Not everyone who comes to Cambridge wants to go into finance. Members of the cohort have interests as varied as their backgrounds and many are still exploring options. I came with a destination in mind that didn’t follow a traditional MBA path. Here, I’ve found the space to make my own.
I didn’t expect to end up in business school. In college, I studied Economics and Russian, but I loved economics for its insight into decision-making and its power for predicting behaviour, rather than for the dollars and cents. Even preparing for graduate school, I took the GRE instead of the GMAT, because I still wasn’t thinking business. Some ideas crystalize slowly.
I always wanted to solve big problems and do things that matter. That’s what took me into the public sector. I started in a policy environment, but my drive to make an impact gradually pushed me to the front lines as a consultant. I worked with government agencies to tackle organisational challenges like planning for the future and creating inclusive cultures.
Two important ideas came together during my time as a consultant. The first was that the practical, hands-on learning style of the MBA programme made business school right for me, even though my interests go beyond the bottom line. The second was the value of using a human-centered and design-inspired approach to solving problems. I realised that design could help me make the impact I wanted.
For me, the design approach is equal parts empathy and innovation. Empathy is the secret to identifying problems that really matter and to measuring improvement. Innovation is the audacity to look at problems in new ways, bring in varied perspectives, and experiment with solutions. It’s this combination of the humility to listen and the boldness to dare that makes me want to work at the intersection of business and design after my Cambridge MBA.
There’s a growing movement to apply design principles in other contexts, but it’s still an atypical direction for an MBA graduate. Together with my classmate, Nita, I founded a student interest group focused on Business Design. In the few months since we kicked off, we’ve brought our classmates together for practice sessions and we’ve hosted talks with leading companies in the field. We are now well on our way to making our own path.
For more information on Special Interest Groups and tailoring your MBA pathway visit – https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/aboutus/opportunities/special-interest-groups-and-societies/