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Making the most of life as an MBA candidate

Monday 15 February 2021

St Catharine’s location in the heart of Cambridge, one of the UK’s fastest growing technology hubs, offers students the chance to engage with the city’s start-ups and more established businesses during their studies. We caught up with Martti Palosuo (2020, Business Administration), one of the 11 candidates for the 1-year MBA course who were admitted to the College this year, to find out more about his experience of Cambridge so far.

Why did you choose to apply to study an MBA at the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School (CJBS)?

“The Cambridge MBA is a great way to develop a deeper understanding of the world of business and find out about the career options available to you in the future. You don’t get many moments like this in your life to take stock of the opportunities available to you, so I am savouring every moment.

"The course also immerses you in the practical application of these principles and enables you to develop vital interpersonal and leadership skills ­– essentially completing the toolkit of talents that you will need to thrive in business.

"I was attracted to the programme offered at Cambridge because I knew that I would be studying alongside other students from around the world, allowing me to meet new people with an international perspective on business. What’s more, I wanted to be able to tap into the wider network of businesses in the Cambridge area who are advancing the use of AI and technology across a range of sectors.”

What are your aspirations for the future?

“As an undergraduate, I studied Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of Edinburgh. Over the last 12 years, I worked in the financial sector and gained accreditation as a chartered financial analyst. My ambition is to combine my interests in AI and finance to start a new company of my own, or to join a company that is already a leader in this space.”

What have the highlights of your year at Cambridge been so far?

“I have really enjoyed meeting like-minded people and expanding my network. At a College level, this has largely involved connecting with other Catz students on the MBA programme, as well as the wider postgraduate community through the array of activities organised by the MCR. Another highlight would be building contacts with angel investors and other business leaders through MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT), an experiential lab that gives students a hands-on education in impact investing. In addition, I’ve been actively involved with groups as co-chair of the CJBS Fintech Special Interest Group and, in particular, as Sponsorship Manager of the Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC).”

Pictured: Martti at matriculation, when he was formally admitted as a postgraduate member of St Catharine's.

Why did you decide to join CUTEC?

“I spotted CUTEC last summer, when I was preparing to start the MBA programme and researching the different clubs and societies on offer. I signed up for the CUTEC e-newsletter right away because it would give me access to all these opportunities to support my studies and provide connections that would help me realise my ambition.

"The club’s mission is to enhance the entrepreneurial spirit amongst academics and students by facilitating interaction between industry experts and students to provide these students with exposure to the wider business and fundraising communities. Current activities are designed to encourage scientific entrepreneurialism among both undergraduates and postgraduates, including CUTalks (a series of fortnightly podcasts), interactive webinars with participants from around the world, and the Coffee Club, which introduces members to other relevant contacts in the network for short conversations over coffee (previously in person, now virtual).”

How did the role of CUTEC Sponsorship Manager arise and what does it involve?

“I was really impressed by my first experiences of CUTEC. The club is really well run by a Committee who put a lot of thought and passion into its strategy, with a genuine interest in developing the club for the longer term. After signing up, there was a call for new Committee members and I successfully applied to be one of the club’s two sponsorship managers.

"We need to secure sponsorship for CUTEC to cover the costs of our activities (such as editing and production for podcasts) and invest in new ideas to develop international links and potential partnerships. Already, we have defined our sponsorship packages and created a slide deck to explain the value of these packages to new and existing sponsors. Very soon, we will begin reaching out to contacts locally and elsewhere to share these opportunities.”

How can the Catz community get involved?

“We have just refreshed the CUTEC website so Catz undergraduates and postgraduates who are interested in technology and enterprise should definitely visit. I’d recommend signing up as a member so you can receive fortnightly e-newsletters with upcoming events and opportunities, and also registering for the Coffee Club. Catz alumni with expertise to share or wishing to partner with CUTEC are welcome to get in touch with me at”

Have you got any advice for prospective MBA students?

“If you are on a one-year course like me, it can be helpful to do your research before you arrive in Cambridge. I’m glad I found out about the different groups and clubs at such an early stage because this helped me get involved with the local community from the very start so I could make the most of my time here.”


Find out more about postgraduate life at St Catharine’s.