While it may be uncommon for people in their late twenties to plan an MBA in their life, it continues to be a dilemma about which business schools you should apply to. Choosing and applying to the right school is more critical than I had initially imagined. You need to have clear goals as to what you want from the school and in what type of surrounding you would flourish the most. In my case, it took me a few weeks to realise exactly what I wanted. I was certain that my school should fulfil the criteria that includes:

  • *I always desired to study within a prestigious institution, so my school had to rank in top 20 in the world.
  • *It must have excellent post MBA recruitment statistics (more so for an international student) – in line with the rate of return, jobs being offered in industries in-sync with my career goals and easy to manage visa policies to work in the country as an international student post -MBA.
  • *Since I was intending to take a huge loan, I wanted to choose schools that offered scholarships.
  • *I thrive more in a collaborative culture and so I expected the same value of collaboration in the school of my choice. This is more likely the case in a school with smaller class sizes.
  • *The class should be as diverse as possible to help me grow and develop a truly global perspective.
  • *There shouldn’t be any language barriers to communicate with employers as well as local communities.
  • *Ideally, the school should be located in an urban area, as well as offering the one-year course duration I required.

After doing research for a couple of weeks, I knew Cambridge Judge Business School ticked every criteria I was looking for. Most impressive of all was the fact that, more than 90% of the class post MBA changed at least their industry or profile or geography, with one third doing a triple jump! Having its close proximity to the Silicon Fen was also a huge benefit. In addition, 95% of the class came from outside the UK, with almost 40% being women, which again was delightful news for me. Lastly, studying in the University of Cambridge and being part of its esteemed alumni is a dream anybody would love to turn into reality.

So, I attended the Cambridge MBA online webinars and also received a profile evaluation for my candidacy, to understand whether I was a right match for them. Soon after, I decided to apply in Round 1 as it was now the school with my highest preference. Within three weeks I received a request for an interview on video by Skype. While it’s obvious to feel nervous before an interview, I don’t think I had ever been so anxious before. My interviewer (Jane Davies) was a faculty member teaching at CJBS and the warmth in her tone made me feel relaxed immediately. From all the business school interviews that I had ever given (trust me as I have given at least five more interviews for different schools), in no other interview did I feel so supported by the interviewer to give the answers that I felt and knew were right. I knew then it was a clear reflection of what it would be to study in CJBS.

After a further three weeks, I got the much awaited news of my successful admission into Cambridge Judge Business school. It was a big relief to get prompt results, compared to some other schools. I also learnt that I had qualified for a merit based bursary, which has helped support around a third of my tuition fee. I was in cloud nine and have been there ever since. I’m looking forward to my orientation week starting and finally meeting my future classmates, with whom I’ve already started talking my heart and mind out on Whatsapp.

PS – studying in Cambridge is a lot more fun for Harry Potter fans as you simply cannot ‘unsee’ the uncanny resemblance in architecture and school customs.