Cornell Johnson College of Business MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

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Cornell SC Johnson College of Business 2018-19 Essay Tips & Deadlines

If you are looking for a small MBA class in an idyllic location with warm and genuine classmates, then Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management may be your program. Johnson places the largest portion of its class in the financial industry after graduation (32% of the class); in addition, 25% enter the consulting industry, 12% join the technology industry, and 6% go into consumer produts, which is a diversity of industries that reflects the strong quant, analytical, and marketing curricula of the school. Cornell’s class of around 300 students is known to be close-knit and collaborative. Most first-year students choose to spend their second semester in an Immersion Experience, a unique combination of course and fieldwork that positions them to thrive in their summer internships.

The school’s curriculum improvements in 2014 introduced more critical thinking, data analysis, financial modeling, and leadership assessment and guidance into the program – changes that helped improve the class of 2016’s 3-month post-graduation rate of employment to 94% (up from 91% in 2013). Most interesting is that students who were not authorized to work in the US actually had a higher placement rate (95%) than those who did have US citizenship or work visas: clearly the Ivy League Cornell education is valued in global industry.

Below are Johnson’s essay questions and the admissions office’s guidance. My comments are in blue.

Cornell Johnson MBA Goals Statement:

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

A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout the admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question (250 words maximum):

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


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

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

If your goal immediately after graduating from Johnson is not deemed possible by the admissions office, then you might as well not bother finishing the application. No applicant will be accepted if their short-term goal is unachievable: at the very least it will ruin Johnson’s placement rating, but at worst it could potentially leave a graduate in a great deal of financial debt for their MBA degree. Speak to current students and recent graduates to hear about the recruiting process, positions available, and the qualifications, if any, that students must have to enter your field of interest.

Cornell Johnson Impact Essay:

This essay is designed to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Whether during the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff. You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on campus or off campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance (500 words maximum).

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

The best answers to this essay question don’t solely focus on the impact you hope to make at Cornell Johnson but rather demonstrate how your background and previous impacts have prepared you to make this future impact. To prove you will be an engaged community member in Ithaca, you will need to show in what other environments you have been such a member in the past. Thus, this essay requires evidence that you know about campus life at Cornell Johnson AND about how you will uniquely make your mark.

Cornell Johnson Back of Your Resume Essay:

This essay is an opportunity to present yourself as an individual. We encourage you to think about your proudest accomplishments, interests and passions, and personal highlights that will help us to get to know you as a person and potential community member. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions. Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written essay, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 5 minutes.

The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing the experiences that will give us insight into your character, values, and interests.

Here is your chance to showcase the highlights of your life, in text, pictures, or multimedia to pique the admissions office’s interest. Five minutes of multimedia will give the admissions staff time to really get to know you – to see and hear you, much more than a 500-word essay could.

Cornell Johnson MBA Optional Essays:

You may use this essay to call attention to items needing clarification and to add additional details to any aspects of your application that do not accurately reflect your potential for success at Johnson (500 words maximum).

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application and candidacy since the last time you applied for admission. Please also review our Admissions Policy for additional information about re-applying (500 words maximum).

If you are a reapplicant, this is a great space to demonstrate that you have made considerable efforts to improve your candidacy: you have improved your GMAT score, taken on more leadership roles, reached out to more Cornell staff and students, or researched your career goals in greater depth.

If you are a first-time applicant, then you should use this space to address any issue that you feel the application left unaddressed. In particular, if you feel your goals require some explanation beyond the very terse phrasing allocated to them, this is a great opportunity to share it.

For expert guidance with your Cornell Johnson MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Cornell Johnson’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!

Johnson at Cornell 2018-19 MBA Application Deadlines:

One-Year MBA:

Application Deadline
 Early Action September 10, 2018
October Round October 10, 2018
November Round November 15, 2018
January Round January 3, 2019
Rolling March 15, 2019*

*After January 3rd, applications will be received and reviewed on a space available basis with a final submission deadline of March 15, 2019.

Two-Year MBA:

Application Deadline
October Round October 10, 2018
November Round November 15, 2018
January Round January 3, 2019
April Round April 10, 2019

***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***

CTA Top MBA Essay Questions Guide


Jennifer BloomJennifer Bloom has been a consultant with Accepted for 19 years and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). She is an expert atcrafting application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your application, Jennifer can suggest a number of options that work with any budgetWant Jennifer to help you get accepted? Click here!



Related Resources:

• Why MBA?, a guide to writing about your MBA goals
Do You Fit With Cornell Johnson?, a podcast epidsode
Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them

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