Cambridge Judge 2014 Essay Tips & Deadlines


What did you learn from your most spectacular failure?

Founded in 1990, the Judge Business School at University of Cambridge has powered its way up the international rankings, mainly because of its strength in entrepreneurship, particularly in technology and the sciences. A deeply collaborative school, it enjoys strong ties to the many companies in Cambridge’s high-tech cluster.


1. What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)

Note the word “spectacular;” a strong word meant to elicit a strong response. How you face and process failure is an important gauge of your management capacities and ability to learn. This essay is also a sterling opportunity to display your self-awareness: do not shy away from writing about a serious (i.e. spectacular) failure. Perhaps more important than the failure itself is the lessons learnt. And if you can show how you have implemented the lessons, then you should have a winning essay. This is a tall order for 200 words, so brevity is the key. Describe the situation. What lessons did you learn? Have they somehow been “validated?

2. What are your short and long term career objectives? What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you to achieve them? What do you hope to gain from the degree and how do you feel it will help you achieve the career objectives you have? (Please do not exceed 500 words)

The classic MBA goals question: Where are you going? How (and why) will you get there? How will an MBA, and Judge, enable you? This straightforward essay will put your career – past, present and future – into perspective and explain why you are applying to Judge. The task here is to clearly map out your career development within the context of your professional goals, while also linking the Judge MBA with your future. Illustrating a logical, credible link between your career to-date, your goals and Judge, is the key to this essay.

The latter part should align with Judge’s practical approach that encompasses workshops, seminars, lectures, discussion groups, team and individual projects, and their tradition of lively debate. For example, why is this approach important for you?  Does the presence of nearly 50 nationalities from a wide range of sectors and small class size matter to you? And so on. 

3. If you could change one thing about your current organisation, what would you make different? How would you overcome obstacles to this change, and what impact would this change have in the short-term and long-term? (300 words)

This is your chance to succinctly display your strategic prowess and management savvy. By analyzing the key issues faced by your sector, you can illustrate your knowledge of the industry as well as where you believe it may –or should– be heading. Your advice should reflect your strategic vision. Given Judge’s highly practical learning style, your approach should be the same. Although the question limits your course of action to the upcoming three years, you can certainly frame it in terms of where you see the sector ultimately heading, thereby reflecting your own long-term vision.

If you would like professional guidance with your Cambridge Judge MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Cambridge Judge application.

Application Deadlines Decisions Released
Round 1 October 11, 2013 December 6, 2013
Round 2 January 10, 2014 March 7, 2014
Round 3 March 7, 2014 May 2, 2014
Round 4 April 25, 2014 June 13, 2014

Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.

  • Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Cambridge Judge, please provide the following information:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

  • Richard

    Hi Linda

    1) I am serial entrepreneur with 2 startups under my belt and a short term Analyst position at a Accelerator cum angel investor in Mumbai, India.
    2) GMAT – 660 (Q49,V31)
    3) Brunel University – BSc(Hons.) Financial Mathematics – Graduated 2010 with a 2:2. I don’t know the GPA conversion. Can you help?
    4) Student Rep for a year at Maths Dept.(Brunel University), Filmmaking, Amateur Chef, Puzzle solver etc
    5) Passed CFA Level I
    6) Start my own venture or work in VC sector.
    My shortlist includes LBS, Oxford:Said, IESE, ESADE and NUS. I am skeptical about applying to US B-Schools as I have heard many horror stories about visa getting rejected after all the hard work. Do you think my choices are right? Shall I apply to some other schools? US Schools?



    • Linda Abraham


      LBS and Oxford are stretch programs. You have a competitive profile for the other schools on your list.

      Regarding whether you should apply to U.S. schools, I really can’t answer that question. Do you feel the U.S. experience is important to your future career? Do you feel specific U.S. schools offer something you couldn’t get in Europe.

      Regarding the visa, in recent years I am hearing fewer stories about visa problems preventing students from attending. But, applying in a late round increases that possibility.


      • Richard

        Thanks Linda

        Do you mean I have a competitive profile for Cambridge too? US, being the hub of entrepreneurs, will definitely help with my endeavors. Which US schools you think I should target, if I chose to?

        • Linda Abraham

          No, Cambridge is a stretch too. You have a chance, but I don’t think it’s a good one.

  • Bojana Obradovic

    Hello, Linda!

    1) I’ve worked for a year as a teacher, and the past two years, I’ve been a self-employed photographer and organized cultural events.
    2) GMAT 750: 98% (Q49, V42)
    3) Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade, Serbia, major in cinematography, GPA 3.88/4, graduated in 2011.
    4) I played basketball and soccer, and I currently sing in a choir and act in an amateur theatre, and volunteer in Serbian-Canadian cultural organizations.
    5) N/A
    6) Post-MBA goal is working in arts administration or becoming an enterpreneur in the cultural field.

    I have been accepted into Schulich business school with an entrance award. I am interested in also applying to Cambridge, Oxford, Yale and Bocconi for September 2015.

    Thank you so much in advance!

    • Linda Abraham

      Your academic stats will make you very attractive for your target programs. The question becomes how much did you grow your photography business and how big were the cultural events. If you can show real impact through the latter two activities you have a competitive profile for all your target schools.