Posted on July 16, 2019

Cambridge Judge Essay Questions Analysis- 2019-20

Judge Business School

The Cambridge Judge Business School has released essay topics and deadlines for the 2019-20 application season. Please visit the Judge Business School admissions website for more details.

Round Application Deadline Interview Days
Round 1 September 09, 2019 October 20 & 21, 2019
Round 2 October 28, 2019 December 8 & 9, 2019
Round 3 January 13, 2020 February 23 & 24, 2020
Round 4 March 09, 2020 April 26 & 27, 2020
Round 5 May 05, 2020 June 7 & 8, 2020

The application essay prompts for the Judge Admission committee remain unchanged this year. So our analysis of the essay question also remains the same. The applicants are asked to write three required essays. While one required essay is a personal statement or goals essay about applicants’ expectations for their career and the MBA program’s role in it, the other two questions focus on experiences/ situations that reveal self-awareness, maturity and growth.

Let’s take a closer look at the essay questions

Essay #1: Please provide a personal statement. It should not exceed 500 words and must address the following questions:

  • What are your short and long-term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?
  • What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?
  • If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?

This is a straightforward personal statement or goals essay. Candidates are asked to outline their short-term and long-term career objectives. In order to explain the characteristics and skills you already have to achieve these goals, you should start with a brief career summary and provide details about how you have acquired new skills and progressed along your career path all these years. Specify the skills/knowledge/ experience you have gained at each level. Then explain what your short term and long- term career objectives are, specifying the industries that you are interested in, the roles that you are aiming for, and the skills that you need to gain. Then discuss how an MBA will fill the gaps in your career and bring you closer to the fulfillment of your goals?

To address the second part of the prompt, you must discuss what efforts you will make before and after your MBA to effectively meet your career goals. For example, you may mention the additional projects you will undertake at work before starting MBA and the specific activities you plan to get involved in during your MBA at Judge that you believe will help support your goals.

Though the last part of questions asks you if you are unsure of your career path, I would advise you to be as specific and confident of your career goals as you can and reflect on how the skills acquired during your one year at the Judge Business School would help to get closer to your goals. All schools expect you to have a clear sense of your goals and their connection to the schools’ specific offerings. Demonstrating an understanding of the unique offerings of the Judge’s program is crucial to an effective response to this question. Take time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs, and extracurricular activities. Reach out to alumni or currents students to gain their insights, attend info sessions, and meet the members of the admission committee, and if possible, visit the campus, talk to students, and attend a class.

If the space permits, wrap up your essay by reflecting on the value you will bring to the program.

Essay #2: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)

The failure question seems to be a favorite of Judge Business School which means the school is genuinely interested in the candidates’ learning and growth. MBA applicants often hesitate to show flaws. Please note that the admissions officials understand that no one is mistake-free. They want to know you as a person and understand that your failures are part of your growth. So be candid about how a particular failure affected your life and how it impacted others. Since the essay prompt doesn’t specify whether you should discuss the professional or personal story, you have the option to choose either a professional or a personal story.

The word limit is too stringent (only 200 words) and the essay question specifically asks about the lessons learned from your failure, so you will need to summarize the details about failure and focus more on the learnings you gleaned from your failure/ mistake. The school wants to know how your ‘spectacular’ mistake has made you a better person and a professional, and how you are applying those learnings in your personal and professional relationships. The end of this short essay should paint you a mature person who will carry his maturity to the Judge Business School.
For organizing ideas for this essay, I would recommend the 4-part structure:

    • Situation: What was the situation/ the challenge?
    • Action: How did you deal with the situation? What mistake you made?
    • Outcome: What was the result?
    • Significance: What lessons you learned? How did you incorporate those lessons in your professional (or personal) life?

To meet the strict word count specifications, make sure to give approximately 100-120 words to the last part of your story- lessons learned.

Essay #3: Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)

Through this essay, the Admission Committee wants to evaluate you for your team working skills that make you a valuable team member. Working with others can be in many forms. You may choose a story when you coordinated with teams overseas or collaborated directly with a colleague for a challenging project. Pick an example from your projects where you faced challenges within the team and yielded good results. The key is how you worked with your team to overcome challenges and succeeded in achieving a common objective. Make sure your story showcases distinct team working attributes such as the ability to resolve conflict, individual responsibility, and accountability, communication skills, flexibility, adaptability, etc.

Again, with such a tight word limit, you will need to summarize the context focus on the challenges you faced and the lessons you learned.

Since you have already discussed your failure in the essay #2, it is advisable to discuss your success here, which was possibly based on the lessons learned from the failure. This essay may also highlight the skills that you have discussed in your personal statement to showcase your readiness for the Judge MBA.

For organizing ideas for this essay, I would again recommend the 4-part structure:

  • Situation: What was the situation? What was the project you worked on? 40-50 words
  • Action: What was your role in that situation? How many team members were there? How did you collaborate with them? How did you deal with the challenges? 50-60 words
  • Outcome/result: What happened in the end? What common goal you achieved? 20-25 words
  • Significance: What lessons you learned? How did you apply those lessons in similar situation 80-100 words


To meet the stringent word limits, you need to be extremely precise in presenting your case and make every word count.

Free Resources:

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples
Essay Analysis of Other Tops Programs- 2019-20
25 Video/Chat Interviews of Successful MER Students

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

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