Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Class numbers

As far as I understand, the Cambridge MBA is undergoing some changes with regards to class size.

I have my own view on increasing the class size. I understand the Cambridge MBA needs critical mass and a good alumni network and that can only be achieve by increasing the numbers and aiming to compete with the 300-plus-student MBAs across the world. It all makes perfect sense from the programme’s point of view and in the future, the alumni community will benefit a lot.

However, it also contributes to killing one of the things that made the Cambridge MBA unique. One of the reasons that made me choose Cambridge was exactly the class size. I thought with the class size of 150, it would be possible to know all my colleagues and get more of a family feeling when attending the course. And that was spot on! I feel like I know a lot about most of my colleagues and I learnt a lot from them.

There’s a lot to be learnt from your colleagues and fewer students also allows us to get to know our colleagues, share experiences, spend time together and connect with them. There is a very strong bond between most of us and we keep in touch regularly. I’m not sure how that would be possible with 300 students.

I think there’s a big trade off between getting the right scale and providing a great experience to the students. I just hope Cambridge is able to keep the right balance and doesn’t become like some of other business schools which resemble more of a mass production MBA-making machine.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Cambridge email account I don't have

I just received an announcement from my Cantab email account letting me know that if I want the full service account, I need to pay, otherwise I'll be downgraded. The Cantab.net is the official alumni email account for graduates from Cambridge. Most people don't know that because "cantab.net" or the alias "cambridgejbs.net" seem more of one of those email accounts you get for free such as engineers.co.uk or doctors.co.uk.

There are many nice things about Cambridge, but one of the biggests faults is actually one very simple thing: the lifelong alumni email accounts. Harvard, Stanford and all the others give their alumni free lifelong email accounts that are recognisable....using domains such as Stanford.edu. I expected to have a @cam.ac.uk account, with my name and year of graduation, like they do it in Harvard. That doesn't happen in Cambridge. For some reason, we loose our email accounts when we graduate.

How difficult can it be to make sure alumni keep their emails? Wouldn't it also be good for the school to have it's name advertised by the alumni community?

Instead...we have to use a very basic webmail service with cantab.net as domain....honestly, I'd rather use my personal email!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fast paced life

I think one of the consequences of doing an MBA is changing your life pace. Even though I was a consultant in my previous life, I still can’t help being surprise at the pace things go after an MBA. It’s no surprise that the MBA year is really intense and although the rhythm calms down a little bit after the course, I feel like things keep changing at an enormous pace.
Less than a year after the MBA, I already had two full time jobs in two different European capital cities. I also not only changed industries right after the MBA, I changed industries again 7 months after changing industries for the first time.

I’m very happy with my job at the moment, I seem to have an increasing urge to let my entrepreneurial side go crazy and create something. I think one of the benefits of the programme was that it tested me and made push harder. Putting myself out there also made me realize that there are so many things that could be done in a much better way they are being done.

I’m not sure whether it is MBA arrogance or just the will to create something and push even harder. I guess time will tell.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My MBA pass

After working for slightly more than six months in one the world’s largest bank, I decided banking is not for me. Like many MBAs, I was attracted by the glamour and challenges of the banking industry but it didn’t take me long to realise things aren’t what they used to be anymore.

Banks are bleeding inside, the morale is low and the challenges they face are more related to headcount cuts than anything else. Therefore, I decided to move on to a more exciting industry: renewable energy! If you read earlier posts on my MBA projects, you’ll know I did them in this area.

Many people wonder if an MBA is still worth it. As far I’m concerned, I really think it is. The way I see my MBA is almost like a pass that everyone recognises wherever I got. Don’t get me wrong, the job market is still very tight. But I am also positive that without my MBA I wouldn’t be able to change industries again!

More importantly, I’m going to an industry where I have very little experience and I will be based in a different country. I can’t imagine I would be able to do so without my MBA. I think having the name of a top business school in my CV opens me doors that otherwise would be completely closed.

As far as my personal experience goes, I highly recommend doing an MBA!