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How to hit the ground running with your one-year MBA

You’ve got through your GMAT with a stellar score, finished your application, had your interview with faculty and Q&A session with the MBA Careers Team at the School, and been accepted into the UK’s top one-year MBA programme. So you can relax and wait until September for the Cambridge MBA to start, right?

athletes in sprint start in track and field

Wrong – Cambridge MBAs are launched into their ‘preparatory phase’ several months before they come to Cambridge to start the MBA in September, and the 2017/8 cohort have been busy networking and travelling, doing preparatory work and pre-reading, and continuing to build relationships with each other before they start. Here are a few of the things they’ve been up to.

Careers treks

Before the programme begins, the Cambridge MBA Careers Team organise Careers Treks in cities around the world, where students have the opportunity to meet representatives from organisations directly, gain an insight into that sector and what that company are doing, as well as get another chance to meet each other before they come to Cambridge in September.

This year, students have been to San Francisco, where they also met up with alumni from previous years, and visited Facebook and Google’s HQ, IBM Watson, Yelp, and Accenture.

Following the lead of the Careers Team, students this year have also been organising their own treks, and have recently visited China, and will be visiting Berlin later this month. The China trek started in Hong Kong, and students visited CKPD, Morgan Stanley, PWC, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, China Merchant Bank, as well as Tencent and Huawei.

Incoming student Thales Panza de Paulo says: “As an MBA candidate the experience was invaluable. The trek enriched my cultural and business understanding of the region and gave me a chance to meet some of my future classmates.”

Careers preparation

The MBA careers Team start working with students months before they start the programme officially, encouraging them to do research, self-assessment and reflection while still in employment to help them prepare for their career development work while in Cambridge.

Students have been undertaking one-to-one Skype meetings with members of the Careers staff, as well as attending pre-MBA employer networking receptions, and taking part in employer webinars, which allow students to get to know companies such as WPP, McKinsey and Bain, and their offices around the world, before these companies begin their formal recruitment process.

Social media and blogging

We encourage students to share their preparation experiences and to network with each other: from LinkedIn to WeChat, students are already bonding over shared experiences. Several of this years’ cohort have also written blog posts about their experiences of treks, and as they start the programme, they’ll continue to blog about their experience on the Cambridge MBA Stories blog.

Orientation week

Before classes even begin, students will have two weeks of Orientation, where they’ll officially meet all of their classmates and the members of staff they’ll be interacting with throughout the Cambridge MBA programme, as well as collect any official documents they need.

They’ll also be kept busy with introductions to the all their classes, some of which, like Management Praxis I, Microeconomics and Management Science, start in Orientation before term officially begins. They’ll also have the opportunity to start their post-MBA career planning with optional careers activities arranged during Orientation.

Fortunately, they’ll also be lots of social events, which include a traditional University of Cambridge College dinner and reception, BBQ with the MBA Team, class photo, and a traditional ‘high tea’ for students and their partners.

The life of a Cambridge MBA is a busy one during the programme, requiring excellent networking, multitasking and time management skills – skills which are put into practice even before students step into their first class. So if you are wondering how our MBAs fit everything into a year, the answer is, they get a head start.