Cornell Johnson Admissions Director Interview Available Online

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We had an excellent Q&A last week with Randall Sawyer, Cornell Johnson's Assistant Dean of Admissions, Financial Aid and Inclusion. The excerpt below should give you an idea of how thorough, informative, and enjoyable the session was:

Linda Abraham: Entreman asks, "What is the core strength of Johnson? Columbia is famous for finance, Harvard for entrepreneurs, what is it when it comes to Cornell Johnson?"

Randall Sawyer: I think that we're a great general management program. When you make your way to Cornell and to our program, you are going to end up with a great general management degree. Underneath that we have our Immersion Program which is basically our strongest and greatest differentiator from other schools. First semester you take the core, and then the second semester we "immerse" you in your program, whether it's brand management, investment banking, managerial finance, consulting, etc. We have nine different programs. And so we are known for four major programs: consulting, investment banking, entrepreneurship, and brand. But when you come to the Johnson School, you will have nine immersions. It will allow you to really get to know the subject matter--research, theory, and practicum-- of what you want to go into once you come out with your MBA. I hear from recruiters all the time that the Johnson School students are the best prepared for their summer internships, regardless of their past experience. So it's great when we know that we can take someone coming to us from perhaps the sales space, and turn them into a brand manager over six months of academic classes, and we know that they'll be in the running to at least get an offer at the end of the summer for that first year internship. So I think we are known for those four programs I mentioned before, but over and above that, our biggest differentiator is the Immersion Program. It's been widely successful for us over the last ten years and recruiters and students continue to mention that as the most important factor of coming to Cornell.

Linda Abraham: I have two questions here. One is from Aritchra and one is from Anna, and they are both interested in marketing and the Immersion Program, one specifically strategic marketing. The question from Aritchra is, "What internship opportunities does Johnson provide? And could you elaborate on the clubs, societies, and the extra-curricular activities?" And Anna asks relatedly, "How could students collaborate with companies on projects considering the remote location of Cornell?" And finally, Aritchra asks if she can get in touch with some students who are participants in these extra-curricular activities.

Randall Sawyer: Sure. First off, we have more than 70 clubs here. You go online to find those clubs, and each will have a contact or two by email which you can just click on and send a note to them on whatever you'd like to know. While we have a great number of clubs, we urge students to only join 2 clubs; one professional like the Marketing Association and one personal where you can have fun. One of the people who work for me, her husband is involved in the Beer of the Month Club. Other people are in the Yacht Club down at Cayuga Lake. There are 70 of them to pick from. We don't want you to get too involved in the clubs in the sense of all your time because of academics, info sessions, recruiting interview schedules, working on your resume, practicing cases and so forth. It's all very busy stuff and that's why we say to please take one that is for professional advancement and the other which is for personal advancement. And when we talk about brand as a whole with the immersion both this past year and the year prior, we had 100% placement for summer internships for our Brand Immersion students. So every single one of them had at least one offer and took an offer, and spent their summer in a corporation somewhere. So that's a very great record, and we are very proud of that. There was one student several years ago who applied for 12 different marketing jobs. We have somewhere in the 40 companies space for the brand folks. The student applied to 12, got interviewed by 10 and got 7 internship offers from those. So it's a dynamic where brand for us if very strong, and I think for those students who are interested in brand, you have to be looking at the Johnson School in some way, shape, or form because obviously our record speaks for itself. I don't know of any other school that has 100% placement; I don't really track our competitors in that space. Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but I know that it works right here at the Johnson School so we'll keep it the way it is.

For the entire dialogue, please view the transcript or listen to the complete audio file on our website.

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