Q&A: Conrad Chua, head of Cambridge MBA admissions

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MBAs have traditionally been a way for financial professionals to advance their career within the sector. These days, as Conrad Chua, head of Cambridge MBA admissions outlines, it's more of an exit route.

Have you noticed an uptick in applications from finance professionals?

Even though we haven’t seen an increase in the number of applications from finance professionals, we are seeing a small number of applications from senior finance professionals who have decided to leave their roles. There remains strong interest in finance from regions such as Asia.

Why do you think this is? What are the benefits of professional training in the current climate?

Finance as a sector is still growing in Asia. People who take an MBA from Cambridge gain the valuable skills needed to operate in an increasingly complex global environment.

What can an MBA do for your career prospects?

An MBA gives the valuable cross-functional skills and global insights which allow people to pursue global careers.

Do finance professionals applying this year have clear career goals? Can you outline the main ones?

Most finance professionals want to either accelerate their careers or move into a different functional area, e.g. strategy development in a financial institution. Some applicants from finance backgrounds want to start their own companies after their MBA.

Does Cambridge Judge Business School offer specialist topics for finance professionals?

There are a wide range of finance electives at the school. Finance accounts for the most number of electives for Cambridge MBAs. Students can also choose to specialise in Finance, by taking the Finance Concentrations, towards the end of the programme, allowing individuals to tailor their MBA.

What do you offer throughout the course that will enhance career prospects post-graduation?

There are 1-1 career sessions, case interview workshops, and two live consulting projects that help our MBAs enhance their career prospects. The Cambridge Venture Project is with small-scale, innovative companies based in and around Cambridge and the Global Consulting Project focuses on a live consultancy project with international companies.

What’s the typical salary uplift after graduation?

Our most recent employment report figures from the class of 2010/11 show that the average package is £86,547 and the average finance package is £92,006.

What tips can you offer people considering embarking on an MBA?

I’d advise anyone who’s considering studying for an MBA to really think carefully about why they want to embark on an MBA, to research and find an MBA that has the right environment for them. They also to remember to start saving money to finance their MBA, preferably with as little debt as possible.

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