Johnson at Cornell University 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

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If you are looking for a small MBA class in an idyllic location with warm and genuine classmates, then Cornell Johnson may be your program. While Johnson places the largest portion of its class in the financial services industry after graduation (30% of the class), 21% enter the consulting industry, 14% join the technology industry, and 10% go into consumer products, which is a diversity of industries that reflects the strong quant, analytical, and marketing curriculum of the school. Cornell’s class of around 280 students is known to be close knit and collaborative. The school has recently revised its curriculum to increase the ratio of experiential learning, in particular in the field of leadership. This complements the renowned immersion experiences, which have been a staple at Johnson for years, to prepare first-year MBA students for their summer internships.

In defiance of the trend of cutting essay requirements, this year Cornell has added to its length limits to allow applicants to share more details about their lives and goals.


Table of Contents: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions. (Maximum file size is 5 MB. We recommend that you upload your submission in MS Word, PowerPoint, or PDF format. Limit 500 words or fewer)

This essay inevitably causes a tremendous amount of stress to applicants who see tables of contents as bland chapter titles. With 500 words as your limit, clearly chapter titles are not Johnson’s sole expectations. Applicants can include chapter excerpts or descriptions, and this year’s instructions even prod applicants to visually enhance their essay. Go ahead and have fun with this one!

Goals: What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? (500 words or fewer)

This prompt again provides a length increase from last year, offering you space to explain your goals, how your past has begun preparing you for them, and how Cornell’s curriculum will complement those experiences. Demonstrating your knowledge of Cornell’s immersion options and new leadership curriculum – and how both will prepare you for your goals – will show the admissions committee that you are sincerely interested in their program.  

Optional Essay: Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. 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. (500 words or fewer)

The optional essay can certainly be used to explain a gap in your work experience or a low GMAT score, but if you do write about one or both of these, I highly recommend sharing evidence that assuages the admissions’ committees concerns about them. If you took months off to travel across Europe, show how the experience will add to Cornell’s emphasis on global learning and cultural events. If your GMAT score is lower than you expected, share evidence of your quantitative or verbal skills in the workplace to prove you have them (and go ahead and retake the GMAT just in case you are waitlisted!).  

Cornell has 4 rounds of application review; most notable is its early Round 2 deadline of November 17th. For those applicants whose Round 1 hopes of other programs were dashed, this is a great opportunity to dive back into applications instead of waiting until January.

2015-2016 Application Deadlines:

Cornell University 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
* For Two-Year MBA Program: After Round 4, applications will be received and reviewed on a space available basis.

* For One-Year MBA Program: After Round 3, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with a final submission deadline of March 17, 2016

If you would like professional guidance with your Cornell Johnson MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA Application Packages or MBA essay editing and consulting, which can be used for advising, editing, interview coaching, and resume editing for the Cornell Johnson application. 

Jennifer BloomAs a consultant with Accepted for 17 years and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Jennifer Bloom has gained great experience in helping you craft application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your Cornell application, there are a variety of options for working with her on any budget.

Read tips on how to answer the MBA Goals Essay Question.

Related Resources:

• Leadership in Admissions [Free Guide]
Honing in On the Cornell Johnson MBA [podcast]
2015 Economist MBA Rankings

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