Tuesday Tips – Johnson School at Cornell MBA Essay Tips

The Cornell MBA program is a close knit MBA community where faculty, staff and students interact regularly on an informal basis. The Cornell MBA program is looking for students who are happy to be responsible for creating their own community, and requires engagement and leadership. Innovation is another hallmark of the Cornell MBA experience and a core educational program with flexible electives reflects that value.

Essay 1: Describe your greatest professional achievement and how you were able to add value to your organization (400 words)
This essay is an opportunity to show your leadership and management potential. In the 400 words provided you will need to describe the achievement itself, while reflecting upon your own actions in the context of your company and teammates.

Focus on why you consider this to be your greatest professional achievement, which will demonstrate your values in life and the workplace. In addition, show how you were able to add value to the organization through specific details. Ideally you will be able to provide both evidence of your leadership abilities and your motivation.

Essay 2: What career do you plan to pursue upon completing the MBA and why? How will the Johnson School help you achieve this goal? (400 words)
This essay requires both a thorough explanation of your career goals, likely requiring some context in the form of your career progress thus far, and a significant amount of school specific detail to demonstrate your interest in the Johnson school.

Focus on articulating your goals clearly, and provide detail on how you plan to achieve your career goals, linking your development needs with your Cornell MBA. Since your career goals are not specifically divided into short- and long-term you may focus on the general career you plan to pursue, though it will be most convincing if you are able to describe your overall career vision clearly.

To learn more about the Cornell MBA, this is the ideal time of year to either visit the school or attend admissions events. Speaking with current students and/or attending classes are both great ways to understand your fit with the program and how it will meet your career needs.

Essay 3:  You are the author for the book of Your Life Story.  Please write the Table of Contents for the book. (400 words)
This is a creative essay that will allow you enough leeway to demonstrate how you view Your Life Story. Though the essay specifically asks for the Table of Contents, you can certainly illuminate each chapter through brief descriptions. This is the perfect opportunity to highlight areas you may not have been able to touch in the previous career focused essays, and demonstrate your unique personal attributes or community involvement.

Think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. Are there various themes in your life you would like to highlight? Perhaps you will want to organize your Table of Contents thematically and focus on international experiences, community involvement and professional achievements as separate sections of your book. Illuminate the major milestones through clever chapter headings, and be sure to share your essay with friends and family to make sure you are communicating effectively though the creative exercise.

Optional Essay: Complete this essay if there is other information you would like to add regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate GPA or test scores) do(es) not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Cornell MBA program (400 words)

Optional essays are your opportunity to explain any weak or questionable areas in your application. Focus on telling your story succinctly, and providing information that explains and reassures the admissions committee that you have overcome the issue. Avoid any excuses in this essay, and focus instead on solid evidence that the issue will not inhibit your performance in the Cornell MBA program.

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