Posted on May 28, 2021

Cambridge Judge Essay Tips and Deadlines: 2021-22

Cambridge Judge_2021-22

Cambridge Judge, the business school of the University of Cambridge, is a rigorous, global program that provides a unique and transformative experience in just 12 months. The program is particularly strong in entrepreneurship and innovation management.


Round Application Deadline Interview Dates
Round 1 September 06, 2021 October 15-29, 2021
Round 2 October 18, 2021 November 26- December 10, 2021
Round 3 January 10, 2022 Feb. 18- Mar 11, 2022
Round 4 March 07, 2022 April 15-29, 2022
Round 5 April 25, 2022 June 03-17, 2022

From Cambridge Judge Website:

“We want people who:

  • have excelled in previous academic achievements
  • are highly motivated and ambitious, thrive under pressure, and have already exhibited clear career progression
  • have international experience through their work with a global outlook
  • are confident, resilient, creative, and innovative, with strong interpersonal and collaborative skills.”

“We are committed to admitting a diverse cohort to the MBA each year. We need to ensure all students can cope with the intellectual rigors of a University of Cambridge degree. Their prior work experience must be of a standard which prepares them to contribute to the MBA experience fully.

However, we are mindful of the varying routes and metrics used to assess suitability. We take a holistic approach in reviewing an applicant’s profile.

For that reason, we happily consider applications from ‘non-standard’ cases who, although have a strong profile and application, perhaps do not meet one of our requirements.”

The application form for the next recruitment cycle, to recruit the MBA class starting in September 2022, will be released in late July 2021.

For more details, please visit the Judge Business School admissions website.


Like last year, Cambridge Judge is asking applicants to write four essays. The essay prompts remain unchanged from last year. While the first 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. The fourth essay seeks your advice to yourself at the age of 18 years.

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. To provide a context to your past experience necessary to achieve these goals, you should start with a brief career summary and give 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, discuss your short-term and long-term career objectives, specifying the industries you are interested in, the roles you aim for, and the skills you need to gain. Then, explain how an MBA will fill your career gaps and bring you closer to your goals.

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

The last part of the question asks you if you are unsure of your career path. Still,  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 you fulfill your career aspirations. 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 program's unique offerings is crucial to an effective response to this question. Take time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs, and extracurricular activities. To gain additional insights, reach out to alumni or currents students, attend info sessions and MBA fairs, and interact with the admission committee members.

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

Essay #2: Describe a difficult decision that you had to make. What did you learn from this and how have you changed as a result? (up to 200 words)

For years, Cambridge had asked applicants what they learned from their ‘most spectacular failure’. This question that replaced the ‘spectacular failure’ question last year demonstrates that the school is genuinely interested in the candidates’ learning and growth. Through this question, the school wants to know how you handle difficult situations, make decisions amid tricky situations, learn from them, and make those learnings a part of your growth. The school wants to know how your experience has made you a better person and a professional, and how you apply those learnings in your personal and professional relationships. So, you need to take the reader through your decision-making process, the rationale behind your decision, and the lessons learned.  The end of this short essay should paint you as a mature person who will carry his maturity to the Judge Business School. Since the essay prompt does not specify whether you should discuss the professional or personal story, you have the option to choose either a professional or personal experience.

The word limit of 200 words is a tall order for explaining different parts of the question. To meet the stringent word limits, make every word count.

For organizing ideas for this essay, as always, I recommend the STAR approach:

  • Situation: What was the situation/ the challenge? (approx. 40 words)
  • Task: What were you expected to do? (approx. 20 words)
  • Action: What options you had? How did you deal with the situation?  (approx. 30 words)
  • Result/ Significance: What decision did you make? (approx. 30 words) What lessons did you learn? How did you incorporate those lessons in your professional (or personal) life? (approx. 80-90 words)

Essay #3: Describe a time where you worked with a team on a project. What did you learn from the experience and how might you approach it differently today? (up to 200 words)

Through this essay, the Admission Committee wants to evaluate you for the team working skills that make you a valuable team member at Judge business school. 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 to show how you worked with your team to overcome challenges and achieved 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, and adaptability to work with diverse teams.

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

If you have recounted a personal story in essay 2, make sure to discuss a professional experience here. This essay may also highlight the skills you have discussed in your personal statement to showcase your Judge MBA readiness.

For organizing ideas for this essay, I again recommend the STAR method:

  • Situation: What was the situation? What was the project you worked on? How many team members were there? (approx. 30- 40- words)
  • Task: What was your role? (approx. 20- 30- words)
  • Action: How did you collaborate with them? How did you deal with the challenges?  (approx. 50-60 words)
  • Result/ Significance: What common goal you achieved?  What lessons did you learn? How would you apply those lessons in a similar situation? (approx. 90-100 words)

Essay #4: If you could give one piece of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be? (up to 200 words)

Like essays 2 and 3, this, too, focuses on learning and growth. But this essay is solely about life lessons. Life is all about evolving and learning through experiences. At twenty-eight, we are not what we were at eighteen. We were immature and naïve at that age, and now when we look back, we realize that we could have done a lot of things differently.

Essays 2 and 3 allow you to analyze how you would do things differently using the lessons learned from your experience (difficult decision and team project). Essay 4 encourages you to look back into your teens and reflect on which actions you would have avoided, or which behavior you would have refrained from, or which people you would not have interacted with, and so on. Asking these questions while reflecting on your teenage experiences will help you identify topics for this essay.  I feel you will enjoy digging into your past experiences and sharing them with the admission committee to offer them a glimpse into your self-awareness about your past actions.

To adhere to the strict word count specifications, be as precise as possible in presenting your case. Click here for 11 helpful strategies (illustrated with examples) to achieve brevity.

Free Resources:

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

Essay Analysis of Other Top Programs-2021-22

 MER Students Share their success Stories

AIGAC Virtual Conference 2021: MER’s Key Takeaways

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

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