Cornell Johnson, MBA

Rankings | Class Profile | Employment Report | Sample Essays | Interview Questions


Johnson’s small and close-knit community is a hallmark of its MBA experience. The school boasts a wide-ranging portfolio of degree paths including: A Two-Year MBA in Ithaca; A One-Year MBA in Ithaca; and a new One-Year MBA at Cornell NYC Tech; the Cornell Executive MBA in Metro NYC; and the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA.

After a two-year review and a 30% plunge in applications to its MBA program in 2014-2015, the school rolled out to the Class of 2016 a new curriculum for its two-year MBA program. It’s the first major update to Cornell’s MBA experience in seven years, and the revamped program places greater emphasis on collaboration, leadership, and analytical skills to better prepare students for a technology-driven global business environment.

Good Facts:

  • 84% class had offers by the time of graduation. Thats a really good number for someone looking from a job safety perspective before leaving college. 94% at 3 months after graduation is also better than most US schools.
  • Even better 92% placement in US and Only 3% in Asia, so i guess atleast the indian candidates don’t need to worry as of now about returning home:). 62% of it was facilitated by the school itself. So not too much sweating in terms of networking as well.
  • Coming down to spilts between industry and functions, Financial services is the largest segment. No doubt about that, something Cornell is more know for with close to 33% of class going into finance related sector and functions.
  • Consulting follows in closely at second number at 25% with a much higher avg salary of 130K as compared to 120K for finance sector.
  • Interesting thing to note is that Cornell does not have much of a placement in Tech industry with only 12% of the batch going in. Consumer products 6% and Manufacturing 6%. So after consulting and Finance everything pretty much flatters out to small small numbers.
  • Where as function wise General management 22% and marketing 11% makes a decent case for someone looking into typical product management roles post MBA from Cornell.
  • Avg GMAT is only 700 with 5 years of avg exp for the class. 34% of the class was with international origin so that’s on the higher side of international % when it comes to US schools.

Not so good facts:

  • With an yearly estimated expense of $ 90K (Tuition + Living) Cornell will set you back by a good 1.2 Crore INR.


Financial times
The Economist
US News ranking



Round 1: 05 October 2017

Round 2: 15 November 2017

Round3: 10 January 2018

Round 4: 05 April 2018

Decision 1: 15 November 2017

Decision 2: 10 January 2018

Decision 3: 15 March 2018

Decision 4: 01 May 2018


Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management is a flexible MBA program housed within an Ivy League campus. Cornell Johnson offers multiple full-time options, including a one-year MBA, executive programs and a tech-focused program. Whatever your goals and background Cornell has a program that can help you achieve your goals. In terms of culture, Cornell has a close-knit community, which is facilitated by a small class size. Cornell also has a dedicated office of diversity and inclusion, which shows dedication to a diverse community.

When approaching this set of Cornell essays it will be useful to set your application strategy before you start working. Identify the program you are most interested in and do substantial school research. Then examine your background and goals to see what is most important to explain as part of your story.

Next, add the layer of personal background and experiences – consider what makes you truly unique. Finally, make sure you have solid academics, work experience and extracurriculars covered in your essays, resume or recommendations. If you identify any holes in your profile or story, take the time to fill them prior to starting your application and explain anything necessary in the optional essay.

Short Essays 

Use this short answer question to succinctly share your short and long term goals. If invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further and should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.

A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:

This short answer question is succinct and covers most of the relevant career goals questions an MBA program would have. Make sure that your answers are logical in the context of your overall application and are mirrored by your recommenders. Your resume should show any transferable skills you may need to accomplish your goals, and you can get more into how Johnson will assist your aspirations in the essays below.

Essay 1 –

At Cornell we value, students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson. Please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer.

The Cornell Johnson admissions committee advises you to use this “to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Whether during the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve.

To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff. You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on campus or off campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.”

The first step in answering this question is to do your research. Ideally you will have an opportunity to either visit Johnson or to attend an admissions event in your city, or, as Johnson suggests, connect via phone or email. Another way to find a personal connection is to reach out friends, family and work colleagues to see if anyone knows a current or future member of the Johnson community.

As you prepare for conversations to learn more about Cornell Johnson, think about programs, extracurricular activities and the informal ways that students might interact. Johnson offers groups for interests ranging from cooking to ice hockey, and has professional clubs for every possible career path. Those formal groups or connecting in a classroom or party may be ways you make connections at Johnson.

Once you have identified opportunities for you to contribute to campus life at Johnson, ideally you support your story with evidence from your past experiences. For example, if you want to bring new speakers to the Johnson Marketing Association because you have contributed to your young professionals group at work, explain that you have successfully organized events featuring major speakers for a large group of people and can bring that skill to create impact for your peers at Johnson.


You are the author of your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style.

Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.
Maximum file size is 5 MB.

If you choose to submit a written Table of Contents, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 5 minutes.

This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. Think about highlighting areas you may not have been able to touch in the previous essays, and demonstrate your unique personal attributes or community involvement.

If you have a consistent theme of involvement in a charity or activity this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why you became involved and what you have done over the years.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there pivotal experiences with your friends, family, hobbies or interests that led you to become the person you are today?

This essay can be delivered in any of the media specified above (slide presentation, website, digital portfolio, YouTube) and you should tailor the format you use to the message you want to send. Though a creative format can impress the admissions committee, substance is always the most important part of the essay.

Make sure you are highlighting unique, individual qualities that will make the case for admission to Cornell and supplementing with other media when it makes sense to the story.

Essay 3 –

(Optional) This essay is required for applicants seeking re-admission and should call attention to the steps taken to strengthen one’s candidacy. Candidates may also use the optional essay to call attention to items needing clarification or to address any gaps in experience.

This optional essay allows for either an explanation of any weaknesses in your application or additional information that may bolster your application. If you have a poor GPA or GMAT, concerns with your undergraduate record, or were unable to provide a recommendation from a current supervisor, this is the place to offer explanations, not excuses.

Quickly describe the situation and what may have contributed to the issue (illness, family difficulties, etc.) without editorializing. Focus the balance of your essay on looking forward: what have you done in the recent past to demonstrate your skills and intelligence?

If you are a re-applicant this is the ideal place to explain what you have done since your last application to strengthen your case for admission. If you have a new GMAT score or took classes in calculus or statistics you have a solid case for improved academics. A promotion could signal career development and leadership.

Even if you don’t have a clear-cut or quantitative update to describe you can use this space to explain how you have improved your thinking, career goals, or fit with Cornell.


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