Cornell Johnson College of Business MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines [2020 – 2021]

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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 industry after graduation (37% of the class of 2019), 28% entered the consulting industry, 15% joined the technology industry, and 6% went into manufacturing, which is a diversity of industries that reflects the strong quant, analytical, and marketing curricula of the school. Cornell’s class of less than 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 field work that positions them to thrive in their summer internships.

Below are Johnson’s essay questions and the admissions office’s guidance, followed by my tips.

Cornell Johnson MBA goals statement

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

Goals Statement Prompt:

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 (350 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. Admitting a student with unrealistic, if not unachievable, goals at the very least will ruin Johnson’s placement rating, but at worst it could potentially leave a graduate in a great deal of debt and little or no means to repay it.

Cornell students are very active in their post-MBA job pursuit: 26% of 2018 graduates ended up in roles that they pursued independently – i.e., outside of the on-campus recruitment process. Now you understand why Cornell is asking this question: you are likely to access your personal network to land your post-MBA position, so proving that preparation and alignment with your goals is particularly important.

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, Then, use this essay space to share one or two examples from your prior experience that demonstrate that you have those skills. Discuss how these skills and experiences will help you perform particularly well in your desired future role.

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Cornell Johnson impact essay

This essay is designed to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. 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 before submitting your application. 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.

Impact Essay Prompt:

At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. How do you intend to make an impact during the next several years of your education and/or career? (350 words maximum)

The best answers to this essay question don’t solely focus on the impact you hope to make at Cornell Johnson and beyond but rather share 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 and your future career, you will need to show in what other environments you have been such a member in the past. Use this essay to demonstrate your knowledge of the Cornell community and how you plan to immerse in it, in addition to sharing how you uniquely intend to make your mark professionally or in your future community.

Cornell Johnson back of your resume essay

This essay gives you the 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 350 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under three minutes.

Back of Your Resume Essay Prompt:

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 ONE example of a life experience, achievement, or passion that will give us a sense of who you are as a potential community member.

The front page of your resume lists what you have achieved, the impacts you have made both professionally and in your extracurricular engagements. This essay is your opportunity to share another side of you: the character, values, and interests that propelled you to achieve them. The new shorter word limit this year means you can only choose one or two of your most significant leadership experiences and reveal the drive and personal qualities that you applied to accomplish them.

I highly recommend taking Cornell up on its invitation to submit a multimedia presentation here instead of another essay because three minutes of text, pictures, and video will bring you to life so much more than a simple 350-word essay can.

Cornell Johnson MBA optional essay (required for reapplicants)

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 (350 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 Application Guide for additional information about reapplying (350 words maximum).

If you are a reapplicant, use this 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 to understand the program and how you will fit into it, and/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. For example, if you feel your grades require some explanation, if you have an employment gap, or if you have chosen a non-traditional recommender for any reason, this is the space to explain.

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 top MBA programs and look forward to helping you too!

Johnson at Cornell 2020-2021 MBA application deadlines

One-Year MBA:

Early ActionSeptember 8, 2020
October RoundOctober 8, 2020
January RoundJanuary 5, 2021
RollingMarch 8, 2021

Two-Year MBA:

October RoundOctober 8, 2020
Consortium Early ApplicationOctobre 15, 2020
Consortium Traditional ApplicationJanuary 5, 2021
January RoundJanuary 5, 2021
April RoundApril 8, 2021

Source: Cornell Johnson website

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

School-specific MBA application essay tips!
by Jennifer Bloom, accepted admissions consultant

By Jennifer Bloom, admissions consultant at Accepted for 20 years and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). She is an expert at guiding you to produce 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 budget. Want Jennifer to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!

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