Cambridge’s Judge Business School

The University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School is ranked ninth among non-U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants.

12. University of Cambridge

Cambridge Judge Business School

Trumpington Street

Cambridge, CB2 1AG, UK

Admissions: +44 (0)1223 337053



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Inspired by the tradition of tutorial discussion and debate at the University of Cambridge, the Judge MBA program is taught through workshops, seminars, lectures, discussion groups, and team and individual projects. The one-year MBA program consists of core courses, electives, concentrations, summer activity, up to four consulting projects, and a flagship distinguished speaker series created exclusively for the Cambridge MBA.

This is a relatively small full-time program with a class size of just 152 students. As you would expect, the MBA candidates come from all over the world, with 40 nationalities represented in the latest entering class in 2012. Some 95% of the class is deemed international, meaning that only 5% come from the United Kingdom. The largest single chunk of the class–36%–hail from Asia.

Cambridge Judge Business School is a relative newcomer to the business school game, having opened its doors in 1990 under the name of the Judge Institute of Management Studies. So the value of its business network is low, with only 1,781 living alumni. Another way to look at this: Harvard Business School, which has 78,000 alumni in 167 countries, had 3,500 alumni volunteers in 2012 (so Harvard’s active volunteers were twice the size of the entire Judge alumni network). Still, Judge graduates are more likely to benefit from the halo effect of Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious and best known universities than they are from the Judge network.

The core MBA courses start at the beginning of October with a Foundation module. Working with faculty and business practitioners, students build a solid core of knowledge and enrich their personal understanding of management issues.

Students may choose five electives over the course of the year; two in the Spring term and three in the Summer allowing them to broaden their experience, focus on subjects in which they are particularly interested, and customize their degree. There are eight areas of specialization for students to select a concentration including some unusual ones, such as Cultural, Arts & Media Management, Energy & Environment, Health and Beyond for Profit as well as more mainstream MBA stuff such as Finance, Global Business, Strategy & Marketing Consulting and Entrepreneurship, Each concentration concludes with a two-week capstone project course.

Latest Up-to-Date MBA Rankings:

Poets&Quants (2012): 12

BusinessWeek (2012): NR

Forbes (2011): 5 (one-year international)

Financial Times (2012): 26 (global), 13 (non-U.S.)

The Economist (2012): 45 (global), 17 (non-U.S.)

Rankings Analysis: The Judge Business School slid five places in Poets&Quants’ 2012 composite ranking to 12th from seventh in 2011, largely the result of its disappearance from Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s biennial ranking in the same year. Though one can argue about the significance of Judge’s falling out of the BW survey, it is without question a less-than-positive sign.

BusinessWeek said the school, which had been ranked tenth on its international list in 2010, was not ranked because the corporate recruiters surveyed by the magazine failed to single out Judge as a place where they both recruit MBAs and think highly of them. Yet, many other schools, including No. 5 Oxford’s Said School, No. 12 Germany’s Mannheim, as well as No. 13 Imperial College in London and No. 19 Manchester passed this test. It’s not that the school’s placement stats were quite positive: some 97% of Judge’s Class of 2012 had accepted a job offer within three months of graduation.  What it largely suggests is that the school’s recognition among mainstream MBA recruiters is lower than it should be.

Besides the bad news from BusinessWeek, Judge also fell in two other key rankings from Forbes and The Economist. Forbes’ 2011 ranking which measures the return-on-investment of the MBA saw Judge lose one place. The school placed fifth among one-year international programs, behind IMD, INSEAD, Spain’s IE Business School, and Italy’s SDA Bocconi. It was fourth in 2009. The larger decline came at the hands of The Economist which ranked the school 45th on its  global list, down a dozen places to 45th in 2012 from 33 a year earlier.

In 2012, The Financial Times’ ranked Judge 26th in the world–the exact same ranking the school had in 2011. Though not included in Poets&Quants’ results, because the 2013 Financial Times ranking came out after our 2012 list, Judge did significantly better in the FT’s new survey. It was one of 13 schools that gained ground in double digits, moving to 16th from 26th. A 10-place rise in a single year is a big deal in the FT ranking, especially when it occurs in the upper quarter of the 100 schools that are annually ranked. The reason: the best schools pretty much remain the best year after year because they have the reputation and the resources to stay at the top of the list.

The school’s improved showing in the FT can be attributed to significantly higher “weighted average salary” numbers of alumni three years after graduation. Interestingly, Judge Admissions Chief Conrad Chua conceded on his admissions blog that he would be hard-pressed to explain what caused the improvement in performance in the FT survey. “As far as we know, there was nothing radically different between the classes,” he wrote. “In the same way, we didn’t think there was anything significantly different in the classes who were surveyed when we dropped in the rankings.”

Tuition & Fees: $63,660 (£40,358)

Average GMAT: 680

GMAT Range (mid-80%): 630-730

Average GPA: 3.68

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Full-Time Enrollment: 152

International: 95%

Female: 30%

Mean Age: 29.6

Average 2012 Base Salary: $109,348

Median Signing Bonus: $15,572

Percentage of Class of 2012 MBAs with Job Offers at Graduation: 88%

Percentage of Class of 2012 MBAs with Job Offers Three Months Later: 99%

Top Employers of the Class of 2012:

  • McKinsey 6
  • KPMG 4
  • Credit Suisse 3
  • Amazon 3
  • Siemens Management Consulting 3
Where the Class of 2012 Went To Work:
  • Industry 39%
  • Consulting 27%
  • Finance 22%
  • NGO/Non-profits/government 5%
  • Other 7%

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