Management Studies

Everything you are about to read has been written by current and recently graduated students at the University of Cambridge, to give you honest information about what it’s like to be a student at Cambridge.

The management studies tripos is a single year course for third and fourth-year students, open to people from any subject background. You apply for the course in your second or third year through your college, and may have to pass an interview and have achieved certain grades in your previous years. The department and library are at the Judge Business School, a five minute walk from the centre of town, but most of our lectures are held even closer, on the Mill Lane lecture site. The size of the course varies year on year, depending on the number of applications and places available - currently there’s 41, but the previous few years had around 70 students.

Management Studies Credit: Cambridge University

What about the Management Studies course at Cambridge appealed to you?

Tom, Management Studies (previously Chemical Engineering), Selwyn College, 4th year
Tom
Selwyn College, 4th year

I was a Chemical Engineer until my third year but decided it wasn’t for me, and I wanted the chance to study in an area that was new and different, allowed me to develop new skills, and would help me in my future career. The Management course is special because it covers such a broad range of topics and brings people together from all sorts of academic backgrounds. I’d say my favourite part so far has been the negotiations workshops – we have four of these in second term, taught by a lecturer who holds a Guinness World Record and has spent a year working with army surgeons in Afghanistan. They last three hours each and can be quite tiring, but are really interesting and give you a chance to develop negotiations skills in a risk-free environment.

What is your faculty/department like?

Tom, Management Studies (previously Chemical Engineering), Selwyn College, 4th year
Tom
Selwyn College, 4th year

The Judge Business School is a really interesting place, shared with MPhil, PhD, and MBA students, meaning there is always a wide mix of people around. The library staff are all really friendly, and offer loads of additional help such as job interview prep and lessons on how to use the business databases we have access to. The Judge café is fairly cheap and sells decent sandwiches, and you can usually steal the free tea and coffee that is put out for conference guests and MBA students. The Mill Lane is a slightly less nice building, but the lecture theatres are comfortable and there’s a library on the top floor.

What types of work do you have to do?

Tom, Management Studies (previously Chemical Engineering), Selwyn College, 4th year
Tom
Selwyn College, 4th year

Supervision work can be essay-based or examples sheets, depending on the subject. Essays are usually 1500-2000 words, and examples sheets are 5-10 questions covering the material in recent lectures. Resources and information are usually available online or in the department or college libraries. The core topics are Organisational Behaviour, Numerical Methods, Economics, Finance & Accounting, Operations Management, and Marketing. We can pick two coursework papers from Human Resources, Environment & Sustainability, International Economics, Corporate Governance, Strategic Management, and Business Innovation. In addition, there is a consulting project in Easter term which allows you to put all the topics you’ve studied into practice by working for a real company.

Do you have career plans?

Tom, Management Studies (previously Chemical Engineering), Selwyn College, 4th year
Tom
Selwyn College, 4th year

I’m applying for a couple of jobs at the moment, but don’t have anything set in stone yet. Lots of the class have grad jobs lined up in consultancy and management.

What about your course would you change?

Tom, Management Studies (previously Chemical Engineering), Selwyn College, 4th year
Tom
Selwyn College, 4th year

Our lectures are all two hours long which can sometimes drag on, but we do usually get a break midway through. Due to the range of student backgrounds, sometimes you end up covering things you’ve already studied very slowly for the benefit of the rest of the class, but everyone experiences this in different topics.

Typical timetable of a Management Studies student

- Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9am - - - - Lecture
10am Supervision - - - Lecture
11am - Lecture - Lecture -
12am - Lecture - Lecture -
1pm Lecture - - - -
2pm Lecture - Lecture Supervision -
3pm - - Lecture - -
4pm - Examples Class - - -

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Please note that as student volunteers we are unable to answer questions on admissions requirements - e.g. school/college qualifications needed to apply. You are best asking these questions to admissions@cam.ac.uk