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  • Malvika Patil

Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Questions 2023-24

Updated: Feb 10




Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) is one of the most recognized names in the business school world, ranking at #23 worldwide (#20 in Europe) in the FT, #9 (in Europe) in Bloomberg, and #12 in QS for 2023. The larger Cambridge university itself stands at #2 in QS’s World University Rankings, second only to MIT. Cambridge offers its own crop of exciting startups while being only 45 minutes from the world-leading financial, startup, and consulting hub of London.


The Cambridge Judge MBA cohort comprises approximately 225 students who have an average of 6 years’ work experience and an average age of 29. The class is 42% female and represents 45 nationalities. When it comes to test scores, Cambridge Judge’s mean GMAT is 682 (Focus Edition ca. 625-635) and its mean GRE score is 319 (V158, Q161). The school hands out approximately 500 interviews in a year.


If you’ve been invited to interview at Cambridge Judge, go in prepared. Note that Cambridge hands. In this blog, we’ll discuss how the Judge interview is structured, who will conduct your interview, the type of candidates that are most successful at the Judge interviews, and the questions you’ll be asked. Read on for all our top tips to ace your Cambridge Judge interview.


The Cambridge Judge MBA Interview Process


The Judge interview is non-blind: the interviewer will have an information packet including your essays and CV, but they will not know your GMAT or GRE scores. Keep this in mind and be prepared to talk in greater depth about the contents of your application, plus keep a few non-application based examples up your sleeve! 


The interview will last 30 minutes. It is uncommon for the interview to exceed this time window. All Cambridge Judge interviews are conducted by faculty – a fixed policy of Cambridge Judge. It is also very rare among MBA programs. As Judge says, “It means that those teaching classes can input into who is selected for each cohort, but it also means the candidates get the chance to converse with those who will be teaching them.” Candidates say that the AdCom makes an effort to match their profile as closely as possible to the interviewer. 


Cambridge Judge’s interview is quite open-ended as compared to most business school interviews. There are no technical “set questions” as you might see at other schools (although a list of potential questions awaits below!). 


The faculty member interviewer will have a conversation with you and try to get a sense of who you are, what you offer, how you process and respond to new information, your potential as a future business leader, and how your goals align with what CJBS has to offer. The interview questions are unconventional as compared to other schools, so be ready for topics that go outside the normal realms of your CV, goals, and reasons for wanting to study at Cambridge. Many candidates say that the interview feels like an intellectual discussion. 


With this in mind, remember that you’re not expected to have a prepared answer for every question that might come up; rather, the interviewer is trying to determine how you think and respond on your feet. Or, in the words of Judge admissions, “Be prepared to have a really interesting conversation across a wide range of topics”. Just like with Oxford Saïd Business School, this interview is more comparable to a job interview than other MBA interviews.


All interviewees are invited to interview at the Cambridge campus, where they will be treated to a dinner where they can meet faculty, staff, and current students before the next day’s interview. A full day of activity is packed into the day of the interview, with a walking tour, group activities, the interview itself, a lunch with current students, and more.


For those who are unable to travel to Cambridge for the interview, online interviews are also available; the “interview day” experience is recreated there as much as is possible virtually. There is no penalty for choosing the online option, but from our experience, schools definitely appreciate when an interviewee makes the effort to travel for the interview.


Who is Cambridge Judge Looking For?


For Cambridge, the value that an applicant can bring to the MBA class is key. Particularly in cases where someone hasn’t gone “the traditional educational route” or otherwise comes from a background where access to academic opportunities has been more difficult, Cambridge looks at the application from a more holistic perspective. According to CJBS, “the right attitude can go a long way in securing your admission.”


Of course Cambridge Judge consistently wants a few standard traits:

  1. Excellent academic credentials, generally a high 2:1 (roughly a US 3.5-3.7 by Fulbright’s conversion standard)

  2. More than two years’ work experience with “evidence of progression”

  3. Good GMAT or GRE score

  4. “Confidence, resilience, ambition, and ability to thrive under pressure”

  5. An adaptive learning mindset and ability to collaborate effectively

  6. High competence in English


Elsewhere, Judge mentions a global outlook, ability to work among peers, and what one can offer to the wider university alongside traditional leadership qualities like resilience, self-awareness, and critical reflection. In particular, “Have you got the resilience to manage your time, as well as your career goals, with the many competing opportunities and challenges that will come your way before, during and after your Cambridge MBA year?”


In any case, CJBS admission advises that you develop a core narrative on why you will thrive at Cambridge Judge, rather than what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Focus on your strengths, values, and goals and work these into your discussion with the interviewer.





Cambridge Judge Interview Schedule 2023 - 2024

Cambridge Judge Interview Schedule

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Application Deadline

29 August 2023

03 October 2023

​08 January 2024

11 March 2024

07 May 2024

Interviews

02 - 13 October 2023

13 - 24 November2024

26 February - 15 March 2024

12 - 26 April 2024

07 - 21 June 2024


Cambridge Judge Interview Questions 2023 - 2024


Here are the Cambridge Judge MBA questions that applicants have been asked previously: 


Introduction


  1. Briefly introduce yourself.

  2. Explain your current role and responsibilities.

  3. What is a memorable childhood event?

  4. Where do your parents live? What do they do for work?

  5. Give me a glimpse of your upbringing.


Education and Employment


  1. Why did you choose your undergraduate university?

  2. How was your undergraduate experience?

  3. List three companies that you would like to work for after your MBA.

  4. Why did you choose to leave your previous job?

  5. What are your short- and long-term career goals?

  6. Describe the rationale behind your career decisions to date.


Motivational


  1. Why do you want to pursue an MBA?

  2. Why now?

  3. Why Cambridge? What excites you the most about Cambridge?

  4. What do you feel you could offer to the wider Cambridge community?

  5. Which other programs have you applied to?

  6. If you are accepted by multiple programs, how will you choose among them?

  7. What previous interactions, if any, have you had with Cambridge or Cambridge alumni or students prior to the interview?

  8. This is a one-year program. How do you plan to make the most of your MBA?


Leadership and Teamwork


  1. Explain a time that you disagreed with your supervisor and how you handled it.

  2. What does leadership mean to you?

  3. What is your leadership style?

  4. Pick a leader you admire. Why this choice?

  5. Describe a situation where there was conflict within your team; how did you deal with this?

  6. What is the most innovative idea you’ve ever had?

  7. Are you comfortable working with a manager significantly younger and with less work experience than you? What is your idea of a good leader? 

  8. If your direct reportees became hostile towards one another, how would you act? 

  9. What if someone is reluctant to work with you? How would you motivate them?

  10.  Tell me about a time when you held a contrarian opinion to someone on your team.


Critical Thinking


  1. What will have the biggest impact on the economy in 10 years? What would you do if you were the prime minister?

  2. According to you, what’s the most significant invention of the last century? 

  3. What is the greatest challenge that the world faces today?

  4. What will your industry look like in 10 years?

  5. Think about a business idea you’ve had in the last 5 years. How would you execute it?

  6. What are some digital innovations that you think are important?


Concluding


  1. Is there anything you’d like Cambridge to know that we haven’t discussed?

  2. What do you wish I had asked you?

  3. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?


Tips to Ace the Cambridge Judge Interview


Here are our top tips to nail the Cambridge Judge interview:


  1. Candidates who feel like they haven’t adequately used their school research or motivations in their essays can compensate for this in their interview. This is also your opportunity to learn more about the program by directly asking questions to a faculty member who will be closely working with you in the coming year. 

  2. The CJBS interview is conversational and focused on assessing how you would initiate dialogue on wide-ranging topics, so don’t expect it to be like other b-school interviews. Go with the flow and be open to where the interviewer leads. 

  3. If you’re thrown off by a question, don’t answer immediately. Take a moment to pause and think about your response. Make a mental note of the points you want to discuss before you jump into your answer. 

  4. Besides generic requirements like academic credentials, work experience, an adaptive mindset, and good English skills, think about how you can match Judge’s global outlook, demonstrate your collaboration skills, and contribute to the wider Cambridge community (beyond Judge). How can you balance all this with the intensity of Judge’s one-year MBA?

  5. That being said, stick to your core narrative and remember to focus on the things that you want CJBS to remember about you: use the SCAR method to construct your stories and anecdotes. This will help you share information while assuring that your stories are logical, concise, and clear.

  6. Remember that you’ll have participated in a Cambridge Formal the night before, so behave yourself; don’t drink too much wine just because it’s freely available! Conduct yourself as if you were preparing to sit for a job interview. Dress formally (gentlemen, that means suit and tie) and show up on time.

Applying to Cambridge Judge? Join MBAConsultant.com to get access to more interview and application advice, including video interview simulations.



 

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