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How to crack Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business

Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business

Located in the city of New York, the SC Johnson College of Business is the business school of the Ivy League Cornell University. Located in a city bustling with top firms from across the globe, the SC Johnson College of Business provides students with an MBA Program considered one of the best in the world.

The school might not be as closely located to wall-street as the Columbia Business School or NYU’s Stern School of Business, but still promises an equivalent exposure with recruiter line-ups including business giants such as EY (Ernst & Young), Barclays, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and McKinsey & Company.

With a small class size of 600 for its two-year and one-year MBA program, Cornell (SC Johnson College of Business) boasts of a close-knit student community. The school places emphasis on Leadership skills and promotes experiential learning.

Taking its place amongst some of the most exclusive MBA programs in the US, Cornell has an extensive admissions process with as many as four essays per applicant. It also provides a host of MBA programs suitable for applicants in various phases of their careers.


Types of MBA Programs at Cornell


Cornell values flexibility in the curriculum and thus provides various MBA programs to suit the needs of the large variety of applicants that flock to the school in hopes of admissions. Depending on where you are in your career, and where you wish to end up, you can choose amongst the plethora of Programs provided by Cornell.


Full-Time MBA Program


The most popular of the MBA programs at Cornell is the Full-time MBA program. The three full=time MBA programs at Cornell are:

Two-Year MBA in Ithaca

The two-year MBA Program at Cornell is provided in collaboration with Cornell Tech, giving students a unique two-campus experience at both Ithica, and New York City. This program allows students to choose from over 120 electives and access weekend classes at Cornell Tech.

The program also provides the students with an opportunity to seek summer internships and had a 99.6% acceptance rate for the same in 2017.

One-Year MBA in Ithaca

The one-year MBA program offers the same dual-campus benefits as the two-year MBA program. It allows students to take weekend classes at Cornell Tech in NYC. However, since it is a sped-up MBA program lasting from May-May, it does not provide students with a chance at internships.

The one-year MBA program, however, does provide students with leadership training and a case competition.

Johnson Cornell Tech MBA

The Jonson Cornell Tech MBA option, as the name suggests, is also in collaboration with Cornell Tech. however, the biggest difference is the direct collaboration that the MBA students get to experience working alongside engineering, law, and computer science students.

This gives the MBA class an experience of taking an idea from the concept stage to the launch stage while merging business and technology principles.


Executive MBA Program


The executive MBA Programs at Cornell cater to high-level executives that wish to further their business acumen and studying an MBA with a general management curriculum.

The following are the executive MBA Programs available at Cornell.

  1. Executive MBA Americas
  2. Executive MBA Metro NY
  3. Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership
  4. Cornell-Tsinghua Finance MBA

Of the four Executive MBAs provided by Cornell, all except the Executive MBA Metro NY provide a dual-degree.



Other MBA Programs


Cornell also provides a few Dual-degree and one five-year MBA degree program. The five-year MBA degree is a program available to a select few undergraduate students to earn an MBA degree along with their undergraduate program.

The dual degree MBA programs at Cornell are as follows:

  1. JD/MBA
  3. MD/MBA
  4. MHA/MBA
  5. MEng/One-Year MBA



Cost of attendance at Cornell


Since the two-year full-time MBA is the most sought-after MBA program at Cornell, we will concentrate on that throughout the blog.

An education like Cornell’s MBA program is not only rare but also highly aspired, however, that isn’t the only factor in the price of a Cornell education being high.

The tuition of the full-time MBA Program at Cornell is $71,940 for a year, bringing the two-year tuition to an approximate $143,880 (considering tuition for the school isn’t revised). This, however, doesn’t include the living and other expenses and is merely the tuition for the program.
ExpenseCost in USD
Mandatory fee$1,500
Housing and Food$16,800
Health Insurance$3,000
Misc. Expenses$5,000


Scholarships at Cornell


However, like every top business school, Cornell doesn’t rely on a student’s tuition as the primary income. This translates into the school providing hefty scholarships to accepted applicants, making its MBA education much more pocket-friendly.

The school sets aside over $1.5 million each year solely for the purpose of offering scholarships to new students. While most scholarships do not require a separate form, a few do, thus checking out the school’s website to make sure no scholarship opportunity gets missed is a must.

A few scholarships that the school offers are as below:

  1. Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program
  2. GI Bill Assistance
  3. Peter and Stephanie Nolan Veterans Scholarship
  4. Lester B. Knight M.Eng./MBA Scholarship
  5. The MD MBA – Dual Degree Program and the Lee Family Scholarship
  6. TOIGO Fellowship
  7. ROMBA Fellowship
  8. Forté Fellows Program
  9. Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellowship


Cornell Full-Time MBA Application Deadlines 2020


The application for the two-year full-time MBA Program at Cornell will have four complete rounds.

However, after January 8, 2020, applications to the One-year MBA Program, and the Cornell MBA Program will only be reviewed on the basis of the space available in the class for both.

ProgramEarly ActionOctober RoundNovember RoundJanuary RoundRolling/April round
Two-Year MBA ProgramNAOctober 8, 2019November 5, 2019January 8, 2020April 8, 2020
One-Year MBA ProgramNAOctober 8, 2019November 5, 2019January 8, 2020March 5, 2020 (Rolling)
Johnson Cornell Tech MBASeptember 5, 2019October 8, 2019November 5, 2019January 8, 2020March 5, 2020 (Rolling)


The application process for the Cornell Two-Year Full-Time MBA Program


The Cornell Two-Year Full-Time MBA Application process is similar to that of most schools. The criterion of eligibility is graduation from an undergraduate degree equivalent to one form the US. The application is only complete once the applicant pays a fee of $200 after filling in the complete application form.

The following are the requisites of the application form.

Application StepRequirements
TranscriptsA most recent degree from the applicant’s last educational institute is required for the application.
GMAT/GREA candidate can submit unofficial copies of their transcripts during the application, but must provide the official ones during enrollment.
EssaysThree mandatory and a fourth optional essay are present in the Cornell MBA application form. The essay prompts for 2019 are as below.

Mandatory Essays:

Goals Essay- (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?

Impact Essay- (350 words maximum)

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?

Back of Resume essay- (500 Words) (can be submitted as a Word, PDF, PowerPoint, or YouTube Link)

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.

Optional Essay: The optional essay is an open space for the applicant to address any issues or provide any extra information to the admissions committee.
RecommendationsCornell only requires one recommender per applicant. The recommender should be a current supervisor or someone who can talk about the applicant in a professional capacity. If an applicant wishes, however, they can submit a second letter of Recommendation to be reviewed by the admissions committee.
InterviewInterviews are on invitation basis only and are available on-campus, off-campus with an alumnus.


Starting compensation after Cornell Two-Year Full-Time MBA Program


While an Ivy League education comes with a hefty price tag, the returns on that are equally high. The Mean base salary accepted at Cornell by the graduates of the 2018 Two-Year Full-Time MBA class was $126,353. Comparing it to other top schools like Harvard and Wharton, which landed at $158,049 and $159,815 respectively.

Being a finance school, a clear difference in the salaries can be seen depending on the industries that the students selected. As you would notice below, Consulting and Finance professions enjoy the highest average salaries with finance also bagging the highest average signing bonuses.

Consistent top recruiters at Cornell have been firms like EY (Ernst & Young), Amazon, Guggenheim Securities, IBM Corporation, Barclays, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Citigroup, Deloitte Consulting, Deutsche Bank, M&T Bank Corporation, McKinsey & Company, Procter & Gamble, Verizon Communications, and Wayfair.

IndustrySalarySigning Bonus
Consumer Products$106,524$25,208
Energy and Utilities$108,333N/A
Financial Services$133,126$46,688
Health Care$112,900$25,556
Legal Services$182,500$16,667
Real Estate$96,000N/A
Other Industries$86,400N/A


How to create a perfect Cornell MBA Profile


The only way to create a perfect Cornell MBA Profile is to figure out if Cornell is a good fit for you as a business school and then present your best foot forward if that is so.

The school is known majorly as a finance school and proudly states that they do find students that fit the professional profile of Finance and Brand management. Thus, knowing whether you fit with Cornell’s professional vision should be your first step towards knowing how to prepare a profile fit for the school.

However, there are a few things that you could do to give your profile a Cornell touch.


Have 3-5 years of work experience


The MBA class at Cornell usually end up having an average work experience of 3-5 years. While most other business schools suggest that work experience isn’t directly linked to acceptance, Cornell thinks otherwise.

In an interview with US News, admissions officials of Cornell said that work experience was a major factor in post-MBA employability which is a major factor in MBA admissions. Essentially, work experience becomes a huge contributor to getting an acceptance to the school’s MBA program.

When schools suggest outright that a particular factor plays an important role in their evaluation of a candidate, it is unintelligent to not milk that one factor for all its worth.

However, your work experience isn’t evaluated only on the basis of the years you’ve worked full-time. The quality of your work experience, i.e. the type of responsibilities you undertook, your job title, and the value you added to your organization, is also an important criterion.

Before we move on to the next point, a very common mistake that Cornell admissions committee considers fatal to an application is when an applicant leaves a job a few months prior to filling out the MBA applications.


Mention your transferable skills


While admissions committee members don’t directly ask you what your transferrable skills to a business school are, they want to know the same.

Cornell interviews have been known to linger around this topic. Interviewers have shown immense interest in what the applicant’s transferrable skills from their previous education, work experience and life in general to a business school are, and how aware of those the applicant is.

So, while you probably will be asked about the same during interviews, make sure to mention a few while writing your essays too. For example, if you are a literature major, communication would be a transferrable skill you have honed over your undergraduate years, mention it in your essays if possible.


Don’t overthink the essay format


Cornell offers to take their essays in various formats. From PDFs, PowerPoints, and Word Files to YouTube videos, they will accept them all. This results in a lot of brilliant ways that a student can portray their unique and quirky personality while completing their application for Cornell.

However, this can also cause unnecessary anxiety in an applicant to utilize one of the non-traditional methods of essay writing to try to separate themselves from the rest of the applicant pool. While sending in a YouTube video link will set you apart, if you aren’t comfortable in it, you will not be able to get your point across to the admissions committee.

Also, the meat of your essay answer isn’t the format, it’s what you have to say and share. Your point of view and expression are the main features.

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