What I didn’t have to do this year

The Financial Times published its annual MBA rankings two weeks ago and the Cambridge MBA held steady at 16th position.

While I did my usual analysis of the results for our internal audiences, one thing that struck me was how low-key the reaction to the rankings was compared to previous years. Yes, it helped that we were in the Top 20 whereas in recent years we were in the mid-twenties. But I would also like to think that the relative lack of reaction was also due to our constituents (our students, alums, staff) knowing that while rankings are important and gives us valuable benchmarking information in certain metrics, there are a lot of areas that we feel strongly about that are not captured by rankings. For example, the quality of the academic experience, the learning environment, the networks that our students and alums can tap into. I hope we can use the breathing space created by a top 20 ranking to improve these areas, which I feel will produce more lasting value to the CJBS community.

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5 Responses to What I didn’t have to do this year

  1. I’ve researched about the Cambridge MBA program in detail, spoken to alumni and current students and overall I quite liked what the program has to offer. However, I think that the school needs to do to connect with prospective applicants better; the visa scare and the perception that getting a job in UK/EU is extremely difficult for non- EU candidates is keeping many competent applicants interested in applying to Judge at bay and the decline in application volumes at Judge over the last few years is probably an indicator of that.
    Especially in India where the media loves blowing things out of proportion, newspapers regularly carry articles about why UK as a whole is losing its appeal as a study destination among Indians.
    Would love to see Judge MBA increasing its outreach activities and dispelling some of the fears that’s making Indian applicants a bit jittery about applying to what is otherwise an amazing MBA program!


    • Manav

      Thanks for the reply and sharing your thoughts.

      How would you suggest we connect better with prospective candidates in India? I am sometimes concerned that we, compared to other schools, are too honest with applicants about the visa situation. We have information about it on our website and I blog about it regularly. I am willing to be more upfront about the realities, which are that it is more difficult now for non-EU students, but not impossible, to work in the UK. A lot depends on a candidate’s prior experience, personality etc.

  2. Thanks Conrad for the reply. Appreciate it.
    Well, right off the bat, three things come to my mind in terms of what Cambridge MBA can do to connect with prospective applicants.

    1. The school could hold webinars focused on careers services,recruitment etc. The fact is that for anyone quitting his job and putting his hard earned money to join an MBA programme, employment is very important and moreso for candidates coming from developing countries like India where returning to one’s home countries is always the last choice(mainly because repaying the MBA loan becomes a challenge). I recently attended one webinar conducted by the career services team at INSEAD and it was quite good. Prospective applicants could first hand ask about career services, the situation in EU,recruiters etc, maybe Judge could do something on similar lines.

    2. If Cambridge could provide opportunities to applicants to connect with current students/alumni, it’d be great. A lot of business schools do that in form of “Student Ambassadors” and it’s a great opportunity for prospective students to get in touch directly with a current student and learn more about the program.

    3. On your blog, you(or better the Career services team) could do say a 3 part series covering the various aspects of getting employment out of MBA( those posts will become the most popular posts on this blog without doubt!) For example, visa regulations mandate that a student need to accept a job offer by graduation and that seems quite scary to most. These articles could give a more accurate picture of various aspects of recruitment- for example how willing employers are in UK/EU to hire international students, how the entire recruitment season at Judge is split( for example I-banking, consulting and industry is the order at Cambridge I guess), what are the opportunities in countries like Germany, if not UK? Candidates evaluate these questions as much as their fit with the program while applying and it’d be great if they could get clarity.

    These are just some of the many alternatives possible. I think Dean Christopher Loche, you and the school are doing a good job and the good employment statistics in a tough market like last year’s indicates that. Just that the efforts that you guys are putting in need to be highlighted.

    P.S.-Hope to see Judge back in BW rankings next year!

  3. […] the Financial Times published its annual MBA rankings at the beginning of the year, Conrad Chua, head of admissions at Cambridge Judge Business School, blogged about the low-key reaction he […]