Life at Cranfield
Cranfield is a friendly and fun place with a real community spirit. Whatever your recreational, social or sporting passion, you will find a wide range of opportunities at Cranfield and in the surrounding areas.
Terms 1 and 2 (September to Easter) are demanding and allow for little spare time for extra-curricular activities. However, being away from big city distractions means more enjoyment of the village life Cranfield supplies. Once spring rolls around and the workload has eased and there is time to really get involved in everything Cranfield offers.
Go to Cranfield School of Management to read more.
Life with a family
ADRIAN WOOD (2007 New Zealand Scholarship Winner)
The course has been excellent. It’s certainly challenging, and I’ve not had any problem filling the days, but the content and teaching style has been even better than I was expecting.
There is a lot of team work. This of course presents its challenges, but grows a very strong collegial spirit.
In terms of funding, we’ve budgeted around £1,000 per month in addition to accommodation at £430 per month plus utilities. Obviously it’s not a year for lavish lifestyle, but it looks like we will be well inside budget by year end. I’d recommend people get a car. We didn’t at first, but bought one just before Christmas, and have found the freedom it affords great. Cranfield is quite isolated, and while the bus services are more than adequate, having your own transport really makes a difference. We spent £500 which bought a higher-mileage, but sound run-around. A friend bought quite a nice VW Golf for £1,000. There are a few dealers around, and we bought ours through a friend-of-a-friend on campus.
Life on campus with children
So far as life with a child goes, our experience has been really positive. We flew via the USA to get our maximum baggage allowance, and came straight through rather than having the hassle of organising a stopover with our then 11-month old. The flight was fine. There is a doctor on campus, and medical care is free. There is also a dentist, I think students are free, but families pay.
Talia is only just now getting old enough to use day-care, so it’s not something we’ve had experience of. I’ve a friend whose daughter is in the local primary school, and he is very positive about the education she is receiving. Distance from grandparents is a downside. We mitigate this through a phone deal that lets us call home as often as we like, and we make and send DVDs for grandparents. Babysitting was more difficult at first because, we’d lost our trusted networks, but we quickly made friends who’ve been happy to help. We also tend to take Talia out with us to social events on campus. Because of the workload on the course Amanda has ended up taking the lead role in caring for Talia.
David Ryan had been quite up-front about the fact that I’d see more of my learning team than my family, and we came with our eyes open. This is something that any couple considering the course needs to have realistic expectations about. To sum things up, bringing Talia to Cranfield has meant that she has spent a year (or will have by the time we leave) growing up surrounded by an absolutely international bunch of incredibly bright and creative people. In our view this is incredibly positive.
We rent a 2 bedroom house on campus, and would absolutely recommend this as an option. The flexibility it affords around working hours and team meetings is great.
The house is not so large, and is a bit older, but is perfectly fine, and with double glazing and central heating, comfortable.
We budget around £1000 per month living expenses (excluding rent) for the three of us. So far this has comfortably covered setting up house – to a fairly basic standard admittedly, my books, buying and insuring a cheap car, and all food and sundries. This means we’ve covered a few heavy one offs, and remain on budget.
My colleagues have been great with Talia, our daughter. We bring her along to social events, and people seem to quite genuinely enjoy having her around. Quite a few have children of their own too, and many more nieces and nephews they miss.
Amanda, my wife has been at home with Talia. She’s made some good friends here – the majority of the stay at home parents are women though.
The partner’s view
– Life at Cranfield, for me, has involved many good experiences, along with some challenges along the way.
From week one, when the partners have their own orientation week, the partners begin to get to know each other, are made to feel very welcome and are given some idea from past students/partners as to what life will be like for the MBA’s. This was really helpful. It was made very clear that this is our year as well, and that we are welcome at social events (along with our children) and to visit the School of Management forum any time we wish. We really were given the impression that family is important as well, and that you are all here together.
In the orientation week they also emphasised that the year is what you make it and that is very true. Some of us decided we wanted our children to meet regularly so their social interaction skills continued to develop, so we set up a University playgroup which meets every Friday afternoon and several of us also meet every Tuesday afternoon in someone’s home. The parents enjoy the interaction also!
The challenge with being here as a family though, is that your MBA partner is extremely busy most of the time and some weeks and weekends you do not see much of them. This means that you are not only supporting and encouraging your partner through the year, but you are also at times, keeping house and raising your family pretty much on your own. This is obviously do-able as many do it, but it helps to have this in mind when you begin.
Saying all this, the good experiences do outweigh the challenges. We are experiencing life in a completely new country on the other side of the world, we now have many friends from all parts of the globe, we have learnt so much about other cultures, and our 1 1/2 year old daughter is very well adapted, socially. Her life will certainly be less exciting when we move from Cranfield.
JOHN MIOCEVICH (2007 Scholarship Finalist – Australia)
First Week at Cranfield
The first week here has been pretty full on and amazing. First, the MBA group is made up of about 140 people from 36 countries, aged between 25 and 45. Meeting the people and getting to know them has been a fantastic experience in itself.
Working with people from such different backgrounds has been a challenge but also a great learning experience. In our study group we have two Indians, a Romanian, a Nigerian, an Englishman and me.
Everyone in the MBA group has been very friendly though. The first week, orientation, was designed to get us working and playing sport together and telling each other about our home countries and cultures. It has worked very well and our whole stream (one of three groups which the MBA group is broken into) has gelled immediately. I really feel like I’ve made over 40 great friends in the first week. It may be that we are all away from home and out of our comfort zones that we have bonded so quickly.
Life as a Social Organiser
I have been elected one of six ‘Social Organisers’ for the whole MBA group (two from each stream) – its our job to organise parties, social events, outgoings, drinks, etc for everyone to ensure that the year is not just about study and that we all have fun as well. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and the experience of working with the other 5 who are all very switched on. Being an organiser and a contact point is also a great way to get to know the people in the group and the faculty. I’m not sure how I am going to handle the pace of work, managing events and late nights required in the role on top of the study course. I’m pretty tired after one week but it is great fun being involved.
The problem here is that everyone is smart, capable, driven and used to being in charge so working in groups is sometimes difficult. It’s very much a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
The accommodation here is OK – a small very basic one bed room with ensuite. Nothing too flash but nice and clean enough. The food available here is subsidised so its not too expensive. Having said that I think I will lose weight while I am here. We are so busy its been easy for a day to go by without eating.
It has’nt all been work though. On Saturday Sarah, the other Aussie, and I watched the game at the campus pub with a bunch of poms..and don’t think we didn’t get some stick about it afterward. When NZ lost to France the French guys rubbed it in too – not sure how that works but anyway!
Well, thats about all I have time for at the moment. Its Sunday night and I have a thousand things to do.
The Unofficial (uncut & unedited) version
- MBA Rankings
- Life at Cranfield
- Life after Cranfield
- Interview with John McFarlane (MBA 1975) | May 2007
- Todd Myers (2010 Scholar) talks about life at Cranfield with a family
- Frequently Asked Questions