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#11 Cambridge MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. James Barker

Cambridge MBA Admissions James Barker

“The thing that makes the Cambridge MBA unique is the opportunity to study with 150 high caliber individuals as part of a practical and entrepreneurial program at the heart of one of the world’s leading universities.”

This week Mr. James Barker, MBA Admissions Coordinator, Judge Business School, the University of Cambridge, joined the show to talk about the Cambridge’s MBA, which was ranked #16 worldwide by the Financial Times this year.

Cambridge is one of the oldest and most respected universities in the world, and MBA students are encouraged to connect with other members of the university community, whether on campus or through the school’s unique college system. This also means the program’s academic standards are high: MBA candidates are expected to be in the top 25% of their undergraduate class and score above 7.5 on their IELTS or 110 on internet-based TOEFL. As the class has an average work experience of 6.5 years, less experienced candidates must make a compelling argument for how they can contribute to program.

James emphasized the practical and entrepreneurial nature of the Cambridge MBA. All students are required to work on 3 consulting projects (one with a startup, one with an international org, and one in their concentration) throughout the year. Cambridge is also a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity in the UK, with entrepreneurship being one of its 8 concentrations that students can pick from. The program seems an interesting combination of academic tradition and real-world relevance.

Check out their website where you can find many more ways to get a “behind the curtain” view of the program.

The Cambridge MBA in 3 words: Flexible, Collaborative, Practical.

Listen on for much, much more!

Touch MBA’s Cambridge MBA Crib Sheet

Program Highlights

  • Class size: 150 Full-time students, 40 nationalities
  • Program: 12-months, starts in September
  • Accredited by AMBA and EQUIS
  • 1/3 students from arts/humanities, 1/3 from business/economics 1/3 from science/engineering degrees
  • All Cambridge MBA students become members of 1 of 31 colleges at Cambridge
  • 8 concentrations: Finance, Global Business, Strategy & Marketing Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Energy & Environment, Beyond Profit, Healthcare Management, Cultural, Arts & Media Management
  • Strongly ties with startups in Cambridge, one of UK’s leading entrepreneurial areas
  • Practical focus: 1st semester – Cambridge venture project (consult for local startups), 2nd semester – Global Consulting project (consult for international firm), Capstone project (work with industry expert in your chosen concentration). All projects done in teams.


  • 5 application deadlines, hear back from admissions within 2-3 weeks regarding interview decision
  • Students shortlisted for interviews are invited to campus for a weekend. Activities include a college dinner, talks with career services and the program team, interviews with faculty members and meeting 20-30 other candidates
  • Students judged the same in all 5 rounds; applications tend to peak in round 3
  • Applying early allows greater flexibility when going for scholarships, and finding place in one of thirty-one Cambridge colleges
  • Academic requirements: Top 25% / above 3.3 GPA / first class, upper second class.
  • TOEFL minimum: 110 (internet), 637 (paper). IELTS minimum: 7.5
  • GMAT – Avg: 680, 80% GMAT range: 630 – 730, usually don’t consider candidates w/ below 600 GMATs
  • Avg work experience: 6.5 years
  • Get peer recommendation from someone who can comment on your ability to work in a team
  • Applicants are encouraged to prepare 12-18 months before they apply; research to assess fit, funding opportunities, and to write effective essays


  • 40-50% of class gets partial scholarships ranging from 10-20% of admissions fees
  • Research different scholarships and apply earlier to give yourself better chances
  • Some scholarships are awarded along with acceptance letters, some after
  • Foreign students should look for loans in their home countries


  • Employers come to campus and post jobs online to recruit Cambridge MBAs; career services also advocates “career skills for life” (interview and negotiation skills)
  • Cambridge proactively developing corporate connections in Asia and Europe
  • Cambridge MBA graduates can stay in UK 3 months post graduation to find a job (Tier 2 visa)
  • 97% of graduates were employed w/in 3 months of finishing MBA; 45% of graduates remain in the UK to work
  • 25% of graduates move into consulting roles or companies

Show Notes

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