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Frequently asked questions: applying to the Cambridge MBA

Read our answers to some frequently asked questions to help complete your Cambridge MBA application.

The admissions process, how does it work?

We recruit one cohort each year to start the one-year MBA in September. We offer a staged admissions process with five rounds of applications during the recruiting year. After you submit your application, we review all applications and reply with our decisions within three weeks of the relevant deadline. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview in Cambridge. We offer a limited number of telephone/skype interviews in countries where it is difficult for candidates to obtain visas at short notice. However, we strongly prefer candidates to come to an interview day in Cambridge to have your interview in person, meet faculty, meet other candidates, speak to current students and tour the School.

When is the best time to apply, and is now (after the third round) too late?

Although there are benefits in applying early, such as securing a place in particular Colleges that take limited numbers, or the occurrence of scholarship deadlines, there are no quotas and you have the same chance of being interviewed in round five as you do in round one. We recommend applying when you are fully committed to an MBA and have given yourself enough time to prepare your best application submission, including the best possible GMAT score you can achieve.

It is important to note that we view all applications on their own merit, and we look at the whole picture regardless of which round you apply in. Finally, regardless of when in the year you do apply, stay organised and thoroughly proofread your application.

I come from a sector/industry which is perhaps not MBA-traditional, will I fit in at Cambridge?

This is a concern for some individuals looking to apply, but be reassured that at Cambridge we value a highly diverse community. This factor makes for a powerful learning experience. We carefully select each cohort from a wide-range of backgrounds – sector, geographical and cultural. For example, the current class includes a film producer, a professional jazz drummer, a former US marine, and a chemical engineer to mention just a few.

To supplement this professional and global diversity, we look for certain other characteristics in candidates when building our MBA class – attributes which we believe will lead to success both on the MBA and beyond. These include; authenticity, resilience, critical thinking, collaborative skills and creativity. These are characteristics which we promote and develop throughout the programme, and strive to instil in our graduates for their future.

Do part-time jobs count towards the minimum work experience requirements?

In most cases no, we ask for at least three years’ full time, post-graduation work experience prior to the planned MBA start date. However, please tell us if there are extenuating circumstances which mean that you have only been able to work part-time or on temporary contracts – for example you have had to bring up a family or care for an elderly relative.

I am a native English speaker, do I still need to do an IELTS/TOEFL?

You are required to show English language proficiency to apply for the Cambridge MBA. To demonstrate this, English must be your native language, or you must have a TOEFL score of at least 110, or an IELTS score of at least 7.5. Further details can be found in our English Language Policy.

Am I too old/young for the Cambridge MBA?

We do not select candidates based on age – see the details of admissions requirements can be found on our applying page. The average age of our class ranges from 28 to 29 typically, but we do not consider age as part of the selection process.

The Colleges system, how does it work?

Every Cambridge MBA becomes a member of one of the 31 University Colleges. College life will become a big part of your year in Cambridge – and we encourage students to give time and focus to developing this network. If you choose to live in College, you can eat, sleep, play sports, network, socialise, and revise there.

Once you are admitted onto the Cambridge MBA, our Admissions Team will consult with you to put together your top three College preferences and then apply to the Colleges on your behalf. We’ll support you throughout the process in finding your College place, with College membership guaranteed to all Cambridge MBA students.

We hope that the information compiled above helps alleviate any of your concerns before you get started or put the finishing touches on your application. You can always find more detailed information on the Cambridge MBA webpages but we encourage you to get in touch with us should you need any particular support.