How is this for a brand?
Picture a 900 year-old university, chartered six years before the Magna Carta, that has withstood reformations, revolts, and wars. Your faculty and alumni have included Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, William Wordsworth, and Jane Goodall. Steeped in tradition, your brand carries the aura of renown and prestige. Like Oxford, your name is considered as distinctively British as the Union Jack and The Beatles.
In a nutshell, that is the University of Cambridge brand. In contrast, the Judge Business School is more like a startup. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Judge graduated its first MBA class in 1994. Despite its late start, Judge has quickly vaulted into the top echelon of one-year full-time MBA programs. In the 2015 Forbes business school rankings, for example, Judge climbed four spots to rank third among non-American programs. In financial terms, using a metric that contrasts graduate earnings against opportunity costs within five years of graduation, Forbes found that Judge grads gained $158,700 in pay over this period.
A SMALL AND EXTREMELY DIVERSE ONE YEAR PROGRAM
Also known as “The Cambridge MBA,” Judge is not your boilerplate MBA program. Despite its renown, it remains relatively small. The school received 875 applications for the 2016 Class and ultimately enrolled 160 students (up 15 students from the previous year). The benefit of such a small intake, of course, is that students receive more personal attention from faculty and staff. Even more, with smaller class sizes, students can develop deeper relationships with classmates, furnishing them with a stronger network over the years. The downside is that the MBA alumni base is a fraction of most of the business schools it compete with.
That said, the program is technically much larger than it first appears, notes Conrad Chua, head of the school’s MBA admissions and careers. “All MBA students become members of a Cambridge college- a unique differentiator of the University. The college system enables networking and opportunities with outstanding graduate students from across the wider university, and acceptance into a prestigious alumni network reaching over 200,000 worldwide.”
And it’s a truly global network, too. At Judge, 91% of the incoming class hails from overseas. “We continue to design a ‘balanced diversity’ in our class intake,” Chua adds, “with 40 nationalities and the full range of industries represented. Indeed candidates joining us include those from the film industry, military, e-commerce and personal start-ups this year, as well as our strong intakes from consultancy and finance.”
STUDENTS EXPERIENCE THE SYNERGY OF THE “CAMBRIDGE PHENOMENON”
The school also continues to successfully court women. The 2016 Class will include 37% women, up seven percentage points over the 2015 Class. Academically, the Class of 2016 may be Judge’s best yet. Its 690 average GMAT is 10 points higher than the previous class. Overall, 54% of the incoming class comes from the catch-all category of “industry,” with finance (21%), consulting (19%), and the NGO/Not-for-profit/public sector (6%) accounting for the rest.
While Judge’s global cohort resembles INSEAD, its placement efforts take after Booth. About 95% of the 2014 Class received a job offer within three months of graduation, and “89% [have achieved] switches of at least country, function, or industry sector,” Chua adds, which he attributes to the school’s personalized one-to-one career consultancy.
Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.