The Judge Business School is the business school at the University of Cambridge in (you guessed it) Cambridge, UK.
The school posed an interesting MBA essay question in the past. They asked students about a “Spectacular Failure” from their past. While the current list of six MBA essay questions does not necessarily contain a variation of this question, there still is an interesting one on the list.
Cambridge asks the MBA applicant to give a piece of advice to their 18-year-old self.
While they are framed differently, both these questions are for the admissions committee to gauge the growth that the applicant has gone through. The school now has three questions that ask questions pertaining to an applicant’s personality and gives them a collective of 600 words to share the same.
It’s safe to assume that the admissions committee at Cambridge is eager to learn about the person behind the MBA application in a more personal way.
However, the school also asks an applicant about their post-MBA career goals in 500 words.
The MBA essay section for Cambridge is very well-balanced, similar to the type of MBA student that the school is looking for.
Cambridge Judge Business School MBA Application Essays
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?
Let’s create a blueprint for this essay. Using this method will make sure your essay is detailed and every single word of the 500-word limit provided by the school adds value to your profile.
Start by identifying your immediate post-MBA career goals. Select the industry, function, and firm you’re targeting. Select an organization that recruits at Cambridge.
The next step is to explain your decision. Why did you choose this specific set of industry, function, and firm? Did a recent event expose you to your post-MBA goal?
Now list down all the skills you require to be efficient in your post-MBA goal. Some of these skills you already have, and others you plan to attain through your Cambridge MBA. Which particular classes, courses, or events at Cambridge will help you attain these skills? Be as specific as you can be. Your pre-MBA networking activities will help you in writing this answer.
Admissions committee members understand that not all students follow through with their post-MBA goals mentioned in the Career Goals essays. So Cambridge asks you bluntly if you are unsure, how would the MBA help you?
They are okay with you not having clear post-MBA goals, as long as you can convince them that an MBA is a right next step for your career growth.
Describe a difficult decision that you had to make. What did you learn from this and how have you changed as a result? (up to 200 words)
This is a classic dilemma question.
When did you have to choose between two paths which were equally difficult to go down?
Cambridge’s admissions committee wants to know about what the difficult decision you made was, why you made it, and what lesson did you learn from it.
Start by explaining what the situation was that called for this decision. What were the options available to you? Set the scene.
Then move on to discussing your thought process that led up to your final decision. Talk about how you felt instantly after putting the decision in action.
Did you feel instantly happy, relieved, or regretful?
Finally, talk about the lesson you took from this experience. It could be anything as small as not taking hasty decisions or a whole revelation about the situation.
Describe a time where you worked with a team on a project. What did you learn from the experience and how might you approach it differently today? (up to 200 words)
Writing about the instance where you showcased amazing leadership skills might not be an issue. You’ll be proud of this experience and can easily create an authentic and expressive essay.
The issue arises in the second part of this question. Applicants try their hardest to not showcase any weaknesses through their MBA profile. When business schools ask questions that require an applicant to talk about anything that even remotely resembles a flaw, they try to guise a strength in its place.
But if you pay close attention to this question, you’ll notice that the Cambridge admissions committee wants to see how you have grown since you had this experience.
They don’t want you to discuss how you took the wrong decision. Rather, they are interested in knowing how your leadership skills have evolved. Only in such a scenario would you be able to identify better ways to achieve the results you have in the past.
If you could give one piece of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be? (up to 200 words)
Have fun with this question. reflect on your life when you were 18. What are the mistakes you look back at and laugh and which ones make your toes curl?
What did you not know when you were 18 but know now? Or what was a concept your 18-year-old mind could simply not wrap itself around? Whatever your answer, this is one of the lighter and more essays in business school MBA applications, so approach it with the same mindset.
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