Category Archives: Cornell Advice

Tuesday Tips: Cornell MBA Essay Tips

Over the past several years Cornell’s Johnson MBA program has revamped everything from the curriculum, to the programs offered by the school to the application process. Candidates can now choose between a traditional two-year full …

Over the past several years Cornell’s Johnson MBA program has revamped everything from the curriculum, to the programs offered by the school to the application process. Candidates can now choose between a traditional two-year full time MBA program and a one-year program designed for focused candidates with an educational foundation in business topics. Another, newer program, offers a one-year study opportunity in New York City focused on technology.

Cornell’s application process has innovated as well. Now a new process integrates Linked In profiles with the application process allowing candidates to auto-fill sections of the application. If you’re looking for help and advice on any aspect of your Cornell MBA application, contact us to learn more.

Applicants for both the One-Year and Two-Year Ithaca based MBA programs: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 2,000 characters or less please write the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. Note: approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity

This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. You can use this opportunity to demonstrate your unique career goals, personal attributes or community involvement. Something that has been a constant theme in your life since childhood could be an interesting part of this essay. Perhaps you have had a lifelong involvement with a charity, sport or musical pursuit.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there key stories involving your friends, family, professional pursuits, hobbies or interests that impacted the person you are now? This narrative likely has more than one focus because you are more than one-dimensional. You may spend one chapter on a personal event, another on interests in school, and another on an important travel experience. Consider balancing the personal, professional and extracurricular carefully to communicate as much as possible about each area.

Though the essay specifically asks for the Table of Contents, you can certainly illuminate each chapter through brief descriptions. Describe the major milestones and be sure to share your essay with friends and family to make sure you are communicating effectively though the creative exercise.

One-Year Ithaca applicants only: How does your pre-MBA experience prepare you for the job that you envision post-MBA? (2,000 characters)

Two-Year Ithaca applicants only: What is the job that you would like to have immediately upon graduating with your MBA? (2,000 characters)

Both the applicants to the one- and two-year programs in Ithaca are asked to define career goals in this set of essays. The essay for the one-year program asks for your career goals, but also asks for more detail on your pre-MBA experience. The two-year essay prompt is more directly focused on your job immediately post MBA.

For either essay you will want to give some background about why you are interested in your specific career pursuits. Rather than reciting every experience pre-MBA you ideally will focus on the key inflection points in your career. When considering what aspects of your past career to focus on, think about the situations that led you to realize what you really want to do, that built skills that will be important to your goals, or introduced you to people who were crucial to your development.

For the one-year essay prompt note that the essay asks generally about your pre-MBA experiences and not only your purely professional experiences. You may have learned about yourself and your interests from an extracurricular or volunteer activity and that background may be entirely appropriate for this question as well.

Make sure to spend enough time on how the Cornell MBA will help you achieve your career goals to demonstrate why Cornell is the right place to spend the next two years of your life. Academics are going to be a crucial part of your career goals, yet classmates and activities will also be important as you develop your career network.

Johnson MBA at Cornell Tech: As the only MBA program not housed in a business school, we know our students will be different. Students will be part of an innovative environment where creativity, technical sophistication, and sharp business sense share seats at the table. We value expressions of who you are and what you add to this formula.

There are three ways to demonstrate how you fit within this dynamic setting. You must select one of the following as part of your application, demonstrating your creativity, style and technical experience:
• send a link to your work
• upload a video
• provide a written sample

Whether you choose a creative approach or write an essay in response to this question, researching the Johnson MBA at Cornell Tech is a productive way to start working on this question. The Johnson MBA focuses heavily on technology and digital, and is seeking students who have practical experience in those areas. This experience could span anything from programming to graphic design, or even business development.

If you are someone with a creative or technical skill set than sending a link to your work may be an ideal expression of why you are applying to this program. For almost anyone creating a video could demonstrate your creativity, personal attributes, and personal fit with the program. If you focus on a written essay as a response make sure you are able to communicate your passion for technology, the digital economy, and the opportunity to study with students in the Cornell Tech Master’s program.

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MBA Essay Tips from Johnson’s Admissions Director

Following recent application and essay innovations at Cornell’s Johnson School, interim MBA admissions director Ann W. Richards shared tips on how to approach the new, streamlined essay section. This year, applicants for both the one-year …

Johnson School

Following recent application and essay innovations at Cornell’s Johnson School, interim MBA admissions director Ann W. Richards shared tips on how to approach the new, streamlined essay section.

This year, applicants for both the one-year and two-year Ithaca based MBA programs are asked to write “Your Life Story” in 1,000 characters or less, as though it were the table of contents for the book of Your Life.

Cornell’s Johnson School values creativity and authenticity, and Richards suggests applicants use this format to convey something unique about themselves so that the admissions committee can better understand who you are and what motivates you. Obviously, this prompt differs from a traditional MBA essay, and Richards stresses that it doesn’t need to be a chronological list of your life. Approach it creatively!

Two-year applicants must then share—in 1,000 characters or less—what job they would like to have immediately upon graduating with an MBA. Richards urges honesty in this essay as it will help AdCom determine if Johnson is the right place to move you toward your future goals.

One-year applicants need to explain how their pre-MBA experience prepared them for the job they envision post-MBA—also in 1,000 characters or less. The admissions director explains the reasoning for this question is, “To determine if you can transition into your next job at an accelerated pace.”

Strong candidates will show they’ve done their homework on the career field they want to move into, says Richards, and can demonstrate they’ve got the skills and experience to bring their career up to the next level.

The optional essay is the place to address any aspects of your application you feel need further explanation, but Richards says applicants could also use the space to drive home all of their strengths. Either approach is welcome, though the director warns against recycling an optional essay written for another program!

The admissions team at Cornell’s Johnson School will be traveling across the globe in August, with events scheduled in Shanghai and Beijing next week, Forté Forum events on the East Coast mid-month, and MBA fairs in various South American cities at the end of August.

You may also be interested in:

New Application at Cornell’s Johnson School Adds LinkedIn Feature

Big Curriculum Changes at Cornell’s Johnson School

 

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5 Interview Tips from Cornell’s Johnson School

Many business schools will soon extend interview invitations to Round 2 candidates, so there’s no better time to absorb a few additional tips to help you navigate this all-important step in the MBA admissions process. …

Cornell's Johnson SchoolMany business schools will soon extend interview invitations to Round 2 candidates, so there’s no better time to absorb a few additional tips to help you navigate this all-important step in the MBA admissions process.

In a recent update to the admissions blog at Cornell’s Johnson School of Business, Christine Sneva, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, offers targeted advice that can be useful no matter where you have applied.

Here are Johnson’s five interview tips to help you successfully convey your professionalism, interpersonal and presentation skills, and readiness for a rigorous MBA program.

1. “Dress professionally but more importantly, act it.”  Sneva points out that the admissions committee takes into consideration every communication and interaction they have with applicants as part of the selection process.

2. Be prepared to talk about your work experience.”  Your interviewer needs to know what is your “professional action plan” and which transferable skills will lead you to your goals, says Sneva, who urges applicants to structure their responses carefully and clearly so you don’t go off-topic and risk not answering the question.

3. If you know your weakness, work on it!” Sometimes, applicants become paralyzed by their weaknesses and don’t realize that they can take steps to overcome them even before sitting down to interview. Have limited quantitative experience or a low GMAT score? Consider retaking the test or or signing up for a class in accounting, managerial finance, or statistics.

Worried about poor presentation or communication skills? Sneva suggests joining a local Toastmasters Club or similar public speaking group. Planning a significant career transition? Seek out informational interviews to help you refine your career goals, or network with individuals in your desired industry, Sneva counsels.

4. If invited to interview, reach out to a current student or alum. Nothing beats advice straight from someone who has already gone through the process and lives to tell the tale.

5. Lastly, “practice, practice, practice!” If you’re under-prepared or shaking from nerves, you’ll likely be unable to fully engage in the conversation, Sneva warns. “Before going into an interview, you should always have prepared your value proposition and why you are at this point in your life/career,” she says.

Enlist the help of family and friends, and ask them to provide constructive feedback. Once you have “experienced” the interview a few times you will be more relaxed and able to focus on connecting with your interviewer and demonstrating your enthusiasm for the school.

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Tuesday Tips: Cornell Johnson MBA Essay Tips

According to the Cornell MBA admissions blog, Cornell “changed the direction of our questions this year to better understand your career choices and of course, who you are.” Cornell MBA’s relatively short essay set is …

According to the Cornell MBA admissions blog, Cornell “changed the direction of our questions this year to better understand your career choices and of course, who you are.”

Cornell MBA’s relatively short essay set is a strong opportunity to focus your application strategy and demonstrate your personal qualities, goals and fit with the Johnson School. These three essays allow you to show many aspects of your background and personality.

Part I: Career Choice Essay (300 word maximum)
How would you characterize your career since college?

Part II: Career Goal Essay (400 word maximum)
Tell us about your short and long term career goals.

As directed, you should avoid communicating everything about your career progress thus far, and instead focus on the key inflection points rather than an entire resume review. When considering what aspects of your past career to focus on, think about the situations that led you to realize what you really want to do, that built skills that will be important to your goals, or introduced you to people who were crucial to your development.

For the second part of your question you will want to describe your goals ”“ ideally you can describe how you view your career unfolding from graduation to achievement of your ultimate goal as a logical trajectory.

Make sure to spend enough time on how the Cornell MBA will help you achieve your short- and long-term MBA goals to demonstrate why Cornell is the right place to spend the next two years of your life. Academics are going to be a crucial part of your career goals, yet classmates and activities will also be important as you develop your career network.

Part III: Character Essay (400 word maximum for chosen question), please choose one of the following to write about:

a. You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the table of contents for the book. Note: Approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.

This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. Think about highlighting areas you may not have been able to touch in the first essay, which was focused on your professional life. You can use this opportunity to demonstrate your unique personal attributes or community involvement. If you have a consistent theme of involvement in a charity or activity this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why you became involved and what you have done over the years.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there key stories involving your friends, family, hobbies or interests that impacted the person you are now?

Though the essay specifically asks for the Table of Contents, you can certainly illuminate each chapter through brief descriptions. Describe the major milestones and be sure to share your essay with friends and family to make sure you are communicating effectively though the creative exercise.

b. Describe a situation taken from your personal or professional life where you failed and tell us what you learned.

Leadership can be effectively formed through difficulty and failures. In this essay you will want to demonstrate how you have effectively navigated disappointment, reacted when challenged or learned how to improve from a failure.

As you think about a failure you may want to describe, consider those examples that changed your direction or approach either professionally or personally. Cornell wants to understand more about you as a person and how you think. After you describe the failure and set up the situation, make sure you describe what change and growth resulted. This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate your maturity, flexibility and leadership qualities.

c. What does diversity mean to you and how will you contribute to the diversity of our community at Johnson?

This essay requires you to research Johnson thoroughly to demonstrate that you understand what diversity at Cornell means and how you will contribute. You should be aware of the major academic, extracurricular and social components of the MBA program and think seriously about how you will add to the mix. Perhaps you want to start a club or a conference based on unique industry knowledge. Maybe you aspire to help a professor with her research because of a special interest you have. Or you plan return to the school to be a panelist or mentor once you develop your individual professional pursuits.

Research on your own is a great first step, but the personal approach may pay more dividends in this essay. Think about networking with current students or alumni, visiting campus, and attending information sessions to understand what you will bring to the table that is different. If you are able to talk to a current student or alum about your essay topic you might gain valuable feedback on the direction you can take in this essay.

Struggling with your Cornell essays? Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

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Tuesday Tips: Cornell Johnson MBA Essay Tips

Essay questions and deadlines are posted for the Johnson MBA program at Cornell. According to the Cornell MBA admissions committee they are seeking “individuals who demonstrate academic achievements, high-quality experience, leadership potential, decision-making abilities, and …

Essay questions and deadlines are posted for the Johnson MBA program at Cornell. According to the Cornell MBA admissions committee they are seeking “individuals who demonstrate academic achievements, high-quality experience, leadership potential, decision-making abilities, and outstanding interpersonal and communication skills.”

Cornell MBA’s relatively short essay set is a strong opportunity to focus your application strategy and demonstrate your personal qualities, goals and fit with the Johnson School. Career goals, a creative essay and an essay focused on your fit with Cornell allow you to show many aspects of your background and personality.

1) What career do you plan to pursue upon completion of an MBA degree and why?
This standard career goals essay requires you to demonstrate that your Cornell MBA will be the right next step to achieve your career goals. While short- and long-term goals are not explicitly requested, you may want to describe how you view your career unfolding from graduation to achievement of your ultimate goal.

Since your past experiences are likely indicators of where you are headed in the future, you may briefly outline key aspects of your career history. The question does not specifically require career history, so you have the flexibility to choose key inflection points rather than an entire resume review. When considering what aspects of your past career to focus on, think about the situations that led you to realize what you really want to do, that built skills that will be important to your goals, or introduced you to people who were crucial to your development.

Make sure to spend enough time on your interest in the Cornell MBA to demonstrate why Cornell is the right place to spend the next two years of your life. Academics are going to be a crucial part of your career goals, yet classmates and activities will also be important.

2) You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the table of contents for the book. Note: Approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.
This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. Think about highlighting areas you may not have been able to touch in the first essay, which was focused on your professional life. You can use this opportunity to demonstrate your unique personal attributes or community involvement. If you have a consistent theme of involvement in a charity or activity this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why you became involved and what you have done over the years.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there key stories involving your friends, family, hobbies or interests that impacted the person you are now?

Though the essay specifically asks for the Table of Contents, you can certainly illuminate each chapter through brief descriptions. Describe the major milestones and be sure to share your essay with friends and family to make sure you are communicating effectively though the creative exercise.

3) What legacy would you hope to leave as a Johnson graduate?
Essay three is all about fit. As elaborated upon in the Cornell Admissions blog, “’Fit’ is different for everyone, so we want to see how authentic and purposeful you are about applying.”

This essay requires you to research Johnson thoroughly. You should be aware of the major academic, extracurricular and social components of the MBA program and think seriously about what you want to leave behind when you graduate. Perhaps you want to start a club or a conference. Maybe you aspire to help a professor with her research. Or you will return to the school to be a panelist or mentor. Think both about what you have to offer, and what Cornell needs.

Research on your own is a great first step, but the personal approach may pay more dividends in this essay. Think about networking with current students or alumni, visiting campus, and attending information sessions. If you are able to talk to a current student or alum about your essay topic you might gain valuable feedback on the direction you will take with your legacy.

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B-school Buzz: Interviews, Acceptance, Book Recs and More

This week, our B-school Buzz bloggers share some exciting news on their b-school applications and internship interview tips, among other updates.

This week, our B-school Buzz bloggers share some exciting news on their b-school applications and internship interview tips, among other updates.

Accepted! – If you’ve ever had the gratifying experience of learning that your b-school application has been accepted, then Ellipsing My Way… To Business School’s post about hearing from the Cornell Johnson School of Management will take you right back to that magical (and overwhelming) moment. He writes, “I didn’t know what to do or say. To be honest I barely remember what was said…  ‘Congratulations this…  deposit that…’  All I could do is keep saying ‘Thank you… Thank you…. Thank you….’  I do remember saying ‘I’m sorry I don’t even know what to say other than thank you…'” Way to go, Ellipsing!

Interview invites – Mako at Random Wok had good news to share this week as well: He’s been invited to another interview, this time with the Wharton School. This was especially great to read, given that Mako was dealing with a rejection from Harvard Business School last week. Once again, he writes with emotional candor about his application process so far, and ends the post on a positive note: “I’ve been invited to interview at more than half the schools I applied to, and reaching this milestone is a good feeling.”

Internship interviews – Meanwhile, Praz at Columbia MBA Class of 2012 reminded us that the interviews don’t end once you’re accepted to a program. He shared his preparation strategies for on-campus internship interviews, explaining how he readied himself for both the technical and behavioral/fit parts of his interviews. The result? “For the summer I’ll be here in NYC at American Express as a finance manager intern,” he writes. Nicely done!

A couple of other posts worth checking out this weekMilitary to Business shares some research he conducted to find out how many military personnel have made their way to Harvard Business School, and the GMAT Prep blog highly recommends the book The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma, commenting, “I like the way Robin Sharma makes success look so easy and achievable…. Consistent simple steps followed daily lead you to success.” Sounds like a book worth checking out.

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