Greetings GMAT clubbers. I was asked a few months ago to share my "why Johnson" story and never got around to it since I was buried in end-of-first year work. I'm not enough of an egomanic to write this on my own. So without further ado:Why Johnson?
For the sake of transparency the choice to attend Johnson was easy - I applied to four schools in R1 of 2012 and Johnson was the only one that accepted me. I was waitlisted at Darden and Tuck and dinged at Kellogg. Now, this doesn't mean I'm not satisfied with my "choice". I only applied to schools I would be happy to attend, so to just getting in was a big deal for me. I'll admit, Kellogg was my "Harvard pick" as in it's probably not the best fit for me, but it's the best marketing school on the planet, so I owe it to myself to apply there and will have a hard time saying "no" if I get in. I call it my "Harvard pick" because I think that's why most people apply to Harvard - little research, "but hey, it's Harvard!" I applied to Johnson, Tuck, and Darden because I wanted to land in the Northeast (NYC/NJ/CT) area after graduation, I liked the isolated feel and small student bodies. Forced bonding of the student body if you will. I was more focused on the experience I would have at these schools than I was about my career prospects, because in all honesty, for marketing, I felt like any of the top 15 schools could help me achieve my goals. Now I'm spending the summer at one of the companies I wrote about working at in my admissions essays, so things have worked out pretty good. I feel like I did a good job of choosing schools I would enjoy attending instead of just starting with HSW and then working my way down from there.
You'll have to excuse me for getting on my soap box here, but nothing drives me more crazy than seeing someone post "I got into school X this year, should I attend, or reapply to Schools A,B,and C next year?" Hey, I'm all for attending your top choice even if it means reapplying, you only get to do the MBA thing once. But why then did you apply to school X? Just to pat yourself on the back that you got in somewhere? Fact is you're just wasting everybody's time. Before you apply to a school, you should ask yourself "If this is the only school I get into, with no scholarship money, would I be happy attending here?" I say with no scholarship money because money can't buy happiness. If you'll attend a school on a full-ride but not if you had to pay your own way, well, you don't like that school very much.How is life at Johnson?
The first year iwas busy, but fantastic. Now, I'll preface this in that I went to undergrad in a collegetown and I grew up a few hours east of Ithaca, so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I applied. Small, boring collegetowns are fun when you're with 279 like minded classmates who decided now was the right time to quit their jobs and pursue an MBA. People who have a beef with Ithaca are typically people who were living in New York prior to B-school. They complain about things like "The eating options here suck, In New York, I could get Chinese, Italian, etc. etc." No s---. Ithaca couldn't hold NYC's jockstrap, but those people need to get over themselves (or figure out why they aren't attending Columbia or Stern). Going to a small school is what I wanted. Yes, it's like high school, cliques form and you naturally gravitate towards people with the same interest. But you know what? It's actually easy to move about different social circles, and you at least get to know the names of faces of all your classmates and are able to have meaningful conversations with most of them. My opinion is at a bigger school, once you've got your crew, it's tough to venture outside of it and you'll tend to cling to your clique tighter and not be motivated to meet as many people. We had our Halloween party in Sage hall - that may sound lame, but most of the school showed up and it was a pretty good time. The small environment also makes it really easy to get involved in school life - there really is something for everyone. As someone who regrets not doing more extracurricular things while I attended a large state school, I'm an officer for two clubs, write for the Cornell Business journal, and will be a Johnson Leadership Fellow next year (https://www.johnson.cornell.edu/About/Why-Johnson/Leadership/Leadership-Opportunities/Johnson-Leadership-Fellows
I just don't think you get all this living in a real city where there are a lot more options and distractions and people live all over the place, creating a higher barrier for spontaneous get-togethers. Yes "the bubble" can get exhausting, but you'll never be in this type of situation again and it goes by so fast. I've got the rest of my life to live in a big city. How much does prestige matter when choosing an MBA program?
The answer, like so many other answers in B-school is, "it depends." For consulting? I'd say it definitely matters. Numbers don't lie.http://poetsandquants.com/2013/11/26/mckinsey-ups-mba-hiring-at-chicago-booth/http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20131210/NEWS13/131209828/mckinsey-leads-mba-hiring-at-booth-and-kellogg#
That said, I would argue for most other industries, prestige is much less important as covered in this post:http://cheetarah1980.blogspot.com/2012/06/great-expectations.html
I probably went off topic about "Why I chose Johnson" but this is all about helping those who are about to navigate the application process, and I just wanted to share what I've learned and observed after a year of B-school. Best of luck!