Sunday, April 28, 2013

Interview with Naoki Kamimaeda, current student in the Cambridge Judge MBA program

Naoki Kamimaeda is a current student at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, and was gracious enough to spend some of his busy time answering my questions below.  Read his own blog here (in Japanese only).

Your Life at Cambridge

1. What's a typical day in the life of an MBA student at Cambridge?

The Cambridge MBA has four terms during the academic year: Michaelmas, Lent, Easter and Summer Activity. In the first two terms (Michaelmas and Lent) students mainly take core MBA courses such as Corporate Finance, Strategy and Marketing. A typical day during these terms looks like this:

9:00 – 12:30                 Classes
12:30 – 14:00               Lunch, group work, projects or extracurricular activities
14:00 – 17:30               Classes
18:00 – 19:30               Career Sessions or some talks from guest speakers
19:30 – 22:30               Social activities like formal dinners or dinners and drinks with friends
22:30 – 2:00 (or 3:00)    Preparation for the next day’s classes

In the Easter and Summer Activity terms, students mainly take electives or complete a self-project. So, students can have more free time than the two terms above.

2. Where are you living now?

I am living in a college accommodation. The University of Cambridge has a unique college system.
When students get an admission from the school, students are allocated to a college. Most foreign students can have an accommodation within or near to a college, if they wish to.

The Classes and the School

3. If you could recommend just one class to prospective applicants, what would it be and why?

It would be hard to choose one class. But, if I had to, the class would be in an area such as Strategy or Marketing. These classes are core courses in other MBA programs as well. As far as my own experience at Cambridge, I found these classes were very interesting, interactive and engaging. 

One thing I want to mention about the Cambridge MBA is that it focuses more on projects than classes.
 I think this is a strength of the program. In one year, it is possible to join four projects: the Cambridge Venture Project, the Global Consulting Project, the Capstone Project and the IndividualProject. 
As far as I’m concerned these four projects are incredibly fruitful, because we can test our takeaways from classes in real world experiences immediately.

4. What kind of clubs or student activities are you involved with?

I am involved in a football club and some study groups organized by students. I am putting a lot of my time and effort into the Intrapreneurship Study Group at Cambridge. I founded this study group with some MBAs and other students at the university so we could have opportunities,to discuss how to foster an Intrapreneurship mentality within large organizations. I believe, especially for Japanese companies, this way of thinking is crucial, because still most great employees work for large organizations.

5. Have you collaborated with any students outside of the MBA program, and in the greater Cambridge community?

As I mentioned above, I am discussing Intrapreneurship issues with not only MBAs but also other students like Ph.D. students at Cambridge. 
There are so many opportunities to do something with other students outside of the MBA program, if students are willing to be proactive. Which opportunities students can get involved in is totally up to them.

Your Advice for Others

6. Do you wish you had prepared for the MBA program any more or any differently? What's your advice for someone already accepted and waiting to start their MBA?

I wish I had studied core MBA courses like Corporate Finance, Accounting, Strategy and Marketing before coming to Cambridge so that I could have had more time to be involved in extracurricular activities. In my opinion, we can learn more from extracurricular activities than classes, especially in the case of the Cambridge MBA, because there are plenty of opportunities such as creating new businesses with other students and having lectures or talks from famous people like nobel prize winners and CEOs of large companies.

Thanks very much for your time Kamimaeda-san!

John Couke