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Recent Johnson Grad Q&A

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New post 11 Jun 2015, 13:09
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Hey all, class of 2015er here with time to kill before my job starts. Feel free to ask me anything, and I'll be super candid (no essay help or anything like that... just no BS)

I may not respond everyday (travelling a bit) but I will check back at least every few days. Ask away!
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New post 11 Jun 2015, 13:35
Congrats highwyre237 !

Just a few random questions:

1) What are you doing now and what position did you end up taking?

2) What are 3 valuable takeaways from your MBA experience?

3) What are 3 regrets about your MBA experience?

4) If you could have changed anything about Johnson what would it have been?
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New post 11 Jun 2015, 13:43
highwyre237 wrote:
Hey all, class of 2015er here with time to kill before my job starts. Feel free to ask me anything, and I'll be super candid (no essay help or anything like that... just no BS)

I may not respond everyday (travelling a bit) but I will check back at least every few days. Ask away!


Congrats!
Here we go...
What were the most overrated and the most underrated things of the MBA you did? Why?
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New post 11 Jun 2015, 14:11
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Great questions!

dtse86 wrote:
Congrats highwyre237 !

Just a few random questions:

1) What are you doing now and what position did you end up taking?


Not getting too specific, working for one of the highly desirable west coast tech firms doing Product Management type stuff

Quote:
2) What are 3 valuable takeaways from your MBA experience?


1 - FOMO is real, and it's ok to give into it. There are so many great things going on all the time, and you'll burn out... but it's worth it.

2 - Professional clubs (marketing, consulting, tech etc.) are important, but social clubs may have an even larger impact on your experience and network. Johnson focuses on the 3 Cs, community, career, and classes (I think that’s them at least). Don't get so caught up in classes or career at the expense of both impacting and being impacted by the people around you. Most of my favorite memories have nothing to do with classes or career, but random trips or experiences with my friends at Johnson.

3 – Help the people around you, not only is it fulfilling at that point, you never know when you'll need their help as well.

Quote:
3) What are 3 regrets about your MBA experience?


1 - Not going on more international treks/trips. You will find many people in business school live the "business school rich" lifestyle. No income, dwindling savings, but still spending like crazy on trips. It's worth it, because there aren't many times in your life you'll get the opportunity to travel this substantially without a care in the world.

2 - Not having a roommate. I'm married, and my wife didn't come with me to Ithaca. I decided a 1 bedroom would be the best decision, but I think having a roommate would have made the experience even more enjoyable.

3 - Taking classes in the second year that aligned more with being prepared professionally and less with my interests. Regardless of the school you go to, second year is much easier. It is almost impossible to fail anything, and being engaged in a subject isn't needed to pass. So, in order to get the most out of the time you have in school, take classes around subject that truly interest you... You'll learn most of what you need on the job (outside of some finance roles I'm sure)

Quote:
4) If you could have changed anything about Johnson what would it have been?


Grade non disclosure. Too many people missed out on great experiences because they felt the need to over achieve in order to land a job in either consulting or IB... Grade non-disclosure would give them the opportunity to focus on areas that may be more important to develop. It's not a huge deal, but it's the only thing truly stands out in my mind.
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New post 11 Jun 2015, 14:30
1) What are your thoughts on a dual degree alongside the MBA? Do many students do this and is it something you would suggest?
2) How difficult is it to land a PM position in a west coast tech firm without an engineering background?
Due to Cornell's location, I'd also imagine it would take more effort on one's part to network and seek out those type of jobs?
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New post 14 Jun 2015, 10:02
Thanks for your time!!

1. Could you elaborate a bit more on social clubs? Which ones did you participate in and sample activities in which you were involved?
2. How difficult would it be to found your own club? Is it easy to get funding?
3. One of my concerns is that my partner, if she decides to move in with me, will have a difficult hard time finding a job in the area. Was that the reason why your wife decided not to move to Ithaca? Did you know about many partners looking for jobs in the area having a hard time?

Thank you again and enjoy the rest of the summer until your full time job starts!

Best,
kheown
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New post 16 Jun 2015, 12:22
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PlastMan wrote:
highwyre237 wrote:
Hey all, class of 2015er here with time to kill before my job starts. Feel free to ask me anything, and I'll be super candid (no essay help or anything like that... just no BS)

I may not respond everyday (travelling a bit) but I will check back at least every few days. Ask away!


Congrats!
Here we go...
What were the most overrated and the most underrated things of the MBA you did? Why?


Sorry for the delay all, was on a long weekend trip with the wife!

Most overrated thing about Johnson... I'd have to say sage socials... I know, its fun to unwind after a week of classes with beer/wine and free food, but you get really sick of the same cheap wine and beer each week, and the food choices are pretty horrible. It's fun to see everyone, but sage social is vastly overrated by the overall community.

Most underrated?
The community. I had to do a bunch of work to land my internship role, and current students and alumni were a huge help. I never had one situation where an email or request was ignored. I'm not sure if it's the same way in other places, but I felt this aspect was undersold. I knew I'd make great friends over the years, and I'd build a network of peers to help my career now and down the line, but I had no idea how deep that really went. I am sure that I could call just about anyone in my class, and they'd drop everything to help me out.

Sorry if that sounded a bit sales-like, but it's the truth
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New post 16 Jun 2015, 12:49
hmgp22 wrote:
1) What are your thoughts on a dual degree alongside the MBA? Do many students do this and is it something you would suggest?


I think if you're planning on getting more than one masters, it makes sense to knock them out at the same time. I'm guessing, but maybe 10% of the class was dual (I may be waaay off) The most populars I can think of where ILR, JD, and MPH. Many people also picked up a minor in real estate during their MBAs (not another masters, but within another school).

Do I think it's a good idea? I don't fully know. I can connect you with some people who were in whichever dual you're thinking about. I know the MBA/ILRs did well landing Human Capital gigs both internal and external at some of the best companies. Thats a cool program too because you get a chance to do 2 internships. Also I have a feeling you get a bit of a deal on the cost of your MBA since i think you pay for 3 semesters instead of 4 at Johnson. This info is all hearsay though, so I'd do your own research. Either way I can connect you with people who went through it.

Quote:
2) How difficult is it to land a PM position in a west coast tech firm without an engineering background?


Well, I did it. There are some companies that hire for PM roles in non technical areas, and some that do not. Engineering isn't as highly regarded in some of these firms, but in others it is very difficult without it. I know people who went to google, facebook, amazon, microsoft etc. without engineering backgrounds, but not always in a normal PM role. It wont matter which school you attend, there are certain tracks for those with an engineering undergrad and others for those without.

Quote:
Due to Cornell's location, I'd also imagine it would take more effort on one's part to network and seek out those type of jobs?


Hmmm. to be honest not really. One of the best parts about the bigger tech firms is it's not as much about the connections you make, but how impressed they are with you. Johnson has on campus recruiting with pretty much every large tech firm that hires MBAs. In addition, with the cornell tech campus, I think these numbers will only grow. If you want west coast tech you can make it happen from Johnson.

Now when it comes to the smaller firms, this can get a bit more difficult. There were many students that were able to land in some of these, but I think having a west coast undergrad network, or creating one yourself is very useful in these cases. Johnson does have quite a few treks and trips out to the west coast to connect with companies and network. There are also a few clubs founded specifically to continue growth of Johnson's reach out west. It is both an initiative by the students and the Dean (who has aided in the formation of cornell tech).

On top of this, any alumn would be willing to help you out. Like I said in a previous post, being part of the Johnson network is pretty huge
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New post 16 Jun 2015, 13:11
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kheown wrote:
Thanks for your time!!

1. Could you elaborate a bit more on social clubs? Which ones did you participate in and sample activities in which you were involved?


I was a part of many clubs, but my favorites were Johnson on Tap (beer club), JPets (Johnson pets <------ I have a pup), frozen assets, and Johnson's bowling league (not as lame as it sounds)

The best part about JoT was battle of the Brews. During this you compete against classmates by brewing your own beer and having classmates vote for the winner. Me and a few friends made a pretty tasty beer, and it inspired us to brew a few after that.

My favorite JPets experience was volunteering at the local animal shelter. We built new pet beds and cat perches, then walked/spent time with a bunch of the dogs and cats there.

Frozen assets is a hockey league, and their best event is a Johnson girls vs Johnson boys (in drag) game. Good times are had by all

The Bowling league is more of a drinking league at a crappy bowling alley with all of your friends. Its just a great place to see everyone on a friday night, and pretend like you're good at bowling.

There are also many other sport clubs & drinking clubs that take trips around Ithaca and across the country.

In addition to all of these club events, the social scene in general at Johnson is a great time. Every week there are multiple happy hours held or guest bartenders that draw a large percentage of the students out to just enjoy not being in class.

Quote:
2. How difficult would it be to found your own club? Is it easy to get funding?


There were at least 10 or so clubs started by my class alone. It is very easy, and encouraged. There are funds set aside for clubs each year, and considering the rate new clubs are founded, im pretty sure there is extra funding set aside in case. If you have an idea for a club, I'm sure you'll get the support and funding needed to make it happen

Quote:
3. One of my concerns is that my partner, if she decides to move in with me, will have a difficult hard time finding a job in the area. Was that the reason why your wife decided not to move to Ithaca? Did you know about many partners looking for jobs in the area having a hard time?

Thank you again and enjoy the rest of the summer until your full time job starts!

Best,
kheown


My wife's main reason for not coming with me was that she got a solid promotion that was difficult to say no to. If there were more opportunities for her in Ithaca would she have come? maybe. This is a real concern to have though, it is easy to find a job (Johnson makes sure of it, some partners were employed by the school) but it's not easy to advance a career in Ithaca. I would honestly say that if your wife has a good career, and doesnt want to take a step back, Ithaca may be tough. If she's early in her career, it may not be too bad. Others made living close, but apart work. So your partner working in Syracuse of Buffalo is also an option, but obviously not ideal. I would however start looking as early as possible.

With all of that said, Joint Ventures is a great support network, and all of the partners here knew they had a group of people to depend on. Will she find her dream job? doubtful, will she find something to pass 2 years and not hurt her prospects once you leave, almost definitely.
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New post 21 Jun 2015, 22:20
How well do you feel johnson prepares career switchers? I'm looking to switch from marketing to finance ( equity research or investment banking) I'd prefer not to do investment banking as I would like to have a life outside of work. Did most career switchers get the jobs they wanted?

How would you rate the immersions? Did you feel like the immersions did a good job preparing you? Is it possible to do 2 different immersions? For example, Investment banking and Capital Markets and Asset Management.

How was the career center/ networking? Did you feel like they were extremely helpful to most students?

Is it hard to get into managing the Cayuga Fund? If I have no work experience managing a fund will it be impossible to get?

I know this next question is tough to answer but do you feel like going to a school in the top 10 such as Columbia or Uchicago would open up more doors/ get you a better job than Johnson?

How is the social scene there? I heard the undergrad is frat dominated. Do most grad students interact with the undergrads socially? ( Just asking because the ratio of guys to girls doesn't seem great in most MBA programs.

If you could do it all over would you still choose Johnson? And if not why?

Thank you so much for any info you can provide.
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New post 22 Jun 2015, 10:04
Greekmythology wrote:
How well do you feel johnson prepares career switchers? I'm looking to switch from marketing to finance ( equity research or investment banking) I'd prefer not to do investment banking as I would like to have a life outside of work. Did most career switchers get the jobs they wanted?


I came into Johnson looking to switch careers, from tech to marketing and was able to land an internship successfully. Johnson does a great job at getting you ready to switch careers, and be aware that the majority of the reason people come to a 2 year program is to do exactly that. Now when it comes to Finance, especially IB Johnson is above most places at getting you ready to switch careers. With Old Ezra as well as career work groups and other professional clubs, you'll be ready to land an internship. Now getting students ready for that internship is the place where Johnson shines. The immersions give you all of the hard and most of the soft skills you'll need to convert the offer. The main reason I came to Johnson was to get hands on Brand Management and Consulting practice prior to an internship. I felt it was needed to be successful, and get up to speed with those around me. Myself and other Johnson interns around me where well ahead in preparation from other interns from other top programs. With IB, you're golden in landing an internship (as long as you're willing to put the effort in) I don't know as much about equity research though, so I'm not fully sure there. I know that people are heading down that track from johnson, but I'm not what their journey was that got them there.

Quote:
How would you rate the immersions? Did you feel like the immersions did a good job preparing you? Is it possible to do 2 different immersions? For example, Investment banking and Capital Markets and Asset Management.


Personally, I loved the immersion. Like I said, it was the reason I was interested in Johnson in the first place. With SMI (Strategic marketing immersion) I was able to do a consulting project for a fortune 100 CPG and actually help change a package on the shelf. It was extremely valuable, and gave me the skills and confidence to be successful over the summer. Now although it isnt possible to take 2 immersions, you can be customized (not take an immersion, just take electives and a few core classes). The IB immersion is intense, I know they make sure you're technically ready for the summer. CMAM is probably the smallest immersion, and I honestly know very little about it. But, also keep in mind that the immersion you take does not have to be connected to the job you do over the summer and post mba. But for IB I'd do the IB immersion, for equity research i think you can get away with either.


Quote:
How was the career center/ networking? Did you feel like they were extremely helpful to most students?


Eh the career center is fine. So the great thing about johnson is what you get from the students around you. Through Old Ezra and Career Work Groups, you'll be ready to both understand how to network as well as interview with banks. The career center sets up some great things for you, like mock interviews, treks to companies, lots and lots of corporate briefings, coffee chats and so on. You will almost certainly get your internship and full time offer through this avenue. Lots of leg work by you (networking and such at events that are set up by the CMC and Old Ezra). If you for some reason do not land a role through this, the CMC can be helpful. I personally did not have much interaction with individuals there, and on the few occasions, it was more deciding between offers, or protocol because of missing a deadline. I cant comment specifically for IB or equity research (considering I only looked at marketing, tech, and strategy)

Quote:
Is it hard to get into managing the Cayuga Fund? If I have no work experience managing a fund will it be impossible to get?


I can't tell you for sure. I'm not fully sure what their process is, and if experience is needed. I can however tell you that I did BRC (big red consulting) without consulting experience, and know many people did BRV (big red venture fund) without investing or even finance experience. I would reach out the the cayuga fund managers and get an idea of what they look for in managers. People tend to be pretty transparent at Johnson.

Quote:
I know this next question is tough to answer but do you feel like going to a school in the top 10 such as Columbia or Uchicago would open up more doors/ get you a better job than Johnson?


Personally, no. I got one of the top non banking or consulting jobs an MBA could want. I think the opportunities Johnson gave fit my goals perfectly. Now, you see some pretty crazy numbers from top programs, say Kellogg and their staggering numbers heading to MBB. I'm sure the same is true with Big Banks in IB when looking at Wharton, Booth and CBS. But, also understand that many student there are brought into those schools partially because their background makes them slightly more hire-able. The point is, if you cant land a your dream job from Johnson, you wouldn't be able to land it from Columbia either. You're competing with a pool at those schools that are more hire-able... So, landing the job/opportunities... I dont that this is the way to look at it. Now, would my overall network be better if I went to a higher ranked school... Yes. Would I have more connections at these places. Yes. But... would I be as close to them, and feel like I could depend on those people to be an advocate for me... I'm not sure.

I think the times where top schools matter more are in niche industries, or small companies. Some funds only hire HBS grads... I mean, is something like PE or VC easier to land our of HBS... I dont think so, I think HBS does a great job selecting the people with the correct background to land those jobs. If you have a specific bank you want to work for that hires only from certain schools, and one of those arent johnson... dont come to johnson and hope to land it.

I know what my options where for CPG (my first focus) Johnson does well with east coast CPGs, P&G and SCJ. I knew if I wanted a different midwest or west coast CPG I would have to network my way there.

Johnson places people in all of the roles you'd want. On top of that, Johnson has fewer sponsored students from those firms (which can inflate numbers). So, do I feel I would have had an easier road at a different school, or landed in a better role... no. I feel like some of the students around me would have been much more qualified for those roles. My background is not HBS quality. That doesn't mean I'm not as talented as students from there, just that my previous experience wasn't as shiny as theirs. You'll land at the school that makes sense for you. If all money is equal and you get into Johnson and Booth... you should probably go to Booth. Columbia I could make an argument and It depends what you want from your experience... NYU, Yale, Duke, Ross, Virginia, Anderson.. Totally personal Pref (although if you want IB in NY, I think Johnson ranks above all of them... though NYU could argue). If I got into Tuck, I would have gone. If I wasn't WLed at Duke, it would have been a tough call, but after doing welcome weekends, I'm pretty sure i would have still selected Johnson

BUT, I dont feel my placement post grad would have been better from Tuck.

Quote:
How is the social scene there? I heard the undergrad is frat dominated. Do most grad students interact with the undergrads socially? ( Just asking because the ratio of guys to girls doesn't seem great in most MBA programs.


The Social scene is great. The best part about Ithaca is that most people stick around during weekends (If you're recruiting for IB, you're weekends during your first fall may be spent heading to NYC just an FYI). There are many undergrad frats, many many frats, but you can keep the scenes pretty separate. Yes, if you're interested in partaking in that culture, it's there... But I came into b-school married and in my late 20s, so I was over that... Thats not to say I didnt drink way too much way too often, or play tons of undergrad beer games... just normally not with people under 25... There are MBA/Grad bars, and bars where MBAs and Grads go to meet undergrads... There is crossover, but people may ridicule you a bit. (it's all in fun)

Now the ratio sucks, but there was a lot of cross over into other grad schools at Cornell. Hotel, ILR, Vet, and Law - This is where you'll most likely find MBAs dating non MBAs. There is a Bar on campus that does many gradschool events, like speed dating and happy hours. Also, the Vet school holds a bunch of events, like beer pong tournaments and parties. Some of the Johnson events were also sponsored and attended by the Law school as well.

Quote:
If you could do it all over would you still choose Johnson? And if not why?

Thank you so much for any info you can provide.



Knowing the range of school that were possible for me (16-9 on p&q) I would have selected Johnson again. I only applied to 3 schools, Johnson, Fuqua, and Tuck. Through the process I fell in love with all three schools, and all three were my top at different times. There is a small chance I would have applied to Kellogg if given the chance to try again, but outside of that when thinking about schools like Duke, Ross, Darden, Haas, Stern, Yale, Johnson, and Anderson, Johnson was the best school for me.


When selecting a school think of a few things,
1. Do the companies I want to work for recruit at that school? (On campus recruiting is KEY)
2. Do I like the people I've met? (VISIT, Interact!)
3. Am I happy with the location? (I wanted to escape the city, and really connect with my peers. If the city more important I'd go somewhere else)
4. Are they giving me money? (Don't feel bad accepting an admit from a school that isn't as prestigious if its for free, or close... and the other 3 questions were a yes)

There are 4 parts of an MBA.
1 - Landing the job you want.
2 - Learning everything you you need to in order to be successful in that job.
3 - Doing that around people you like, and creating great connections, friendships and memories because of it.
4 - Most importantly, growing personally

Ugh, 2 lists of 4 things instead of 3 things... how un-MBA of me...
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New post 22 Jun 2015, 10:54
Did Johnson place most of its grads onto New York offices? Or did they work in the northeast in general?
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New post 22 Jun 2015, 11:00
Porkbun123 wrote:
Did Johnson place most of its grads onto New York offices? Or did they work in the northeast in general?


Porkbun123

If you read the Johnson 2014 employment report, the class of 2014 placed 11% in the NYC metro region and 44% in the greater Northeast region (not including NYC). Therefore ~55% of the class or 154 students end up in the northeast.

Link to the employment report is here (page 7): http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/portals/32/pdfs/cmc/CMC%20Employment%20Report%20for%202014.pdf

I'm sure class of 2015 numbers will come out in a few months.
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New post 22 Jun 2015, 11:24
Dtse thanks for the info. I'm surprised that figure is so low given cornells relationship to new York. Do you think grads self selected out of nyc? Maybe highwyre can shed some light into this.
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New post 22 Jun 2015, 11:44
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Porkbun123 wrote:
Dtse thanks for the info. I'm surprised that figure is so low given cornells relationship to new York. Do you think grads self selected out of nyc? Maybe highwyre can shed some light into this.


I think I'd have to disagree with you in saying that the number is "low". For any business school especially in today's global economy, 55% is extremely high. I have to say that when I saw those numbers and that only 6% of the class went international and mostly to Asia, I was surprised. The only other large population of Johnson grads migrated out west (~17%), probably because they had found careers in tech. For the most part, I believe that has to do with where the work is located and how strong the school's network is in those geographies.

Personally, I've seen how powerful the Cornell network in NYC (http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/06/20/exp-gps-0621-witw-cornell-tech.cnn) is and so Johnson's is extremely strong as well.

I think it makes a lot of sense that so many Johnson grads end up in NYC and the NE in general. Johnson is known for being strong in finance and the most lucrative finance careers are in NYC or Boston (more so the former). Also, it's location is close enough to make recruiting easier to those locations. Therefore, in some way, it is self selected. I think for many MBA students, you'll find that a large number of them will end up close to where they went to school (hell HBS has 42% placement in the Northeast US :shock: http://www.hbs.edu/recruiting/data/Pages/location.aspx?loc=&view=all) just because many may be from the area, many may have just enjoyed the locale so much they wanted to stay, and most importantly, its where the best opportunities are.

MBA graduates for the most part will probably find themselves travelling quite a bit in today's global economy. I've heard for people pursing MC careers, you'll only end up spending 1 workday in the home office. The rest of the week you'll be travelling to/from anywhere in the world. I think that's why for me at least, where I end up post-MBA is not really that big of a deal to me. It's more of a matter of what I'll be doing.
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New post 22 Jun 2015, 12:29
Wow, highwyre you've been incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for all the info
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New post 23 Jun 2015, 07:43
Porkbun123 wrote:
Dtse thanks for the info. I'm surprised that figure is so low given cornells relationship to new York. Do you think grads self selected out of nyc? Maybe highwyre can shed some light into this.


I don't think its very low... Some of it is self selection, some of it is opportunities in general. If you want finance in NYC, you wont have a problem. If you want Boutique consulting in NYC, you'll be fine. Same with Luxury/Retail... When it comes to consumer products, healthcare, tech and others, you may be best served looking outside of NYC. Thats not to say these opportunities arent possible, but it turns into a numbers game. The are more opportunities in other places, so it's worth looking (This isnt just for Johnson, its everywhere) Now, there are many people living in and around NYC, but working just outside of it in Jersey and other areas. I'd look more closely to the Northeast number. 44% feels about right. In my class we have 10 or so around Boston, a few in upstate NY, and the rest around NYC/Philly. So, I'd guess the number is closer to 20-25% living in NYC.

When it comes to the others, many decided against NYC. I know I did. Cornell is doing great things in Tech, and I have a feeling that 17% in the west number may tick up to 20%. It is true that Cornell tends to send people to consulting offices outside of NYC. Some of this is self selection, and some is due to competition with other schools. When doing consulting treks into NYC, there were always Johnson grads at the MBB as well as all of the other bigger firms, and many of the smaller.

I honestly look at this as a positive though. I'd rather have a network spread around the Country and world, and not be stuck in one metro area. NYC is great, but I'm happy to have options outside of it. A school like stern sends almost 80% of their students to the northeast... That seems crazy to me.

It is always easier to get jobs in the metro areas around your school, for Johnson thats NYC, Boston, Philly, and Buffalo(if you want it), but I love that fact that Johnson gets diverse companies from a variety of locations, so there are many more options.

Johnson doesnt always attract the NYC centric minded people, and thats a big reason why we end up all over the place.

On a side note, my family is from the East coast, and I know I'd have no trouble coming back, due to my network, if/when I want to.
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New post 23 Jun 2015, 07:52
dtse86 wrote:
Porkbun123 wrote:
I have to say that when I saw those numbers and that only 6% of the class went international and mostly to Asia, I was surprised.


This is almost 100% self selection though. Many internationals come to the US for school to work in the US after (atleast for a bit). And fortunately, the majority of Johnson grads are successful. Many of those who aren't are headed back to a family business, or would rather work in their home country. The Cornell network is very international, and with the IVY League brand, it carries a lot of weight. So if your goals are to work internationally after graduation, you can make it happen.
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