Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If could change one thing…

 ...about the Cambridge MBA what would it be? The answer for me is simple and very clear: the way Judge is interacting with its alumni community.
I have never attended other programs but from what I heard there is a tradition in many American top business schools of having a very strong alumni network that can be of great help in finding jobs or developing new ventures. The ability to send business ideas to a bulletin board might seem a simple thing but it can be tremendously valuable for someone wanting to start a new business. Unfortunately I feel a lot more could be done in this area and I would definitely invest in the alumni relationships.
Alumni relationships are not about setting up pub nights. It is part of it but it is a lot more than that. It is leveraging on the tremendous potential the alumni network has. It is about providing the means for talent to interact, for ideas to be discussed, for relationships to be established. It is about making sure every student, from the moment she joins the program, knows a lifetime bound is created.
Whenever I meet fellow Cambridge MBAs they are always happy to help out and have an incredibly generous attitude. They are always eager to chat and get to know more fellow MBAs.  So why is that our alumni community is not a lot stronger or active? Some part should come from our initiative. But I truly believe a bit part should come from the school. The school should have the systems and platforms in place to enable the community.
We all learnt the power of team/group work during the MBA. Imagine the potential that could be unleashed if the group is the whole alumni community!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The interview day - part II

Sometime ago I wrote about my thoughts on my interview day and you can find a description of the whole day here (

I receive many emails asking me about the interview so let me dwell on it a bit more and give you my take on it. 

Receiving an interview invitation is a great milestone in your application process so if you got that nice letter you should feel confident. I think that’s actually the hardest bit. If you were invited it means you have the profile they are looking for. At the same time they are not going to invite you if they have many doubts about you. I’d say your chances at this point are looking pretty good! 

The interview day is not meant to be a torture. In my view it has two main objectives: put a name and a personality to the application and sell you the Cambridge brand. 

Starting with the latter, you have to remember this is a two way process. Cambridge wants to best candidates and the best candidates are likely get offers from many places. In order to beat the competition for the best talent, the interview day is set up to allow you to meet the staff, future colleagues, the facilities and the city. I would advise everyone to attend that day and not just do it over the phone. It really gives you a good taste of how that year is going to look like.

The other objective is to get to know you better and see if you are the person who prepared that application. Remember that many candidates get help from professional services in order to create the best possible application. Like for any interview, you should prepare well but let me tell you that you are not in for a grilling session. Some questions may be challenging but the idea is just to get to know you, assess your personality and ambitions and whether there’s any mismatch between you and the application you submitted.
So my advice is be honest, relax and really enjoy it!