Jiaqi Nie (EMBA 2017) writes our first blog from the new Class of 2017, reflecting on his first week in Cambridge.
On the flight from Toronto to London, I still couldn’t believe I was accepted by Cambridge. I kept asking myself: was it worth turning down offers from the North American M7 business schools, to study somewhere where I would have to fly across the Atlantic Ocean every month for the next two years?
It was raining when I arrived in Cambridge, but we received a warm welcome from the Programme Director, Dr Khal Soufani. Everyone I met in my new class was looking forward to the forthcoming week, but nobody had expected it to be as intense, rigorous or as fun as it was!
This year, our EMBA class attracted 84 top talents from all over the world, most of us averaging 14 years work experience. I had heard that the number of students that already hold a Masters and/or a PhD degree reached a historic high of 74%!
The first challenge we faced was to remember the names of our fellow classmates; all 84 of them! We were split into smaller groups to aid the memory process, and it was during this exercise that I met people such as Vincent. A former economist at the Central Bank of Ireland, he now works as a diplomat for the Irish Embassy in Brussels, and already holds two Master’s degrees and a PhD.
I was amazed to meet so many entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, musicians, engineers, scientist and even world chess champion in one classroom. None of us would ever find ourselves sitting among such people in our daily lives. In the Corporate Finance class, I could share my thoughts and engage in a dialogue with senior figures from JP Morgan, Blackstone, PwC and the New York Stock Exchange, to name just a few of the financial organisations represented within our class. In our Management Praxis class, I even found myself playing ice-breaker games with executives from Google, Raspberry Pi, Pfizer and Shell.
As students of Cambridge Judge Business School, we are able to fully experience the wider University’s 800-year-old traditions. Dining in the Formal Hall of a Cambridge college is unique experience, particularly when we are joined by high-profile guest speakers. I still remember the speech at King’s College given by Dame Sandra Dawson, a former leader of Barclays and JP Morgan, which was very inspirational.
Another Cambridge tradition we enjoy as participants is becoming an official member of a Cambridge college. After meeting the tutors at my college of choice – Emmanuel College – I can’t wait to attend my formal Matriculation ceremony next month.
At the end of our first week of the programme, we already began to miss each other. Within one week, we had shared job opportunities, event invitations, and gave blessings to those who found themselves promoted at work, celebrating birthdays and even one who had just become a father!
I am so proud to be a member of the 2017 EMBA cohort, and I am looking forward to the journey we will share together over the next 20 months.