Tuesday Tips: Cornell Johnson Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management is a flexible MBA program housed within an Ivy League campus. Cornell Johnson offers multiple full-time options, including a one-year MBA, specialized executive programs and the Cornell Tech MBA in Ithaca and NYC.
Whatever your goals and background, Cornell has a program that can help you achieve your goals. Johnson also works to integrate the MBA experience into the larger Cornell community and to leverage coursework at the other top-ranked graduate programs to provide more opportunity to Johnson students.
When approaching this set of Cornell essays it will be useful to set your application strategy before you start working. Identify the program at Cornell you are most interested in and do substantial school research into the faculty, coursework and career opportunities. Then examine your background and goals to see what is most important to explain as part of your story.
Next, add the layer of personal background and experiences – consider what makes you truly unique. Finally, make sure you have solid academics, work experience and extracurriculars covered in your essays, resume or recommendations. If you identify any holes in your profile or story, take the time to fill them prior to starting your application and explain anything necessary in the optional essay.
A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout 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?
This short answer question is a succinct way to cover the relevant career goals questions any admissions officer would have. Make sure that your answers are logical in the context of your overall application and are mirrored by your recommenders.
Once you have identified your industry, company, and role in both the short- and long-term you can briefly answer how your past experiences have led you to your goals. Think about the pivotal moments in your career and how they have prepared you for the next step or have helped to crystalize your passions and goals. Pick a very brief example to cover here and then you can use your resume and recommendations to showcase any other transferable skills you need to accomplish your goals. If you need to explain more about your accomplishments and leadership, that can be covered in the Impact Essay.
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 Cornell Johnson admissions committee advises you to use this essay “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.”
The first step in answering this question is to do your research. Ideally you will have an opportunity to either visit Johnson or to attend an admissions event in your city, or, as Johnson suggests, connect via phone or email. Another way to find a personal connection is to reach out friends, family and work colleagues to see if anyone knows a current or future member of the Johnson community.
As you prepare for conversations to learn more about Cornell Johnson, think about programs, extracurricular activities and the informal ways that students might interact. Johnson offers groups for interests ranging from cooking to ice hockey, and has professional clubs for every possible career path. Those formal groups or connecting in a classroom or party may be ways you make connections at Johnson.
Once you have identified opportunities to contribute to campus life at Johnson, ideally you support your story with evidence from your past experiences. For example, if you want to bring new speakers to the Johnson Marketing Association because you have contributed to your young professionals group at work, explain that you have successfully organized events featuring major speakers for a large group of people and can bring that skill to create impact for your peers at Johnson.
BACK OF YOUR RESUME ESSAY
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.
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 previous essays, and 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.
As the Admissions Committee suggests: “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.“
This essay can be written as a 500-word essay, or delivered in one of the alternative submission formats: a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), or visually enhanced written submissions.
If you use an alternative format, you should tailor the format you use to the message you want to send.
If you decide to discuss your involvement in a cultural activity perhaps a YouTube video is a good way to show that experience. If you have a start-up idea you may want to showcase it on a website or through a slide presentation. Don’t be too distracted by format, because while a creative format might impress the admissions committee, substance is the most important part of the essay.
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).
This optional essay allows for either an explanation of any weaknesses in your application or additional information that may bolster your application. If you have a poor GPA or GMAT, concerns with your undergraduate record, or were unable to provide a recommendation from a current supervisor, this is the place to offer explanations, not excuses.
Quickly describe the situation and what may have contributed to the issue (illness, family difficulties, etc.) without editorializing. Focus the balance of your essay on looking forward: what have you done in the recent past to demonstrate your skills and intelligence?
If you are a re-applicant this is the ideal place to explain what you have done since your last application to strengthen your case for admission. If you have a new GMAT score or took classes in calculus or statistics you have a solid case for improved academics. A promotion could signal career development and leadership.
Even if you don’t have a clear-cut or quantitative update to describe you can use this space to explain how you have improved your thinking, career goals, or fit with Cornell.
Stuck on the Johnson Cornell essay questions? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.