, nationality etc. with a higher threshold on average experience. So they want to be absolutely sure that a candidate will fit into the cohort and also be passionate about his goals. I presented a strong case to the adcom interviewer talking about my strengths (have a clear long-term goal and a game-plan to achieve it) and opportunities I will use to overcome my weaknesses (GPA and GMAT were pulled up as my -ves given that Cambridge have a strong intellectual bent). I convinced the adcom member about my app and got an opportunity to interview.

To be invited to a Cambridge interview is as good as an admit as there is a very high conversion rate (I would guess atleast 3 out of 4 get an offer). The interview process is day long with Networking drinks and dinner in one of Cambridge’s 31 colleges on the day before the interview. On interview day, I was told who will be my interviewer and we had a 1 hour networking coffee with other candidates before that.

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.

The interview day then continued with a presentation by Career services, lunch with the Dean/Director, MBA admissions director, adcom, alumni and other participants. We then went on a 2 hour tour of Cambridge taking in the historical sights and history of the 800+ year old university. We wrapped up with another does of coffee followed by drinks with current students for those who had budgeted time for it. Overall, it is a very personalized experience and I would recommend anyone (living in any part of the world) to plan to visit Cambridge on interview day if you are serious about your application.

My interview resulted in an offer, so I reckon it went well 🙂

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 5

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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Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 4

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!

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 3

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.

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 2

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.

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions - 1

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.

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview - What to expect

We invite candidates to come to Cambridge for an evening and a day to interview with a member of faculty, talk about their career ambitions with a professional coach, and network with fellow candidates at a Cambridge College dinner. Compared to many programmes, this process is fairly extensive – so why do we do it like this and what do candidates gain from the experience?

College dinner

The evening before the interview, we invite candidates for dinner at one of the University’s Colleges. Candidates have a chance to get to know each other, and most importantly, start to develop their Cambridge network. We encourage candidates to foster their network at the earliest opportunity, through the interview day as well as careers treks and welcome events. The 12-month programme is incredibly intense, and candidates will be at an advantage if they start getting to know their classmates early – alumni have been known to form business partnerships at this dinner!

Candidates also get a taste of one of the unique aspects of Cambridge College life – the formal hall, one that has underpinned the traditions of networking and academic debate here in Cambridge. We’ve previously hosted interview dinners in the beautiful Cripps Dining Hall at Queens’ College, and among the stained glass crests of Trinity Hall’s dining hall.

Interview with a member of faculty

The Cambridge MBA is one of very few MBA programmes where all prospective candidates must be interviewed by a member of the academic faculty. This means that candidates get to meet the people who will actually be teaching them, and the professors themselves can assess academic ability, and contribute to the profile of the class, giving their vital insight into who they think will work well together in that year’s cohort.

Meeting with careers coach

Small groups of candidates meet with one of our external careers coaches, and have the opportunity to talk about their career plans and ideas, and how the Cambridge MBA could help them to realise their aspirations.

Crucially, the careers coaches have worked in industry, and know what employers are looking for in an MBA candidate, and have an insight into if candidates’ ideas are realistic and achievable. The discussions are very much led by students’ interests and provide them with a raft of ideas to think about once they have left Cambridge, regardless of if they ultimately receive an offer.

Lunch and tour of Cambridge

At lunch, candidates (and their partners, if they have come along) can meet current students and ask them in detail about Cambridge life and their experience so far. After lunch, candidates and partners are given guided tour of Cambridge, to give them a feel for the wider University and the city in which they are coming to study.

Vivian Li, from the current Cambridge MBA class, says:

“One of the things I remember strongly about my interview was the welcoming feeling that the admissions team provided. Chatting during the welcome dinner, it was clear that they knew each of our backgrounds very well, and that they had dedicated time getting to know all of our applications, as well as telling the candidates what they could offer in order to find a mutual fit.”

Natasha Takhar, MBA Admissions Coordinator, offers her advice to candidates preparing for their interview day:

“My advice is firstly to be honest and open about yourself and your future goals.

Bring your partner with you if they are going to be moving to Cambridge with you. Your choice of business school is a big decision and your success will depend on the support of those around you.

And finally, enjoy the day! Cambridge is a wonderful city and location for study and we hope to give you taste of this at the interview. Talk to people and be curious – you will make connections here, wherever you finally undertake your MBA!”

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