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presents

mbaMissions Insiders Guide


Samuel Curtis Johnson
Graduate School of
Management
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

20162017
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4
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Introduction

After more than a decade helping MBA applicants Over the past six years, Poets&Quants has become

get into top business schools, we have learned what the foremost authority on the top business schools.

can compel an admissions committee to send that Our mission has always been to help young profes-

coveted letter of acceptance. Selecting the right MBA sionals with one of the most importantand po-

program for your needs and developing a true un- tentially most expensivedecisions of their lives:

derstanding of and familiarity with that program are whether to pursue an MBA.

crucial in crafting a successful application. We have

therefore invested hundreds of hours into research- This Insiders Guide is part of a new editorial part-

ing and examining the leading business schoolsin- nership between Poets&Quants and mbaMission,

cluding speaking with students, alumni, and other the worlds leading MBA admissions consulting firm.

representativesto construct these guides, with the We closely evaluated all such guides currently on the

express goal of helping applicants like you make in- market, and I am confident that you will not find a

formed decisions about this important step in your more thorough analysis of an MBA program than

education and career. mbaMissions. These in-depth reports are well re-

searched and well written, offering the detail and

We hope you enjoy this guide and encourage you to examination applicants need to really understand

visit us at www.mbamission.com for complete and a schools culture, offerings, and outcomes. We are

detailed analysis of the leading schools essay ques- thrilled to offer these guides to our readers for free,

tions, weekly essay-writing tips, MBA news and trends, thanks to our new partnership.

and other valuable free information and resources.

And for any advice you may need on applying to busi- Moreover, the guides are a great complement to the

ness school, please contact us for a free 30-minute daily coverage of MBA news, students, programs,

consultation. Our consultants are extensively trained and admissions practices on PoetsandQuants.com.

to help applicants present themselves in the most in- We hope you will visit our site often to stay informed

teresting and compelling way and take advantage of about the programs that interest you and the one you

every oppor-tunity that might increase their chances ultimately attend. We will continue to provide the

of being admitted to their target MBA program. most relevant and current resources on the MBA world

to help you make the best possible decisions on your

Jeremy Shinewald path from school selection to career advancement.

info@mbamission.com

www.mbamission.com I wish you the best of luck on your journey to what will

646-485-8844 undoubtedly be a transformational experience.

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John A. Byrne

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5
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
The following guides are also available from mbaMission (online at https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/

guides), and more are being added regularly:

Admissions Guides
mbaMission Complete Start-to-Finish Admissions Guide

mbaMission Brainstorming Guide

mbaMission Essay Writing Guide

mbaMission Fundamentals of an MBA Candidacy Guide

mbaMission Interview Guide

mbaMission Letters of Recommendation Guide

mbaMission Long-Term Planning Guide

mbaMission Optional Essays Guide

mbaMission Personal Statement Guide *free*

mbaMission Resume Guide

mbaMission Selecting Your Target MBA Program E-Book *free*

mbaMission Social Media Primer *free*

mbaMission Waitlist Guide

Insiders Guides
mbaMission Insiders Guide to Columbia Business School

mbaMission Insiders Guide to Cornell Universitys Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

mbaMission Insiders Guide to Duke Universitys Fuqua School of Business

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley

mbaMission Insiders Guide to Harvard Business School

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the MIT Sloan School of Management

mbaMission Insiders Guide to New York Universitys Leonard N. Stern School of Business

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the Stanford Graduate School of Business

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the UCLA Anderson School of Management

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the University of Virginias Darden School of Business Administration

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

mbaMission Insiders Guide to the Yale School of Management

6
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Free Interview Primers
mbaMission Chicago Booth School of Business Interview Primer

mbaMission Columbia Business School Interview Primer

mbaMission Dartmouth Tuck Interview Primer

mbaMission Duke Fuqua Interview Primer

mbaMission Haas School of Business Interview Primer

mbaMission Michigan Ross Interview Primer

mbaMission MIT Sloan School of Management Interview Primer

mbaMission Northwestern Kellogg Interview Primer

mbaMission NYU Stern School of Business Interview Primer

mbaMission Stanford GSB Interview Primer

mbaMission Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Interview Primer

mbaMission UCLA Anderson Interview Primer

mbaMission UVA Darden Interview Primer

mbaMission Yale School of Management Interview Primer

7
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Free Resources from mbaMission

In addition to our paid client services, we offer a number of free resources to aspiring MBAs on our Web site. Down-

load one or all three of the following guides at no charge, to help you pinpoint the right school for you, master the

ever-important personal statement essay, and optimize your social media presence before you submit your MBA

applications.

mbaMission Selecting Your Target MBA Program E-Book

mbaMission Personal Statement Guide

mbaMission Social Media Primer

In addition, you will find a number of regular series on our blog that focus on recent happenings in the MBA world,

special offerings and top professors at the leading schools, lesser-known programs that deserve attention, advice

for strengthening your application and other valuable topics:

Monday Morning Essay Tips

Mission Admission

Professor Profiles

Beyond the MBA Classroom

Admissions Myths Destroyed

Friday Factoids

GMAT Impact

What I Learned at

B-School Chart of the Week

Diamonds in the Rough

Each application season, we also provide essay question analyses for the top schools and exclusive interviews

with admissions directors.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@mbaMission) and Like us on Facebook for great MBA admissions tips, news,

company updates, and other valuable information.

8
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Table of Contents
10 The MBA Program in Context: Choosing Cornell Johnson
11 Location: Urban Campus Versus College Town
14 Class Size: Smaller Versus Larger
17 Curriculum: Flexible Versus Mandatory Core
20 Pedagogy: Lecture Versus Case Method
22 Academic Specializations/Recruitment Focus: Resources and Employers
24 Alumni Base: Opportunities to Engage
25 Facilities: Shaping the Academic/Social Experience
26 Rankings and Reputation: Important Metrics or Arbitrary Measures?

32 Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management


32 Summary
32 The Dean
33 Professional Specializations
33 Consulting
34 Finance
35 General Management
36 International Business
37 Marketing
37 Technology
38 Notable Professors and Unsung Heroes
38 Social/Community Life
39 Academic Summary
41 Admissions Basics
42 Cornell University (Johnson) Essay Analysis, 20152016
44 B-School Insider Interview: First-Year Student, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management,
Cornell University

50 Appendix: Cornell Johnson Facts and Figures


50 Basics
50 Class Profile (Class of 2017)
51 Employment Statistics (Class of 2015)

53 Bibliography
The MBA Program in Context:
Choosing Cornell Johnson

Over the years, we have met many aspiring MBA students who have tried to You may not find a
identify their target schools and quickly become overwhelmed, wondering, single program that
How are the top MBA programs really different? and How do I choose the meets all your needs
one that is right for me? and preferences, but
you should be able to
Frustrated, some applicants ultimately choose schools based simply on identify ones that fulfill
rankings or the opinions of friends or alumni. Although these inputs have a the factors that are
place in your evaluative process, you should also do the necessary research most important to you.
to find the program that is truly best for your personality and professional

needs. In doing so, you will find significant differences between, for exam-

ple, programs that have a class size in the low 200s and those that have classes of more than 900 students. As you

are undoubtedly already aware, an MBA is a significant investment in the short term and a lifetime connection to

an institution in the long term. We therefore strongly encourage you to take time now to think long and hard about

this decision and thoroughly consider your options. We hope this guide will prove helpful to you in doing just that.

At mbaMission, we advise candidates evaluating their potential target schools to consider the following eight

specific characteristics (in no particular order) that shape MBA programs:

1. Location: Urban Campus Versus College Town

2. Class Size: Smaller Versus Larger

3. Curriculum: Flexible Versus Mandatory Core

4. Pedagogy: Lecture Versus Case Method

5. Academic Specializations/Recruitment Focus: Resources and Employers

6. Alumni Base: Opportunities to Engage

7. Facilities: Shaping the Academic/Social Experience

8. Rankings and Reputation: Important Metrics or Arbitrary Measures?

You will not likely find a single MBA program that meets all your needs and preferences across these eight criteria,

but you should be able to identify schools that fulfill the factors that are most important to you. Although this

guide is intended to familiarize you on a deeper level with this particular school, nothing will prove more valuable

in your decision making than visiting the programs that appeal to you and experiencing them firsthand. Inevitably,

no matter what your research may reveal, some schools will simply click with you, and others will not.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Note: The authors and editors at mbaMission have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the

information included in this guide. However, some discrepancies may exist or develop over time between what is

presented here and what appears in the schools official materials, as well as what may be offered by other content

providers in print or online. For the most up-to-date information, always check with your target school directly. The

opinions expressed by the people interviewed are those of the attributed individuals only and may not necessarily

represent the opinion of mbaMission or any of its affiliates.

We also wish to thank the students, alumni, faculty members, and administrators who gave generously of their time

to provide valuable input for this guide.

1. Location: Urban Campus Versus College Town

Pursuing an MBA can be quite intense, and the environment and community The environment
surrounding the campus can profoundly affect and even shape your MBA and community
experience. For example, imagine stepping out of a class at New York Univer- surrounding your
sitys (NYUs) Stern School of Business and into the energetic bustle of New chosen school can
York Citys West Village. Now imagine walking outside after a course at the profoundly affect and
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and being surrounded by the tranquil- shape your MBA
ity and natural beauty of New Hampshires Upper Valley. Neither scenario is experience.
necessarily better than the other, but one might appeal to you more.

An urban campus can undoubtedly offer social and cultural opportunities that a college town simply cannot match.

This is not to suggest, however, that college towns are devoid of cultureindeed, intense intellectual and cultural

programs exist in college towns precisely because the academic institution is at the core of the community.

While schools in college towns tout their close-knit atmosphere and the tight bonds classmates form in such a

setting, this environment can be welcoming for some students and overwhelming for others. In contrast, urban

campuses are more decentralized, with students often living in various parts of a city and even in the surrounding

suburbs. Someone who has a greater need for privacy or personal space might therefore prefer an urban environ-

ment. In addition, in major urban centers, some studentsparticularly those who lived in the city before enrolling

Urban Campus Schools Urban/College Hybrid Schools College Town Schools

Chicago Booth Northwestern Kellogg Cornell Johnson


Columbia Business School Stanford GSB Dartmouth Tuck
Harvard Business School UC Berkeley Haas Duke Fuqua
MIT Sloan Yale SOM Michigan Ross
NYU Stern UVA Darden
UCLA Anderson
UPenn Wharton

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
in business schoolmay already have well-developed social groups, and this scenario may again be better for

those who find an academically and socially all-encompassing environment less attractive.

One aspect of the MBA experience that candidates often fail to consider when evaluating their school options is

weather. Although factoring climate into your school choice may initially seem superficial, if you know you cannot

comfortably manage frigid conditions or soaring temperatures, certain programs should be stricken from your

list. We encounter many applicants each year who wisely stave off a potentially miserable experience by choosing

to not apply to certain schools in locations they just do not feel are livable for them.

In addition, housing costs are one expense that many applicants do not stop to consider before choosing a school

to target. By researching real estate prices at the top programs, we found that the cost differential between rent-

ing a one-bedroom apartment in a Midwestern college town and renting one in New York City, for example, can

be quite significantadding up to tens of thousands of dollars on a cumulative basis across two years. This is an

important factor to include as you weigh your options and calculate your projected budget.

In summary, a college town can be appealing for some candidates because its smaller size tends to create strong

bonds within the business schools community, though for others, the lack of privacy could be undesired or over-

whelming. Furthermore, some find a slower pace of life calming and comfortable, whereas others crave the energy

and bustle of a city. If you strongly prefer one or the other, you should be able to quickly eliminate certain schools

from your list.

Average Monthly Rent for a One-Bedroom Apartment

NYU Stern New York, NY $3,508 within .06 mile radius of campus

Columbia Business School New York, NY $2,399 within .20 mile radius of campus

Stanford GSB Stanford, CA $2,396 within .88 mile radius of campus

MIT Sloan Cambridge, MA $2,231 within .34 mile radius of campus

Harvard Business School Cambridge, MA $2,220 within .16 mile radius of campus

UCLA Anderson Los Angeles, CA $1,629 within .39 mile radius of campus

Chicago Booth Chicago, IL $1,612 within .17 mile radius of campus

UC Berkeley Haas Berkeley, CA $1,303 within .34 mile radius of campus

UPenn Wharton Philadelphia, PA $1,173 within .31 mile radius of campus

Northwestern Kellogg Evanston, IL $1,138 within .88 mile radius of campus

Michigan Ross Ann Arbor, MI $1,126 within .14 mile radius of campus

Yale SOM New Haven, CT $1,107 within .18 mile radius of campus

Dartmouth Tuck Hanover, NH $1,013 within 1.54 mile radius of campus

Cornell Johnson Ithaca, NY $888 within .20 mile radius of campus

UVA Darden Charlottesville, VA $844 within .67 mile radius of campus

Duke Fuqua Durham, NC $686 within .72 mile radius of campus

According to Rentometer.com, accessed May 2016.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Ithaca, New York, is gorges, as the bumper sticker says. Recently named by the American Institute for

Economic Research as the best college town in the United States and by 24/7 Wall St. as one of the ten best

cities in the country for millennials, Ithaca appears to have much to recommend it. Boasting a population

of 100,000 in the greater metro area, the city can claim urban delights from fine dining to a vibrant arts and

entertainment scene. Moreover, the area offers significant natural beauty. The aforementioned gorges are

a popular sight to behold, as are Ithacas many waterfalls. This corner of New Yorks Finger Lakes Region

draws urbanites from New York City, Syracuse, and Boston for hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and exploring.

Students from all over the world will likely find the Ithaca Commons charming. This four-block pedestrian

mall is a sliver of big-city living, with more than 100 shops, top restaurantsincluding the well-known veg-

etarian eatery Moosewood Restaurantand numerous street vendors and entertainers. And according to

the Johnson Web site, Ithaca bests even New York City for the number of restaurants per capita.

Even Ithacas bars seem to reflect the dual nature of the city. Rulloffs on College Avenue is a small-town

restaurant by day, but at night, it morphs into a city bar where Johnson students hang out with friends and

classmates. Another reportedly popular spot is the Nines, where one can grab a fresh slice of pizza and lis-

ten to live music. Manhattanites concerned they may miss the Meatpacking District should fear not: housed

beneath Mehaks Restaurant, Level B has a swank setting and a professional staff pouring cocktails.

Johnson students generally live in apartments and houses near campus. Although Johnson offers some

on-campus graduate housing, the best bet seems to be renting a place off campus. The Collegetown neigh-

borhood is a short walk to campus, but some students with whom we spoke complained about density (in

the form of limited parking space) and noise (in the form of undergraduates). According to a 2015 student

survey available on the schools Web site, titled Destination Johnson Guide to Ithaca Housing, the larg-

est concentration of Johnson students24% of respondentscan be found at apartment complex Colleg-

etown Terrace. Rent, which includes most utilities, at Collegetown Terrace ranges from $1,380 to $1,400

for a studio to between $2,760 and $3,000 for a three-bedroom apartment. We learned that East Hill and

Belle Sherman are neighborhoods just east of Collegetown that offer relative quiet without adding much

to the walk to campus. The Summerhill Townhouses, located in East Hill, rent for $1,390 to $1,600 for a two-

bedroom and from $1,750 to $2,000 for a three-bedroom. The housing survey notes that renting private

homeseither alone or in a groupis very common within the Ithaca housing market, but those hoping to

stay closer to campus tend to opt for newer apartment complexes.

A first year with whom we spoke assessed the general feel of Ithaca by saying, The town is very small, but

this unique environment actually creates a really good sense of community for business students.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
2. Class Size: Smaller Versus Larger

Another element that affects the character of a schools MBA experience is class size. You might want to reflect on

your high school, college, and work environments to help you determine whether you would be more comfortable in

a larger class or a smaller oneor whether this is even a consideration for you at all.

Students at smaller schools (which we define as having approximately 350 Reflect on your past
students or fewer per class) tend to interact with most of their peers and academic and work
professors at some point during the typical two-year MBA period. Thus, the environments to
smaller schools are generally considered more knowable, and their commu- determine whether
nities tend to be quite closely knit. Also, consider that assuming a leadership you would be more
position is easier in a smaller environment, because, for example, the Finance comfortable in a larger
Club may have only one president at both a small school and a large school, or smaller classor
but competition for such a position would obviously be greater in the larger whether this is a
program. consideration for you
at all.
Some individuals might prefer to be at a larger school where they can better

maintain their anonymity if they so choose. A student at a school with close

to 900 people or more in each class will not likely get to know each and every one of his/her classmates by the end

of the program, and some people might prefer this. Further, advocates of larger classes tout the advantage of being

able to interact with more people during ones MBA ex-

perienceand to thereby develop a broader and more Class Size

robust network of peers. Note that many schools di- 900 to 1,000 Harvard Business School

vide students into smaller groupscalled sections, 800 to 900 UPenn Wharton
clusters, cohorts, or even oceansin which ap- 700 to 800 Columbia Business School1
proximately 6090 students take certain classes to- 500 to 600 Chicago Booth
gether, and this approach can help foster a stronger 400 to 500 Northwestern Kellogg
sense of community within the larger programs. Duke Fuqua
Michigan Ross
Stanford GSB
Johnsons traditional two-year MBA program NYU Stern
MIT Sloan
is relatively small, with the typical incoming
300 to 400 UCLA Anderson
class for this program numbers numbering
UVA Darden
just under 300 students. The schools one- Yale SOM
year program graduates approximately 100 200 to 300 Dartmouth Tuck
students each year. Still other students pur- Cornell Johnson
UC Berkeley Haas
sue the Cornell Tech MBA in Manhattan, and

the schools overall numbers are expected to Schools are listed in order from largest class to smallest within

each category.

1
Includes J-Term students

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Year-Over-Year Class Profile Data: Cornell Johnson Class of 2017 Class of 2016 Class of 2015

Number Enrolled 274 284 279

Median GMAT 700 700 700

Median GPA 3.37 3.34 3.30

Average Years Worked 5 4.7 5.0

Women 26% 28% 30%

Underrepresented Minorities1 10% 14% 12%

Minorities 26% 27% 34%

Countries Represented 28 33 31

International Origin 35% 30% 28%

U.S. Military 7% 7% 5%

1
Black/African American, Native American, and Hispanic American

School Women International Minorities

Chicago Booth 42% 34% 23%1

Columbia Business School 36% 42% 35%1

Cornell Johnson 26% 35% 26%

Dartmouth Tuck 42% 32% 20%1

Duke Fuqua2 35% 40% 21%

Harvard Business School 41% 34% 25%1

Michigan Ross 32% 35% 25%

MIT Sloan 41% 38% NA

Northwestern Kellogg 43% 40% 23%1

NYU Stern 36% 37%4 26%

Stanford GSB 40% 40% 3,4


19%1

UC Berkeley Haas 41% 40% 36%1

UCLA Anderson 30% 33% 27%

UPenn Wharton 43% 32% 30%1

UVA Darden 35% 38% 17%1

Yale SOM 40% 40% 22%1

Bolding indicates highest figure in each category.

1
Specified as U.S. minorities.

2
Fuqua had released no official figures for the Class of 2017 by the publication of this guide but offers statistics on its site to represent a

typical class.

3
Includes permanent residents.

4
Includes dual citizens.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Most Common Undergraduate Major for Incoming Students (Class of 2017)

Chicago Booth Business 32%

Columbia Business School Social Science 38%

Cornell Johnson NA NA

Dartmouth Tuck Humanities, Social Science, Economics 53%

Duke Fuqua1 Engineering/Natural Sciences 29%

Harvard Business School Economics and Business 43%

Michigan Ross Humanities 40%

MIT Sloan Engineering 33%

Northwestern Kellogg Economics/Business 40%

NYU Stern Business and Commerce 23%

Stanford GSB Humanities or Social Sciences 48%

UC Berkeley Haas Business 26%

UCLA Anderson Engineering 23%

UPenn Wharton Humanities 42%

UVA Darden NA NA

Yale SOM Humanities and Social Sciences 31.7%

1
Fuqua had released no official figures for the Class of 2017 by the publication of this guide but offers statistics on its site to represent a

typical class.

swell further following the advent of the Cornell-Tsinghua MBA/FMBA program in China (the first class

matriculated in May 2015).

Johnsons environment is a relatively intimate one, and this can offer a certain academic advantage. Larger

schools tend to use the division of students into sections as a way of forging intimacy among classmates,

but Johnson appears unburdened by such concerns. Beginning with two weeks of orientation activities and

culminating in breadth/depth electives, students come to know one another through the natural course

of the program.

In a comment on Bloomberg Businessweeks most recent profile of the school, a recent graduate noted that

Johnson is a hugely collaborative community. Similarly, a first-year student we interviewed described

the Johnson community as definitely close-knit, and added that this creates a strong sense of commu-

nity, saying, Everyone knows everyone and really cares about each other.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
3. Curriculum: Flexible Versus Mandatory Core

Many business schools have a core curriculuma standard series of cours- The rigidity or
es that all students must take. However, these core requirements can vary flexibility of a schools
tremendously from one program to the next. For example, one school may first-year curriculum
teach its required curriculum for the entire first year, meaning that students affects students
will not take any elective courses until their second year, whereas another education and
MBA program may stipulate only one or two required courses. socialization.

The rigidity or flexibility of a schools required curriculum affects students

education and socialization. Regardless of their professional experience, students at a school with a rigid core

curriculum must all take the same classes. At some schools, for example, even CPAs must take the required foun-

dational accounting course, whereas at others, students can waive selected classes if they can prove a certain

level of proficiency. Again, both approaches have pros and cons, and what those are depends on your perspective.

Proponents of a rigid core curriculum would argue that academics understand what skills students need to be-

come true managers and that when students overspecialize in one area, their overall business education can

ultimately suffer. A significant body of academic writing has been devoted to critiquing programs that give stu-

dents a narrow view of business, notably Henry Mintzbergs Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice

of Managing and Management Development (Berrett-Koehler, 2004) and Rakesh Khuranas From Higher Aims to

Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management

as a Profession (Princeton University Press, 2007).

Advocates of the core curriculum approach would also argue that having all students take the same classes cre-

ates a common language and discussion among the classmates because of the shared experience. In addition,

proponents contend that a rigid core curriculum facilitates learning, because students who have applicable di-

rect experience bring that knowledge and insight into the classroom and can thereby help teach others. Finally,

schools with mandatory cores generally keep students together in their sections for several months, if not an en-

tire academic year, and students who interact every day in this way ultimately forge strong bonds. This sustained

contact and connection can create

a deep sense of community among Can Waive/ Cannot Waive/


Test Out of Classes Test Out of Classes
the students.
Chicago Booth Cornell Johnson
Columbia Harvard Business School
In contrast, those who would ar- Dartmouth Tuck MIT Sloan
gue in favor of a more flexible cur- Duke Fuqua Stanford GSB
Michigan Ross UVA Darden
riculum feel that students benefit Northwestern Kellogg Yale SOM
from the opportunity to specialize NYU Stern
UC Berkeley Haas
immediatelythat time is short,
UCLA Anderson
and students need power and UPenn Wharton

17
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
choice in preparing for their desired careers. So if, for example, a student intended to enter the world of finance,

an advocate of flexibility would argue that the student should be able to study finance in depth throughout the

MBA program, possibly even from day one, so as to gain as much experience as possible in this areaespecially

before interviewing for a summer internship. Furthermore, proponents for flexible curricula caution that expe-

rienced students could end up wasting hours taking courses in subjects in which they already have expertise.

Finally, they would assert that a flexible schedule allows students the opportunity to meet a greater number and

wider variety of their classmates.

The schools two-year program provides students the opportunity to explore a variety of interests. Over a

span of 21 monthsincluding a summer internship between the first and second yearsJohnson students

study a range of subjects. The focus is on the general development of leadership and management exper-

tise, and Johnson distills this into three principles, presented on the programs Web site:

1. A foundation in all the key functional areas of business

2. Strong analytical and decision-making skills

3. A high degree of flexibility in tailoring individual curricula

In the fall of the first year, students take the following mandatory core courses:

Critical and Strategic Thinking

Financial Accounting

Leading Teams

Managerial Finance

Marketing Management

Microeconomics for Management

Strategy

In the spring, students must choose to pursue either an existing immersion program or a customized pro-

gram. Both options also require the completion of Managing Operations and Data Analytics and Model-

ing. Depending on a students choice of immersion, other classes may also be available during the spring

semester.

The immersion program is an intensive, hands-on semester involving both course work and fieldwork. Stu-

dents may choose one of the following immersions:

Capital Markets and Asset Management

Digital Technology

Investment Banking

Managerial Finance

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Semester in Strategic Operations

Strategic Marketing

Sustainable Global Enterprise

Or, if a student finds none of the proffered immersion fields a good match, he/she can customize a program.

Examples of past customized programs include global business, health care, human resource management,

technology management, and hospitality. A combination of electives, site visits, and live cases brings stu-

dents as up-to-speed in the field of their choice as is possible in mere months. A Johnson second year told

mbaMission, The bankers and the CPG [consumer packaged goods] marketers swear by their immersions

since they provide a lot of very topical practice in the sorts of things theyll be doing in their jobs.

Students in the one-year program also participate in this process. They complete the bulk of their core

coursework by the end of the fall semester, and in the spring, they undertake a truncated version of the

immersion program, choosing from Managerial Finance, Strategic Marketing, and Sustainable Global

Enterprise.

In addition to the immersion program, students have the option of choosing a concentration for their stud-

ies. The concentrations are divided into five breadth options and seven depth options, and students

can choose up to two but are not required to choose any. We believe you should focus in a few specific

areas, but also take a broad set of courses during your second year to position yourself for both immediate

as well as long-term success. This means you will need to think about whats right for youwhich might not

be a concentration at all, the schools Web site states. The concentrations are as follows:

Breadth Concentrations:

Consulting

Entrepreneurship

Leadership and Ethics

Global Business Management

Sustainable Global Enterprise

Depth Concentrations:

Corporate Finance

Financial Investing

Financial Analysis

Marketing Analytics

Marketing Management

Private Equity

Strategy

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
4. Pedagogy: Lecture Versus Case Method

Students will likely encounter multiple styles of learning while in business Students will
schoolincluding participating in simulations, listening to guest speakers, encounter many
and partaking in hands-on projectsbut the two most common MBA learn- different styles of
ing styles are case method and lecture. learning during their
time at business
Pioneered by HBS, the case method, or case-based learning, requires stu- school, but the two
dents to read the story (called a case) of either a hypothetical or a real most common are case
protagonist who is facing a managerial dilemma. As the student reads, he/ method and lecture.
she explores the protagonists dilemma and has access to various quantita-

tive and qualitative data points meant to facilitate further analysis. (Cases

can vary in length but are typically 1020 pages long.) After reading and studying the entire case, the student

generally understands the profundity of the problem and is typically asked a simple question: What would you

do? In other words, how would the student act or react if he/she were in the protagonists place? What decision(s)

would the student make?

Top Three Teaching Methods

School Case Study Lectures Team Project Experiential Simulation


Learning

Columbia Business School 40% 38% 15%

Dartmouth Tuck 35% 20% 20%

Duke Fuqua 33% 33% 24%

Harvard Business School 80% 10% 5%

Michigan Ross 25% 20% 20%

MIT Sloan 33% 20% 22%

Northwestern Kellogg 30% 28% 25%

NYU Stern 25% 25% 25%

Stanford GSB 40% 20% 15%

UC Berkeley Haas 50% 25% 20%

UCLA Anderson 30% 40% 15%

UPenn Wharton 40% 30% 10%

UVA Darden 75% 10% 15%

Yale SOM 40% 33% 10%

According to each schools Bloomberg Businessweek rankings profile, accessed March 2016 (as of publication of this guide, however, these

data are no longer listed on the Bloomberg Businessweek Web site). Figures were not available for Chicago Booth or Cornell Johnson.

20
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
After completing his/her independent analysis of the case, the student typically meets with the members of his/

her study group or learning team (if the school in question assigns such teams) for further evaluation. Together,

the group/team members explore and critique one anothers ideas and help those students who may have had

difficulty understanding particular aspects of the issue or progressing as far on their own. Often, though not al-

ways, the team will establish a consensus regarding the actions they would take in the protagonists place. Then,

in class, the professor acts as facilitator and manages a discussion of the case. Class discussions can often be-

come quite lively, and the professor will guide students toward resolving the dilemma. Sometimes, the professor

will ultimately reveal the protagonists decision and the subsequent resultsor even bring the actual protagonist

into the classroom to share and discuss the cases progression and outcomes in person.

In short, the case method focuses primarily on the analytical Average GPA of Incoming Students
(Class of 2017)
process and illustrates that the problems presented have no
Stanford GSB 3.75
clear-cut right or wrong responses. For a student to disagree
Harvard Business School 3.66
with the protagonists chosen patheven after it has proved

to be successfulis not unusual. After all, another approach (or UC Berkeley Haas 3.66

even inaction) may have produced an even better result. Yale SOM1 3.63

MIT Sloan 3.6

Note that case-based learning is not specific to one academic Chicago Booth 3.6

discipline. Cases are available in finance, strategy, operations, Northwestern Kellogg 3.6

accounting, marketing, and still other areas. Further, many cases NYU Stern 3.51
are interdisciplinary, meaning that they address more than one Columbia Business School 3.5
area at a time, such as requiring students to think about how a Dartmouth Tuck 3.5
financial decision might affect the operations of a manufactur- UVA Darden 3.5
ing company or the ways in which a marketing decision might in- Cornell Johnson1 3.37
volve significant financial considerations. Importantly, students
Duke Fuqua NA
in case environments are often graded on their contribution
Michigan Ross NA
to the class discussion (measured by the level of ones partici-
UCLA Anderson NA
pation in discussions and analysis, not on the frequency with
UPenn Wharton NA
which one offers correct answers), so the case method is not

for those who are uncomfortable speaking in class. However, it 1


Median GPA listed.

can be incredibly helpful for those who want or need to practice

and build confidence speaking publicly.

Lecture is the method of learning that is familiar to most peoplethe professor stands in front of the class and

explores a theory or event, facilitating discussion and emphasizing and explaining key learning points. Often, stu-

dents have read chapters of a textbook beforehand and have come to class with a foundation in the specific area

to be examined that day. Although the case method gives students a context for a problem, those who favor lec-

ture tend to believe that the case method is too situation specific and therefore prefer a methodical exploration

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
of theory that they feel can be broadly applied across situations. In lecture classes, the professor and his/her re-

search or theory are technically paramount, though students still participate, challenge ideas, and debate issues.

Note that at some schools, professors may alternate between cases and lectures within a single semester of

classes.

The school utilizes different teaching methods, including case study, lectures, and team projects. A second

year told mbaMission, Most classes are lecture based, but we have many in-class discussions and group

assignments. Indeed, all indications are that Johnsons courses are nicely split between lecture and case

method, Cornells environment is small and intimate, and students pride themselves on group learning.

If an aspiring MBA is intent on individual work or removed academic study, Johnson might not be the best

fit. With its plethora of joint enterprises, social learning, group projects, Johnson is a cauldron of business

thinking, and students are expected to add their own special ingredients to the mix. A second year we

interviewed explained, Were not a huge school, and Ithaca is a pretty insular place, so playing well with

others is a high priority for admissions.

5. Academic Specializations/Recruitment Focus: Resources and Employers

Schools brands and reputations develop over time and tend to endure, even when the programs make efforts

to change them. For example, many applicants still feel that Kellogg is only a marketing school and that Chicago

Booth is only for people interested in finance, even though both programs boast strengths in many other areas.

Indeed, this is the exact reason mbaMission started producing these guides in 2008we wanted applicants to see

beyond these superficial market perceptions. Make sure you are not merely accepting stereotypes but are truly

considering the breadth and depth of resources available at each school.

We have dedicated the majority of this guide to exploring the principal pro- Do not merely accept
fessional specializations for which resources are available at this particular stereotypes but truly
school, and we encourage you to fully consider whether the MBA program consider the breadth
meets your personal academic needs by supplementing the information and depth of resources
here with additional context from the schools career services office, by con- available at each
necting with the heads of relevant clubs on campus, and perhaps even by school.
reaching out to alumni in your target industry.

Johnson may likely be best known for its emphasis on consulting, yet the list of firms hiring Johnson MBAs

reveals a much more diverse school. Financial services, marketing, technology, and consumer products are

all popular areas. While McKinsey & Company, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Bain & Company are listed as

22
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
School Top Industry for 2015 Graduates % Entering the Industry

Chicago Booth Financial Services 35.2%

Columbia Business School Financial Services 37.1%

Cornell Johnson Financial Services 34.0%

Dartmouth Tuck Consulting 34.0%

Duke Fuqua Consulting 32.0%

Harvard Business School Financial Services 31.0%

Michigan Ross Consulting 30.9%

MIT Sloan Consulting 32.1%

Northwestern Kellogg Consulting 34.6%

NYU Stern Consulting 29.0%

Stanford GSB Finance 31.0%

UC Berkeley Haas Technology/Telecom 37.8%

UCLA Anderson Technology 31.1%

UPenn Wharton Financial Services 36.9%

UVA Darden Financial Services 30.0%

Yale SOM Consulting 29.3%

major employers of Johnson MBAs in 2015, Amazon.com, Inc., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Merrill Lynch,

and Intel Corporation are as well.

Johnson has students that are seeking a wide variety of careers, a second-year student told mbaMission.

Outside of the consulting and finance immersions, Johnson also offers an operations, sustainable global

enterprise, marketing, and customized options. The school also has a very strong entrepreneur program.

In addition, there are a number students that are seeking dual degrees in labor relations, public adminis-

tration, and law that are seeking employment outside of finance and consulting.

Top Industries: Cornell Johnson 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

Financial Services 34% 30% 30% 40% 32%

Consulting 24% 21% 22% 26% 28%

Technology 16% 14% 12% 7% 12%

Consumer Products 6% 10% 10% 9% 3 11% 3

Biotech, Pharmaceuticals, and Medical Devices 4% 5%1 NP 2 NA NA

Manufacturing 4% 5% 4% NA NA

1
Listed in Johnsons report as Pharmaceuticals.

2
Johnson published no percentage as fewer than three students were reported.

3
Listed in Johnsons report as Consumer Goods and Pharmaceuticals.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Of the 254 members of Johnsons Class of 2015 who were seeking full-time employment after completing

the program, 85% had received a job offer by graduation, and 92% had done so within three months of

graduation. The most popular function for this most recent class was finance (39%), and the most popular

industry was financial services (34%).

6. Alumni Base: Opportunities to Engage

The size and depth of a schools alumni base may be important to you as you

seek to break into a specific field or region/country. Some MBA programs Some schools boast
have had large classes for many years and can therefore boast sizeable sizeable alumni
alumni networks, whereas other schools may have pockets of strength in networks, while
particular parts of the world or in certain industriesor can claim a smaller others have pockets of
but tighter-knit and more dedicated alumni network overall. For example, strength in particular
Dartmouth Tuck has a smaller absolute number of alumni than most top U.S. regions or industries.
schools but has repeatedly been touted as having the highest rate of annual

alumni giving, thanks to its very dedicated graduates.

Although acquiring detailed breakdowns of a schools alumni base is sometimes difficult, you may want to con-

sider whether the school you are targeting has alumni clubs in your chosen professional area (i.e., some schools

have industry-specific alumni groups) or preferred post-MBA location. Furthermore, if you are determined to live

in a particular city/country/region after graduating, then earning your MBA in or near that area, if possible, may

be a good idea, so that you can more easily connect with local alumni while you are in schoolparticularly if you

want to pursue a niche professional area and do not expect to participate in on-grounds recruiting. Of course,

technological developments have greatly facilitated outreach, meaning that alumni are no longer a flight or long

drive away, but are now just a phone call, email, text, or even Skype session away.

The broader Cornell community includes more than 225,000 alumni worldwide, and Johnson is a significant

part of this, boasting close to 14,000 alumni of its own. Johnson graduates participate in more than 40 re-

gional clubs and special interest groups. Domestic iterations can be found in more than two dozen U.S. loca-

tionsfour clubs in California alone. International groups are almost as numerous as domestic ones, from

Mexico City to Milan, the United Kingdom to the United Arab Emirates, and Israel to India. In addition, John-

son alumni can join Korean, Latino, gay and lesbian, black, Native American, and Asian alumni associations.

With namesake H. Fisk Johnson (MBA 84), the CEO and chairman of SC Johnson, as an example, the schools

alumni do not just donate and disengage. This is an active community, one that appears to pull togeth-

er both financially and socially to forge a lasting relationship with both one another and the institution.

Johnsons alumni have a long-standing tradition called the Predictions Dinner, in which graduates from the

school gather annually in different locations around the world for an evening of networking and socializing.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Alumni Base

Schools are listed in order from largest alumni base to smallest within each category.

NYU Stern, UPenn Wharton, Harvard Business School 75,000 to 100,000

Northwestern Kellogg 50,000 to 75,000

Chicago Booth, Michigan Ross, Columbia


25,000 to 50,000
UC Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, Stanford GSB

MIT Sloan, Duke Fuqua


10,000 to 25,000
UVA Darden, Cornell Johnson

Tuck 10,000
Yale SOM or fewer

0 25,000 50,000 75,000 100,000

Note: Some schools include MBA program graduates only in their alumni total; other schools may also include alumni from their part-time,

executive, doctoral, and/or other programs, so totals may not be directly comparable.

The events name originates from the tradition of asking participants to predict the state of the U.S. econo-

my in years to followat the end of each dinner, those who predicted correctly the previous year receive an

award! The dinners, which typically take place early in the year and to which a number of recently accepted

students are often invited, are hosted in 25 cities, including Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and London. Each

event features a notable alumni speakerin 2016, they included the founder of Priceline.com, the deputy

commissioner and chief operating officer of the National Basketball Association, and the co-founders of

Wayfair.com.

7. Facilities: Shaping the Academic/Social Experience

When contemplating an MBA program, do not overlook the schools facilities. Renovations, upgrades, and new

construction are all regular occurrences on school campuses these days, as some programs increase their square

footage while others unify disparate areas or refresh existing spaces. Some schools boast on-campus housing or

elite athletic facilities, others have established new green spaces and meeting rooms, and still others have refur-

bished or added classrooms, theaters, libraries, and other such resources. Keep in mind, though, that just because

a school has not updated or added to its facilities in recent years, this does not mean that its offerings are out-

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
dated or subpar; the lack of updates may simply be because none have been If a school has not
needed or the school has invested in other aspects of its program instead. A made updates to its
campus visit is always the best way to evaluate firsthand what a school has to facilities in recent
offer, but we nonetheless dedicate this space to a discussion of the facilities years, perhaps none
available at this particular program. were needed or the
school has invested
Johnsons Sage Hall, named after Ithaca businessman Henry W. Sage, in other aspects of its
who financed the erection of the building in 1875, was originally a program instead.
womens dormitory. In April 1996, Cornell undertook an ambitious

plan to convert the building into the primary home of the Johnson

Graduate School of Management. At a cost of $38M, the structures iconic spire was rebuilt and the inner

courtyard transformed into a glass atrium reminiscent of the main exhibition hall at Oxford University

Museum. Observed a first-year student with whom we spoke, The whole Cornell campus is beautiful, and

Sage, besides this quality, is very well equipped and convenient for the class size. A second year we in-

terviewed indicated that Cornell pays special attention to ensuring that Sage remains progressive. The

building itself has a long history, but the equipment inside is always being renewed. As an example, there

is now a big new common study area on the third floor with modular furniture. Very high-tech style.

Cornell Tech is currently located in Googles landmark building in Manhattan. By 2017, however, students

will begin moving into a campus on Roosevelt Island. Located on the historic East River redoubt, Cornell

Tech will provide housing for 2,000 students and 280 faculty. The 2-million-square-foot facility will be

centered on a pedestrian walkway, bounded by river walks, enlivened by a public caf and meeting area,

and rooted by a Corporate Co-Location Building that will provide space for firms on campus. The academic

buildings will be cutting-edge and designed for the information age, asserts the programs Web site, with

classrooms possessing state-of-the-art technology and high-level academic amenities.

8. Rankings and Reputation: Important Metrics or Arbitrary Measures?

MBA rankings should always be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism, given that they can fluctuate dramati-

cally from year to year and from publication to publication. For example, if you had relied on the Financial Times

rankings to choose the Yale School of Management as your business school in 2011 because of the programs posi-

tion at number seven, you probably would have been disappointed to see the school then slide down to number 12

just one year later before rebounding to number nine the following year. Similarly, if you had selected UC-Berkeley

Haas in 2004, when it was number 17 in Bloomberg Businessweeks ranking, you would have been delighted to see

the program rise to number eight in 2010 before it slipped out of the top ten again to number 13 in 2012.

Can an MBA programwhich is made up of so many moving partsreally change so much in just one or two years?

Furthermore, how can one reconcile that UVA Darden is in the second position (among U.S. programs) in The Econ-

26
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
omists rankings but is 11th in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, 12th The various surveys
in the Bloomberg Businessweek survey, and 14th in the Financial Times rat- should and will
ingsall at the same time? Or that Stanford GSB holds the 11th position on provide some context
The Economists list but is seventh in the Bloomberg Businessweek rankings, for your decision, but
third in the Financial Times survey, and second in the U.S. News rankings? Or resist the temptation to
that UPenn Wharton is number two in the Financial Times rankings, number choose a school based
four according to U.S. News, and number five in Bloomberg Businessweek but on rankings alone.
is only number eight in The Economists survey?

An MBA ranking that appears to be gaining in popularity, according to feedback we have received from candidates

in recent years, is from Poets&Quants, which aggregates what it considers the top five MBA surveys (from Bloom-

berg Businessweek, The Economist, the Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, and Forbes) to create a kind of

composite ranking. Of course, the various surveys should and likely will provide some context for your decision,

but resist the temptation to choose a school based on rankings alone, because rankings may ultimately betray

youpossibly even before you graduate.

One thing to keep in mind, particularly for international students, is that a schools reputation domestically can

be quite different from its reputation abroad. Years ago, mbaMission worked with an international candidate who

was accepted into the MBA programs at Cornell Johnson and Dartmouth Tuck. When this individual shared the

good news with his manager, his manager said, I thought you would have gone to an Ivy League school like Princ-

eton! Of course, Dartmouth and Cornell are in fact Ivy League institutions, and Princeton does not even have an

MBA programthe managers reaction illustrates how possible misconceptions can arise. So, after considering an

MBA programs strengths, you might factor in that some schools have greater brand power in certain parts of the

world, especially if you plan to live and work abroad after you complete your studies.

We advise you to consider your MBA a long-term investment that will pay dividends throughout your life, and such

an investment should be based on more than a one-time ranking. In fact, most MBAs who are five to ten years out

of school are not even aware what their school is now ranked. Perhaps more importantly, if you were to ask one

whether the schools position in the rankings has any effect on his/her career, the response would certainly be an

impassioned No!

U.S. Ranking: Cornell Johnson 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009

Poets&Quants NA NA 14 15 11 11 13 15 NA

U.S. News & World Report 14 16 17 16 16 16 18 17 NA

Bloomberg Businessweek 1 NA NA 16 13 [7] 7 [13] 13 [11]

Financial Times NA 15 15 15 14 13 14 18 17

The Economist NA NA 15 17 11 11 15 19 16

1
Until 2015, Bloomberg Businessweek released rankings every two years (in November), so numbers in brackets represent carryover from

the previous years ranking.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Although Johnson may not have the global brand recognition of Harvard or Wharton, for example, by no

means is it undistinguished. Cornell is an Ivy League university, a designation that wields cachet interna-

tionally. And since at least 2008, Johnson has been rated among the countrys top 20 business schools in

the four most recognized MBA rankings.

The program stands at 16th in the nation, according to the 2015 Bloomberg Businessweek ranking, having

dropped a bit from its 2014 placement at 13th. U.S. News & World Report rated Johnson 14th in the coun-

try in 2017, up slightly from 16th in 2016. In its specialty rankings, U.S. News rated Johnson among the top

25 business schools in the country for management (16, tied with two other schools), marketing (24), and

finance (28).

In 2015, The Economist ranked the program 15th in the United States and 23rd internationally, nearly un-

changed from its placement the previous year at 17th and 23rd, respectively. The Financial Times placed

Johnson at 15th domestically and 31st internationally in its 2016 rankings, domestically identical to

the previous year but down from 28th internationally. In the Princeton Reviews evaluation of 296 MBA

programs in 2015, the publication named Johnson number ten for Most Family Friendly. That same year,

Poets&Quants ranked the program 14th in the country (in a tie with UCLA Anderson), raising it slightly from

15th in 2014.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Poets&Quants (2015)

1 Harvard Business School

2 Stanford GSB

3 Chicago Booth

4 UPenn Wharton

5 Northwestern Kellogg

6 Columbia Business School

7 MIT Sloan

8 UC-Berkeley Haas

9 Dartmouth Tuck

10 Yale SOM

11 Duke Fuqua

12 UVA Darden

13 Michigan Ross

14 UCLA Anderson (tie)

14 Cornell Johnson (tie)

16 NYU Stern

17 UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler

18 UT Austin McCombs

19 Carnegie Mellon Tepper

20 Emory Goizueta

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
U.S. News & World Report (2017) Bloomberg Businessweek (2015)

1 Harvard Business School 1 Harvard Business School

2 Stanford GSB (tie) 2 Chicago Booth

2 Chicago Booth (tie) 3 Northwestern Kellogg

4 UPenn Wharton 4 MIT Sloan

5 MIT Sloan (tie) 5 UPenn Wharton

5 Northwestern Kellogg (tie) 6 Columbia Business School

7 UC-Berkeley Haas 7 Stanford GSB

8 Dartmouth Tuck (tie) 8 Duke Fuqua

8 Yale SOM (tie) 9 UC-Berkeley Haas

10 Columbia Business School 10 Michigan Ross

11 UVA Darden 11 Yale SOM

12 Duke Fuqua (tie) 12 UVA Darden

12 Michigan Ross (tie) 13 UCLA Anderson

14 Cornell Johnson 14 Dartmouth Tuck

15 UCLA Anderson 15 Emory Goizueta

16 UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler (tie) 16 Cornell Johnson

16 UT Austin McCombs (tie) 17 UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler

18 Carnegie Mellon Tepper 18 Carnegie Mellon Tepper

19 Emory Goizueta 19 Rice Jones

20 NYU Stern 20 UW Foster

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Financial Times (2016)1,2 The Economist (2015)1,3

1 Harvard Business School 1 Chicago Booth

2 UPenn Wharton 2 UVA Darden

3 Stanford GSB 3 Dartmouth Tuck

4 Columbia Business School 4 Harvard Business School

5 UC-Berkeley Haas 5 UC-Berkeley Haas

6 Chicago Booth 6 Northwestern Kellogg

7 MIT Sloan 7 UCLA Anderson

8 Northwestern Kellogg 8 UPenn Wharton

9 Yale SOM 9 NYU Stern

10 NYU Stern 10 Columbia Business School

11 Michigan Ross 11 Stanford GSB

12 Duke Fuqua 12 MIT Sloan

13 Dartmouth Tuck 13 Yale SOM

14 UVA Darden 14 Duke Fuqua

15 Cornell Johnson 15 Cornell Johnson

16 Carnegie Mellon Tepper 16 Emory Goizueta

17 UCLA Anderson 17 Michigan Ross

18 UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler 18 IU Kelley

19 Georgetown McDonough 19 Carnegie Mellon Tepper

20 UT Austin McCombs 20 OSU Fisher


1
Excludes international schools and reranks only U.S. schools.

3
The Financial Times ranks Johnson 31 internationally.

4
The Economist ranks Johnson 23 internationally.

31
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Cornell University
Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Summary

Primarily located in Ithaca, New York, and part of one of the largest Ivy League universities, the Johnson Gradu-

ate School of Management has an additional location in Manhattan. Since May 2013, students have been able to

pursue the schools one-year MBA at Googles Chelsea campus. By 2017, Johnson students will move into a $2B

Roosevelt Island campus that was the brainchild of former New York mayor Michael Bloomberga location for

which The New Yorker has already begun using the moniker Silicon Island.

The tech-intensive center will be a joint effort between Cornell University and The TechnionIsrael Institute of

Technology, expanding Johnsons reach into the heart of New York City and to the cutting edge of technological

innovation. Students will be able to study business in the context of technology and innovation and will, accord-

ing to the Cornell Tech Web site, reshape the competitive landscape worldwide. From community integration to

on-campus corporate space, and from state-of-the-art classrooms to a melding of technology, innovation, and

business, Johnson seems to be striving to become the business school.

As Dean Soumitra Dutta told the Financial Times in a 2013 article about Cornell Tech, We can play the technology

card with MIT and Stanford and the New York card with Columbia and NYU. The school appears poised to offer a

collegial atmosphere and a traditional two-year MBA as well as academic innovation and next-generation impact.

Founded nearly 70 years ago, Johnson is a comparatively small business schoolthe typical class size is just under

300whose Web site boasts that the school is, by design, an intense, collaborative communityone in which

relationships are formed quickly and last a lifetime. We choose to remain a small school so that all of our students

and faculty can work closely together. An alumnus quoted as part of Bloomberg Businessweeks most recent pro-

file of the school notes, Theres a real sense of collaboration and mutual respect amongst the classmates. While

Ive learned an immense amount from the courses, I have learned even more from my peers. Johnsons numerous

student clubs, of which more than 120 are listed on the schools Web site, may be a testament to this.

The Dean

In July 2012, Soumitra Dutta entered his current role as dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management,

replacing Joseph Thomas, who stepped down from the position after five years. Dutta, the 11th dean in Johnsons

history, came to the business school from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, where he was the Roland Berger

Chaired Professor of Business and Technology.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Previously a visiting professor at the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the Haas School of

Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and with a long career of working with MBA studentsacceler-

ated and traditional residential candidates as well as executive onesDutta was a practical choice. His expertise

in technology and international concerns framed him as a particularly good match. I am excited by Johnsons

commitment to global perspectives, entrepreneurship, and innovation, declared Dutta in a statement on the pro-

grams Web site. David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University, reinforced the sentiment in a quote included in

the announcement of Duttas hiring, saying, Professor Duttas appointment is a natural fit with Johnsons increas-

ingly global outlook. He has expertise in new and emerging media, he has studied the conditions that promote

innovation, and he has extensive experience on the international stage.

In his years thus far as the business schools dean, Dutta has helped raise more than $350M toward the billion-

dollar adventure that is Cornell Tech. If the project is ultimately a success, Johnson will find itself, according to

a 2013 Financial Times article on the new campus, a catalyst in the regeneration not of a region, but of a whole

citys economy.

Dutta is positioned to realize this ambitious dream, but his feet are reportedly firmly on the ground. As a second-

year student we interviewed noted, Dutta is very accessible. And a first year with whom we spoke echoed this

claim, saying, There are many activities in which he participates and interacts with us [students]. This student

went on to add, We are very happy with him.

A different first year we interviewed had a very similar assessment of Dutta, confirming that the dean invites

students to his home for dinner occasionally, and remarked, Hes around a lot, walking around campus, trying to

talk to people, and hes very, very friendly. ... I see him at a lot of different student events. Hes very accessible,

available, and willing to talk to people.

Professional Specializations

Consulting

In 2015, consulting was the second most popular industry choice for Johnson graduates, claiming a robust 24% of

the class. The school notes on its site that the skills required of a consultant mirror those required of high-level

organization leaders and that the program thereby aims to develop certain capabilities in its MBAs, including

clear and logical communication, a strategic manner of thinking, and the ability to bring order to disordered

environments. In addition, some of Johnsons faculty members hail from consulting backgrounds and can claim

success as turnaround leaders with large firms.

The Johnson Consulting Club works to help aspiring consultants better understand and find their place in the

field as well as to establish valuable relationships with leading consulting groups. To this end, the group offers

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
its members events and resources such as mock interviews, case boot camps, networking receptions, job treks to

such locations as Boston and New York City, guest speakers, and panel discussions.

Remarking that the Consulting Program is embedded throughout Johnson in various channels, a recent Johnson

alumna and former Consulting Club president explained on the schools site that the MBA programs suite of of-

ferings in this study area easily made Johnson her number-one choice for her degree. It helped me succeed in my

internship, she noted, and has positioned me well to crack any future business problems and think like a CEO.

Similarly, a first year we interviewed claimed that choosing Johnson as the program through which to pursue a

career in consulting was actually a no-brainer. She added, My career goal was to work in human capital strategy

or consulting, and Cornell has one of the best industrial and labor relations departments in the world.

Another group based at Johnson for students interested in this field is BR Consulting, a nonprofit, student-run

consulting firm. With a stated mission of provid[ing] performance learning opportunities to students through

high-impact consulting projects serving businesses, nonprofit organizations, and entrepreneurs, BR Consulting

connects with organizations local to Johnson and, through these firms, provides hands-on, real-world opportu-

nities for its members to apply what they have learned thus far in the program. In a past article on the groups

Web site, an alumnus who worked with a titanium manufacturer states, Cases are nice, but this has given me the

opportunity to actually create something that has value in the marketplace. The most valuable part of this has

been ... the project management skills and the opportunity to interface with a client. Similarly, he remarks on the

satisfaction the collaborative opportunity provided, saying, I feel like I am presenting them [the company] with

ideas that they have never thought of before, and that I am making a difference in their business.

EY (Ernst & Young), McKinsey & Company, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Bain & Company, and PricewaterhouseCoopers

(PwC) were some of the top employers of Johnsons 2015 graduates in this industry. And listed among the schools

leading repeat recruiters are such well-known consulting firms as Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, AT Kearney, and

the Boston Consulting Group.

Finance

In 2015, 34% of Johnsons graduates accepted positions in the financial services industry (with an average salary

of $119,600 and an average signing bonus of $40,300), making it the most popular industry. The school boasts 22

faculty members in the study area of finance and 17 in the area of accounting.

Class offerings may be one reason so many Johnson students pursue careers in the specialization. For example,

Emerging Markets Finance, taught by Professor Andrew Karolyi, allows students to explore the kind of financial

decision making that is unique to emerging economies and to understand how opportunity and risk work together

in these markets.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Students aspiring to finance careers can further delve into this field via Johnsons Investment Management Club

(IMC), which provides a forum for the discussion of investment-related topics and opportunities available in in-

vestment management, declares the groups Web page. To this end, the club organizes a number of events and

resources, including a morning call each week during which members posit both large- and small-scale invest-

ment ideas, opportunities to practice stock pitches and to compete in such contests, and workshops. The IMC also

spearheads job treks to both Boston and New York City so that members can learn more about who the big players

in the field are and what kinds of career options may be available.

The Old Ezra Finance Clubreportedly the oldest and largest student group at Johnsonowes its name to one of

the universitys co-founders, the late Ezra Cornell. First-year student members are prepped for possible careers

in finance via seminars, club meetings, weekly roundtable discussions, and mock interviews covering both the

behavioral and technical aspects of interviewing. In addition, Old Ezra members can enjoy the clubs regular social

events, mock interviews and an annual case competition.

With respect to finance functions, the largest percentage of the 2015 class entered investment banking (17%), with

managerial finance being the second most popular choice (6%). Other 2015 graduates accepted functional finance

positions in financial analysis (3%), private equity (3%), buy-side equity research (2%), private wealth management

(2%), and real estate (1%). Listed among the schools top recruiters for 2015 are Citigroup Inc., Bank of America,

JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Credit Suisse Group.

General Management

Of Cornell Johnsons Class of 2015, 7% accepted roles with a general management function (7% in 2014 as well, and

5% in 2013). More than 25 professors are listed as teaching within the management discipline, and dozens of oth-

ers are designated as instructors in leadership, management and organizations, management communications,

management information systems, and operations, technology, and information management. In the fall of 2016

alone, more than 20 different courses are available related to management. Cornell Johnson appears to be set on

educating well-rounded leaders, stating on its Web site that the first principle of its MBA program is The value of

a solid education in all key business functions, including marketing, finance, human resources, and production.

Students who wish to pursue a career in this area or simply learn more about it can look to the General Manage-

ment Association (GMA) at Johnson, whose stated mission is to provide real-world essential resources to its

members to aid in their career development to educate the Johnson community on the many career opportunities

available in general management. The group organizes general meetings throughout the academic year, in addi-

tion to hosting guest speakers and coordinating networking events. The GMA also regularly invites Johnson pro-

fessors to make themed presentations to its members, with topics in 20152016 including The CEO Perspective

and Recruiting Etiquette. In conjunction with Johnsons Womens Management Council, the GMA organized a New

York City career trek in the fall of 2014, allowing participants to visit such companies as Citi and Amex.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
International Business

Via a number of region-specific student clubs, internationally themed courses, and other related resources and

opportunities, Cornell Johnson works to prepare its aspiring MBAs for the global business landscape. Students

can choose to participate, for example, in an international study-trip course. Typically, these classes take stu-

dents to Japan/South Korea in late spring, to Colombia in early spring, and to India during the winter, though addi-

tional trips to other destinations are also offered each year. Students can also choose to spend a semester abroad

at any of Johnsons 30 partner schools in the Americas, Asia and Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

In addition, Johnson offers a joint international degree in conjunction with two schools in Belgium (the Universit

Catholique de Louvain and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), for which students spend one year abroad, ultimately

receiving a degree from both institutions.

Intended for both European and non-European students alike, Johnsons European Club offers various career de-

velopment resources, social events, and cultural education opportunities to fulfill its commitment to increasing

awareness of how Europe has influenced society in America and to highlighting the ongoing effects that the EU has

on global economics and culture, states its Web site. Members can take advantage of cross-cultural seminars, a

European Lecture Series, Johnson Oktoberfest, European Breakfasts featuring signature dishes and customs from

various countries, and an annual springtime celebration of European Heritage Day.

The goal of the Johnson Japan Club is to develop an open network to help deepen the understanding of the Japa-

nese economy, business, culture, job market, language, and genuine cuisine, declares the groups site. Each year,

the organization arranges a number of both professional and social events, from presentations by alumni active

in the Japanese business world to an evening of playing the video game Mario Kart and enjoying Japanese snack

foods. The club joined forces with several other Johnson student groups after the devastating 2011 Japan earth-

quake to raise relief funds via such events as Asia Morning Tea; in the end, the groups combined efforts raised

more than $8,000.

The Greater China Business Club at Johnson caters to students interested in eventually working in China as well

as those who just wish learn more about the country and its culture. The group organizes events such as dinners

with Chinese alumni from prominent companies, a Chinese New Years party, and career treks to the country. The

2015 trek took place in Hong Kong and China, while the 2014 China Career Trek allowed the participating students

to visit such prestigious firms as Johnson & Johnson, Deloitte, and Amazon in the cities of Shanghai and Beijing.

The trip, which had a special focus on consulting and multinational companies, also involved networking events

with alumni in the area, in addition to internship and career networking possibilities.

Multiple other internationally themed clubs are available at Johnson for students wishing to pursue career op-

portunities in specific areas or simply familiarize themselves with cultures other than their own. Among these

organizations are the Korean Business Association, the Latino Business Students Association, the Middle Eastern

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Club, and the South Asian Business Club. Of the schools 2015 graduates, 8% entered positions outside the United

States, with the majority of those (4%) accepting roles in Asia.

Marketing

Johnson has more than a dozen professors in its marketing department, and 15% of both the Class of 2015 and the

Class of 2014 accepted positions with a marketing and product management function. Companies known to hire for

such roles that recruited heavily at Johnson in 2015 include such well-known names as Amazon.com, Inc. and eBay.

Cornell Johnsons Marketing Association aims to help its members prepare for employment within the marketing

fieldin fact, the associations Web site declares that 100% of its first-year members received marketing intern-

ship offers in 2015. The groups offerings include interview preparation, participation in such case competitions as

Kenan Flaglers annual Marketing Case Competition (at the University of North Carolina), and a five-day career trek

to New York City, where students have visited such companies as Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and American Ex-

press. A point of pride for the group appears to be the schools own annual marketing challenge, called the Battle

of the Brandsa two-week marketing plan creation competition for teams of first-year students led by a second-

year advisor. The Marketing Association also organizes a number of opportunities for its members to socialize and

network, such as trivia nights and an annual Super Bowl ad review event.

For marketing, a lot of people want to go to Kellogg, said a first-year student we interviewed, talking about ap-

plicants who are interested in this career path, but you should definitely look at Cornell.

Technology

A full 16% of Johnsons graduates entered positions in the technology industry in 2015,14% did so in 2014, and 12%

in 2013. The establishment of the Cornell Tech MBA program seems to underscore the schools focus on and com-

mitment to this area.

The schools High Tech Club (HTC)reportedly one of the most active and popular student groups at Johnson

offers a community for aspiring MBAs interested in pursuing a career in technology. In addition to job search

resources, mock interviews, and a tech speaker series, the club organizes annual career treks to Seattle, Silicon

Valley, and New York City. On the 2015 and 2014 New York City treks, members visited the offices of such companies

as Uber, Yelp, and Microsoft. Other highlights from the 20152016 academic season included a lunch with a vice

president of Amazon, a mock interview boot camp, and a virtual tech talk with the co-founder of Voxel8.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Notable Professors and Unsung Heroes

General George W. Casey, Jr. (www.johnson.cornell.edu/Faculty-And-Research/Profile?id=gwc65): Recently retired

from the U.S. Army , General George W. Casey, Jr., is now a distinguished senior lecturer of leadership at Johnson.

A leadership expert, General Casey helps students identify the volatile, complex, and ambiguous nature of the

modern world and understand how these characteristics lend themselves to the dynamism of leaders. After four

decades in the military, General Casey knows that leaders are most effective when they are open to change and

growthespecially in their own leadership skills. It is an honor to have the opportunity to learn from you, General

Casey, commented a second year on one of Caseys blog posts, adding, I thoroughly enjoyed the class and am

excited to continue implementing our learnings into my leadership style. Remarked another student commenter,

We get a lot of great instruction from academics here at Johnson, but it is refreshing to learn from such a great

practitioner as General Casey. His class took me beyond theory into application, and it made me consider new

dimensions of leadership I hadnt considered before.

Roni Michaely (www.johnson.cornell.edu/Faculty-And-Research/Profile/id/rm34): The Rudd Family Professor of

Management, Roni Michaely joined Cornell Johnson in 1990 after earning his B.A. and PhD from Tel Aviv Univer-

sity and New York University, respectively. Michaely, who received Cornells Stephen and Margery Russell Distin-

guished Teaching Award in 2007, has published numerous award-winning papers and focuses his research on the

areas of capital markets, valuation, and corporate finance. In addition to teaching at Johnson, Michaely serves

as an associate editor for the Journal of Finance. Describing Michaelys class as very impressive, a first year we

interviewed remarked, Every single person that went to Johnson would talk about this professor . And he is very

goodhes great at teaching, but more than anything, he really, really cares about students learning the material.

Social/Community Life

Diwali Night: In the fall, the schools South Asian Business Club hosts an annual celebration for Diwali, the Indian

festival of lights. The Johnson Diwali Night, funded by Cornell, is open to the entire university community and fea-

tures dancing, food, and stage performances. The Cornell Bhangra, reportedly one of the most famous Bhangra

dance groups in the world, often performs at the event.

Follies: Like many business schools, Cornell Johnson coordinates and presents an annual Follies show, allowing

students to showcase their talentsand have some fun riffing on the MBA experiencevia creative skits and per-

formances. The production typically takes place in May at the State Theater of Ithaca. Highlights in recent years

have included a take on the Jay-Z hit 99 Problems in 2014, appropriately titled 99 Problems (of a Cornell MBA),

and the 2015 skit Types of People at Johnson, which poked fun at business school stereotypes.

Grad Week: As their time at Johnson nears its end, students who are about to graduate each spring are treated to

one last hurraha week of hurrahs, in fact. Ranging from picnics at nearby Stewart Park and bar crawls at local

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
drinking establishments to a masquerade-themed Grad Ball, nearly graduated students are offered a plethora of

events by which to remember their commencement week. The Grad Ball is a formal event, allowing participants to

show off their finest suits and ball gowns.

Sage Socials: Sage Socials are informal gatherings at which Johnsons students and faculty members mingle and

celebrate the end of the academic week. They take place every Thursday afternoon in the Dyson Atrium of Cornell

Universitys famous Sage Hall. The very first Sage Socials were held in the fall of 2007, and their popularity contin-

ues today. Some socials even have special themes; in the winter of 2016, for example, one concentrated on Black

History Month and another featured a charity auction. A military-themed social hosted by Johnsons veterans club

was held in the fall of 2015.

Academic Summary

Curriculum: Johnsons core curriculum, completed during the first year, which is the same for all students during

the fall semester, is as follows:

Critical and Strategic Thinking

Financial Accounting

Leading Teams

Managerial Finance

Marketing Management

Microeconomics for Management

Strategy

However, in the spring, students may choose one of the following options:

Option A

An Immersion

Managing Operations

Data Analytics and Modeling

Option B

A Customized Immersion

Managing Operations

Data Analytics and Modeling

The two types of immersions involve a semester of real-world problem solving, often entailing visits to and work

with active firms. Students choosing the customized immersion option can tailor an immersion to fit their specific

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
needs and interests. Depending on a students choice of immersion, other classes may also be available during

the spring semester.

Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate.

Grading Policy: Students typically receive grades of A or B, while C grades are less frequent. The grading system

is based on a four-point scale, in which an A equals 4.0. Johnson students must have a 2.7 overall GPA or higher to

graduate.

Majors: Johnson does not offer majors, but students have the option of choosing a concentration during their

second year. Students can pursue one, two, or no concentrations, depending on their specific educational goals.

Concentrations are divided into two categoriesbreadth and depthas follows.

Breadth Concentrations

Consulting

Entrepreneurship

Global Business Management

Leadership & Ethics

Sustainable Global Enterprise

Depth Concentrations

Corporate Finance

Financial Analysis

Financial Investing

Marketing Analytics

Marketing Management

Private Equity

Strategy

Research Centers and Initiatives:

Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise

Emerging Markets Institute

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute

Parker Center for Investment Research

The Smith Business Initiative at Cornell

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Admissions Basics

Application Requirements: Candidates must submit, in addition to the main application and transcripts from all

post-secondary course work, a resume, at least two essays, at least one recommendation, and a list of activities.

Admissions Rounds: Johnson has four application rounds, with separate deadlines for each. The one-year and two-

year program deadlines do not always align, so candidates should carefully check these dates. Interview invitations

are sent throughout each round. Candidates are notified of final decisions on preannounced notification dates.

GMAT: Johnson requires GMAT scores for admission. In recent years, the median score has been 700. Although the

Admissions Office asks that candidates who have taken the GMAT multiple times submit scores from the exam on

which they earned their highest total score, the office also reserves the right to review scores from candidates

other exams.

TOEFL: All non-native English speakers must submit their scores for the TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English. On

the TOEFL, the Admissions Office requires a minimum score of 100, with a minimum of 25 in each section on the In-

ternet exam or 600 on the paper exam. The school also considers the quality of a candidates interview and essays.

Interviews: Interviews are by invitation only and are required for admission. Applicants are encouraged to inter-

view on campus, but if travel to Ithaca is impossible, a Skype interview may be conducted. Most interviews are

conducted by second-year students who are members of the Johnson Admissions Group. Alumni and admissions

staff may also conduct interviews, especially Skype interviews. Johnson states that all interviews are evaluated

equally, regardless of location or interviewer.

In a 2014 blog post on mastering the Johnson interview, then Admissions Director Ann Richards offered applicants

the following five guidelines:

1. Always be on time, no matter what.

2. Dress professionally.

3. Be prepared.

4. Know your goals.

5. Pick three examples of your achievements or leadership to highlight during the interview.

She also recommended that applicants do an online search for questions that have been asked in previous John-

son interviews and practice via mock interviews with an MBA graduate or fellow applicant.

Waitlist: The Johnson waitlist is unranked. At the end of each round, waitlisted applicants files are reviewed, and

applicants may be invited to interview. The Admissions Office encourages application updates and is responsive

to applicants waitlist questions.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Campus Visits: Applicants are encouraged to visit Johnson and sit in on a class. Starting in late August, candidates

may contact the school (by writing to mba@johnson.cornell.edu) to arrange such a visit. Moreover, applicants

have access to the Johnson Admissions Portal, where they can connect with students and recent alumni. Through-

out the admissions season, Johnson hosts invitation-only events for potential scholarship recipients. The culmi-

nation of the admissions season is Destination Johnson, the schools admitted students weekend, which takes

place in the spring.

During Destination Johnson, candidates are given student hosts, tour Sage Hall and the wider campus, and meet

with housing and financial aid administrators. Dean Dutta delivers a welcome address that is followed by dinner and

socializing. At the career information sessions, alumni are on hand to field candidates career-related questions.

Cornell University (Johnson) Essay Analysis, 20152016

This application season, the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University has opted to keep its

quirky life story essay question, which can be quite applicant friendly, because it gives candidates the opportu-

nity to present all sides of their experiencepersonal, professional, and community. In addition, the admissions

committee is requesting a classic personal statement essay, in which applicants can explain their goals and their

need for a Johnson MBA specifically. What else would a candidate need to cover? Well, maybe not that much if these

two essays are executed well, which is likely why Johnsons admissions committee is posing only those two essay

prompts (though if you have any unusual circumstances in your candidacy that require explaining, you can submit

an optional essay as well).

Johnson Essay 1: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 500 words or less, 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 en-

hanced written submissions.

In the past, Johnson has stipulated a character count limit for its essays, rather than a word count, leading thou-

sands of confounded applicants to wonder whether or not that count included spaces. Mercifully, the school has

switched to a more straightforward limit of 500 words (or less) for this essay this year.

As for the content, this essay is a bit of an oddball, because it begs for creativity but also hems you in through its

structure as a table of contents. Unlike with Chicago Booths blank pages or NYU Sterns creative expression essay,

Johnson clearly delineates the vehicle it wants you to use, essentially giving you limited creative expression. That

said, a table of contents can be approached, organized, and presented in a wide variety of ways. You can get creative

and stretch back to the dinosaurs, if doing so helps you tell your personal story. You can leap into the future instead

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
and tell a story of yourself or your family that has yet to be written. And your table of contents might be thematic,

rather than linear! Heed the schools words: We value creativity.

What is important is that you not get too gimmicky. You must allow the admissions committee to get to know you

through your table of contents. Section, chapter, subchapter (depending on your structure)each one must con-

tribute to your narrative and provide a fuller picture of you. This is an opportunity to tell your whole story, albeit

in a brief way, so make sure you tell it! We suggest that before you start writing, you get your key stories down on

paper. Begin by making an old-fashioned list! Then, make sure that your table of contents includes as many of the

items on that list as possible. If you accomplish that, you should be most of the way to an excellent essay. The rest

will involve fine-tuning the language, which is not necessarily easy but becomes much simpler when you are working

with excellent content.

Johnson Essay 2: What are your short and long-term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to

achieve both? Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

Because personal statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Per-

sonal Statement Guide (https://shop.mbamission.com/products/personal-statement-guide), which helps appli-

cants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free to

download your copy today.

Optional/Reapplicant Essay: Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candi-

dacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores)

do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School.

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application

since the last time you applied.

Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

However tempted you might be, this is not the place to use a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a

few anecdotes that you were unable to incorporate into any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity,

if needed, to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer may have about your candidacy, such as a

poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, or a gap in your work experience. In our mbaMission Optional Essays

Guide (https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-optional-essays-guide), we offer detailed advice on

when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem

areas in your profile.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
B-School Insider Interview: First-Year Student, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of
Management, Cornell University

We spoke with a student at Cornell Johnson who is entering the second half of her first year in the schools two-year

MBA program. After studying international affairs and political science as an undergraduate, she began her career

by working in nonprofits and retail management before taking a position at a human resource solution provider do-

ing business development, client management, and recruiting. A decision to pursue human resources/human capi-

tal consulting led her to business school, where she has since developed an interest in the tech industry and landed

a summer internship doing human capital strategy for operations for a multinational semiconductor chip maker.

mbaMission: Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your experience thus far at Cornell Johnson.

What led you to choose the school for your MBA?

Johnson First Year: For me, it was actually a no-brainer. My career goal was to work in human capital strategy or

consulting, and Cornell has one of the best industrial and labor relations departments in the world. As a Johnson

student, I can take advantage of classes, student clubs, libraries, and recruiting events there [at Cornell]. The

departments quite large, and it brings in large numbers of corporate sponsors, which host different events, like

case competitions, workshops, and lunches. Being able to take advantage of great resources within the human

resources field while being an MBA student makes Johnson the perfect match for me.

mbaMission: Sure. And how do you feel its worked out so far? Do you feel like you made the right choice for you?

JFY: Yeah, absolutely. Everything I wanted for business school, whatever I expected for Cornell, is here, and I enjoy it.

mbaMission: Where were you living before you moved to Ithaca?

JFY: I was living in New York City.

mbaMission: Okay. So how has the transition to a smaller town been?

JFY: Thats a good question. Its definitely not New York City. Its very different. We have, I would say, maybe less

than 20 restaurants to go to, and less than eight bars. The town is very small, but this unique environment actually

creates a really good sense of community for business students.

mbaMission: Sure.

JFY: I really like that part, and also, I went to undergrad in a really small town, so Im sort of used to this kind of

environment. My peer students who have never lived in a small town before seemed to have a hard time adjusting

initially, but the majority of them started to feel comfortable right away. Also, if we want to go to New York City, its

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
very easily done. Cornell has a bus service called Campus to Campus that goes from Ithaca to New York City every

day. So I feel that I can enjoy both worlds. If I want to enjoy the city, I can go to New York City very easily, and if I

stay in Ithaca, I can enjoy a small town, good community feel.

mbaMission: Sure. I could see that. So where do students typically live? Is it mostly apartments, or are there stu-

dent dorms?

JFY: A lot of Johnson students live in apartments around campus. I live in one of the large apartment complexes

that a lot of Johnson students live in, and this is just one year old. Its really clean, very close to campus, and it

has a gym and a shuttle service to campus. Students with a family typically live a little bit outside of the town, and

they commute by car. They have larger houses with yards and plenty of parks around.

mbaMission: That sounds great.

JFY: Yeah, its quite nice.

mbaMission: What are three words you would use to characterize your Johnson classmates?

JFY: I would say supportive, very friendly, and extremely motivated. Those were very important to me when I was

applying for business schools.

mbaMission: Definitely. And how would you describe the overall community or atmosphere at the school?

JFY: Definitely close-knit. We only have 273 students in my year. I think typically, Johnson takes 275 students per

year, so everyone knows everyone and really cares about each other. Second-year students also want to help first-

year students, and that creates a really close-knit community.

mbaMission: When you first got to the school, did you have any kind of orientation as an incoming class?

JFY: There was a two-week orientation for incoming students for the two-year program, and I think for the one-

year program, theres maybe only four or five days. It focused on learning about the program and definitely learn-

ing about each other. Orientation consisted of classes, team discussions, and social events. To top it off, there was

one event called Johnson Outdoor Activity. All the students went to a camping site by a lake, and that whole day,

we participated in team-building activities. It was a lot of fun, and definitely, I think by the end of two weeks, a lot

of us knew each other. Also, at the end of orientation, we find out who is on the same core team. Then, there was a

case competition among all the core teams, sponsored by a CPG [consumer packaged goods] company.

mbaMission: That sounds great. It seems like a good idea to have everybody come together like that to connect

and learn a little bit about one another before diving into classes.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
JFY: Yeah, thats true.

mbaMission: So which resources at the school would you say have been the most impressive or helpful to you so far?

JFY: Thats a good question. I would say some of the clubs are really impressive. Old Ezra [Finance Club] and the

Consulting Club are very good examples. Students in those clubs meet every single week, sometimes multiple

times a week, and the clubs teach you everything from how to dress for an interview, how to network, to how to do

well on cases, or how to answer technical finance questions. They are very intense programs and very successful

at placing students in the financial industry and consulting. So these two clubs are really helpful professional re-

sources. Also, Ive found the classes to be very exciting and engaging, and the professors are always there to help.

mbaMission: Have you had any interaction with Johnson alumni as part of your job search, or maybe when you

were deciding on the school, before you even enrolled?

JFY: Yeah, absolutely. Actually, I had interactions with many alumni. While I was applying for school, I met a couple

of alumni through events, and they were really helpful. They contacted me continuously to just check up on me

to see if my application was going okay and if I got in. It was really nice to know that they actually cared. I also

reached out to the Cornell Club of Japan, and I just sent an email just for inquiry, general inquiry. And the head

of the Japan Clubhes the top of 3M in Japan; hes really busy, I knowbut he took the time out of his busy day

to contact me to see if I wanted to join a dinner held at the Cornell Club of Japan. I was really surprised that he

decided to take his time to help me.

And after I got in, I reached out to a lot of alumni for recruiting, and they were very helpful also. A lot of them

contacted me back right away, trying to help. I set up a lot of informational interviews, and even after those inter-

views, they were willing to help. Some of them spoke to recruiters for me and set up interviews.

mbaMission: Thats great to hear. We always like to learn who students consider the rock star or must take

professors at the different schools. Have you had any professors so far that you thought were really great?

JFY: Every single person that went to Johnson would talk about this professor named Roni Michaely. He teaches a

core managerial finance class. And he is very goodhes great at teaching, but more than anything, he really, really

cares about students learning the material. For example, we had TA [teaching assistant] sessions every single day

after each class, and there also were special sessions for students who needed extra help. Before the final exam,

we had about 24 hours worth of TA sessions to review the entire class material.

mbaMission: Wow.

JFY: Its from 9 [a.m.] to 9 p.m. for a couple days, and its really, really helpful. I learned so much about finance that

I didnt know before. His class was very impressive.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
mbaMission: Thats great.

JFY: Yeah.

mbaMission: As far as the facilities at Johnson, what would you say are some of the strong points and maybe not

so great areas that could probably be improved?

JFY: Yes. The facilities themselvesI would not say this is one of the best things at Johnson.

mbaMission: Okay.

JFY: All the classrooms are underground. So sometimes I wish that there was some sort of light or, you know, that

we could see outside. I wish that, but thats one of the things that you notice in the beginning, but then you sort

of get used to it.

mbaMission: Sure.

JFY: Other than that, I do not see any disadvantages. We have a great library that is open 24 hours with great librar-

ians. But to be honest, I visited different schools, and I would not think Johnsons one of the top as far as facilities

are concerned.

mbaMission: Thats fair. How is the wireless access across campus? Do you feel you can get your work done ef-

ficiently, no matter you need to work?

JFY: Oh yeah, absolutely. Internet access is great, but when it comes to phones, some people do have problems

getting a signal because Ithaca is such a small town.

mbaMission: Sure. How would you say social life is at the school? Have you taken part in any really fun events yet?

JFY: Yeah. Every single Thursday, we have a social event called Sage Social. The school sets up alcohol and food

for us, and we all get together and enjoy each others company. All the partners are welcome, so a lot of children

are involved as well. And for each Sage Social, they have different themes. Like yesterday, it was the Chinese New

Year, so we had Chinese food. And last year, one of the main events was called Pie in the Face. Its a charity event

where the students will nominate a couple of people that we want to see get pie in their face.

There are about 20 people who get nominated, and the nominations are presented at the atrium. So we see pictures

of the people who got nominated. And then from that point, we basically pay money to each one of the nominees,

and whoever gets the most money, like ten people, I think, will actually get pie in their face. That way, we raise

47
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
money, and then on the day of, we do an auction for who actually gets to throw pie. Roni Michaely, the professor,

was one of the guys who was nominated to get pie in the face. The event was really fun and for a great cause.

mbaMission: That sounds pretty unique. I have heard about a lot of charity events at the different schools, but

Ive never heard of anything like that. Is it for a different charity every year, or is it always the same recipient, do

you know?

JFY: I actually dont know, but I know the pie in the face is an annual thing. As far as the organization that gets the

money, I dont know. I think it changes every year.

mbaMission: Do the professors tend to go to the Sage Social events? And does the dean ever show up?

JFY: Yeah, sometimes I see the dean, probably once or twice a month. Thats pretty frequent. The professors defi-

nitely attend, and we get to talk to professors there. They are always willing to share their thoughts and ideas.

mbaMission: Thats cool. Is the dean pretty involved in student life? Do people have office hours with him, or is he

generally visible around campus?

JFY: Yeah. Hes actually new. I think he started maybe this year or last year, I cant remember, probably last year.

[Soumitra Dutta was named dean July 1, 2012.] And hes around a lot, walking around campus, trying to talk to

people, and hes very, very friendly. Sometimes he even invites students to come to his house for dinner. I see him

at a lot of different student events. Hes very accessible, available and willing to talk to people.

mbaMission: Thats fantastic.

JFY: Yeah.

mbaMission: Is where Johnson stands in the rankings kind of a big deal on campus? Do people talk about the rank-

ings at all?

JFY: I dont think they care as much. Before coming here, I cared a lot about the schools ranking. But then when I

came here, people do talk about, Oh, the new ranking is out. We are this in this magazine, this in that magazine,

but its not as big of a deal, I would say. You would just call us around the top 15. I dont think people care as much

as I thought.

mbaMission: Thats fair. Well, my final question is kind of an overarching one. What would you like more people to

know about Cornell that they probably dont?

48
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
JFY: Right. So I knew Cornell was going to have a close-knit community, and thats why I chose it, but I didnt know

it was this much of a supportive community. Once you are in this community, it opens up so many different oppor-

tunities, and you get connected to impressive alumni quickly. Career-wise, I didnt even know that the school is re-

ally that strong in investment banking and marketing. I wasnt aware, but we really place a lot of people in invest-

ment banking and marketing. So I know that people who want banking look at Columbia or, you know, Wharton,

but Cornell is a really good choice as well. And for marketing, a lot of people want to go to Kellogg, but you should

definitely look at Cornell. So if youre interested in those areas, take a look, because you might be surprised just

how good the program is at Cornell.

mbaMission: Thats great. Thank you again so much.

JFY: Sure. Thank you!

49
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Appendix:
Cornell Johnson Facts and Figures
Note: Facts and figures in this section are prone to change. Occasionally, conflicts may exist between the schools pub-

lications and its Web pages. Applicants are urged to recheck facts and figures for the most up-to-date information.

Basics

Year Established: 1946

Location: Ithaca, New York

Dean: Soumitra Dutta (2012)

Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid: Judi Byers (2015)

Programs:

Two-Year MBA

One-Year MBA

Tech MBA

Executive Education

Executive MBA (Americas)

Executive MBA (Metro New York)

PhD

Joint Degrees:

Cornell-Tsinghua MBA/FMBA

MBA/JD (Law)

MBA/MEng (Engineering)

MBA/MILR (Industrial and Labor Relations)

MBA/MHA (Health Administration)

MBA/MD (Medicine)

MBA/MPS (Real Estate)

Class Profile (Class of 2017)

Number Enrolled: 274

Median GMAT: 700

Median GPA: 3.37

Average Years Worked: 5

Women: 26%

Underrepresented Minorities (Black/African American, Native American, and Hispanic American): 10%

Minorities: 26%

50
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Countries Represented: 28

International Origin: 35%

U.S. Military: 7%

Employment Statistics (Class of 2015)

Mean Graduating Salary: $119,100

Mean Graduating Bonus: $29,900

Graduates accepted positions in the following industries:

Financial Services: 34%

Consulting: 24%

Technology: 16%

Consumer Products: 6%

Biotech, Pharmaceuticals, and Medical Devices: 4%

Manufacturing: 4%

Legal Services: 3%

Other Industries (Telecommunications, Not-for-Profit, Entertainment, Agribusiness): 3%

Energy and Utilities: 2%

Real Estate: 2%

Retail: 2%

Graduates accepted positions in the following functions:

Finance:

Investment Banking: 17%

Managerial Finance: 6%

Financial Analysis: 3%

Other Finance: 3%

Private Equity: 3%

Buy-side Equity Research: 2%

Private Wealth Management: 2%

Real Estate Finance: 1%

Consulting: 25%

Marketing and Product Management: 15%

General Management: 7%

Rotational Development Programs: 6%Law: 3%

Operations and Supply Chain Management: 2%

Business Development: 2%

51
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
Graduates accepted positions in the following locations:

United States: 90%

Metro New York Region: 32%

West: 21%

Northeast (outside New York City): 16%

Midwest: 9%

Southwest: 5%

Mid-Atlantic: 4%

South: 3%

International: 8%

Asia: 4%

European Free Trade Zone: 1%

Middle East: 1%

South America: 1%

Other International: 1%

Top Recruiting Companies:

Amazon.com, Inc.

Citigroup Inc.

Deloitte Consulting LLP

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Bain & Company

EY (Ernst & Young)

Credit Suisse Group

Bank of America

Intel CorporationMcKinsey & Company

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

52
mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
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Le, Jennifer. Why the Consulting Program Made Johnson My Top Business School Choice. Johnson Web Site:

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s/2/0bdc094c-7136-11e2-9d5c-00144feab49a.html#axzz3LPsH7kRV

Nelson, Lisa A. and Michael B. Sauter. The 10 Best Cities for Millenials. 24/7 Wall St. July 9, 2012.

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build-science-school-in-new-york-city.html?_r=0

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
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whichmba/full-time-mba-ranking?year=2015&term_node_tid_depth=All

Web Sites

BR Consulting: www.consultbrc.com

Cornell Tech: http://tech.cornell.edu/nyc-campus/

Cornell University Alumni: http://alumni.cornell.edu/participate/international

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management: www.johnson.cornell.edu

Visit Ithaca.com: www.visitithaca.com

Interviews and Other

Anonymous. Johnson First Year. Personal Interview. December 4, 2014.

Anonymous. Johnson Second Year. Personal Interview. December 3, 2014.

Anonymous. Johnson Second Year. Personal Interview. December 3, 2014.

Anonymous. Johnson Second Year. Personal Interview. December 4, 2014.

Anonymous. Johnson Second Year. Personal Interview. December 4, 2014.

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mbaMission Insiders Guide: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 20162017
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