For many candidates like myself, a major draw to the Cambridge MBA at Cambridge Judge Business School was the opportunity to become involved in the greater University of Cambridge experience. This is achieved in many ways, whether it’s through your Cambridge College, a sports club, a university society, or many other collaborative opportunities to expand your interests and network. I had the opportunity to channel my inner youth to play on the Cambridge Blues Ice Hockey team, (CUIHC) as well as helping to lead a university society and organise its annual conference. Although balancing these extracurriculars with the intensive one-year MBA programme challenged my time-management skills, it made for an incredibly rewarding Cambridge experience and the best year of my life.
Being from Canada, I grew up on ice skates, however, I hadn’t played competitive hockey for a long long time. Although I ended up with a myriad of injuries that reiterated my growing age, I got to develop friendships beyond the MBA programme with my teammates who studied a wide array of subjects, and whom I normally wouldn’t have encountered. The highlight of the year was playing in the Varsity Match against Oxford, where we had a rowdy section of MBAs cheer us on to victory. With three training sessions during the week and games on Saturdays, it was a large time commitment but proved to be an amazing stress release. However, I wasn’t alone as many of my classmates got involved in sports through rowing, golf, cricket, football, shooting, equestrian and boxing among others, so I always felt comfort in the mutual suffering of our packed schedule and long hours of practice, but I think we’d all agree that it was well worth it.
Coming into the MBA programme, there was a group of us interested in continuing in or looking to enter into the energy industry following graduation, and we became familiar with the Cambridge University Energy Network (CUEN) through the wider alumni network. The University-wide society was started by MBAs and has run the annual conference since 2017 to generate dialogue and literacy around some of the most pressing energy topics on the global energy agenda.
Although several of us on the executive committee (with 11 MBA candidates) came from a background in the energy industry, many of us came into the Cambridge MBA looking to transition our careers. Coming from North America, one of the main draws of the Cambridge Judge programme was to learn from the diverse, international cohort and get a broader perspective on the intricacies driving the energy transition. More importantly, since the Cambridge MBA is only a year long, we wanted to learn where we could make the biggest impact following graduation. With so much emphasis placed on reaching far-off 2050 net-zero targets, we wanted to shift the focus and highlight some of the pertinent near-term areas where Cambridge students and academics could make an immediate impact. This is what drove this year’s conference theme – “The Energy Transition Over the Next Decade.”
After two years of having virtual conferences due to the pandemic, we were incredibly excited to have an in-person event at The Cambridge Union, with some amazing speakers representing diverse perspectives from across the sector. Planning and executing this in-person conference took a significant amount of time outside our MBA studies but culminated in an incredible learning experience where we got to expand our network and meet some incredible minds driving change in the global energy landscape.
Whether it’s the Cambridge Venture Project in the first term, CJBS Special Interest Groups (SIGS) or especially the Cambridge MBA Global Consulting Project in April, the Cambridge MBA curriculum is incredibly experiential, where you take part in projects that you’ll remember forever and create indelible friendships with your team mates along the way. Even though at times the MBA schedule can be overwhelming as you try to balance all your commitments alongside the many social engagements, I would encourage anyone considering the Cambridge MBA to find the energy to get involved beyond the programme and make the most of your year in Cambridge.