Top Feeder Companies to Cornell’s Johnson School

Three of the Big Four accounting firms are among the major suppliers of talent to Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business this year, but the number one firm is J.P. Morgan/Chase, according to an analysis of Facebook profiles by PoetsandQuants.

The financial giant accounts for an estimated 4.3% of Cornell’s Class of 2013.

Deloitte, the second largest company represented in the class, leads the Big Four firms. It is followed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. Ernst & Young did not have a single student in the sample studied by Poets&Quants.

The data provides a rare glimpse into the educational and work backgrounds of the students accepted and enrolled at Cornell’s Johnson School. Business schools keep this information close to the vest, never disclosing this information in typical class profiles. By it’s very nature, this is a somewhat incomplete picture. Poets&Quants was able to verify the employers of 115 members of the class of some 275 enrolled MBA candidates.

Among the limited sample, there was not a single consultant from McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting Group, or Bain–the top three feeder companies to both Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of Business this year–though there was a representative from Bain Capital.

By and large, the Facebook profiles show an exceptionally diverse group of MBA candidates, ranging from the depty chief of staff for New York’s city council and the group product manager of new media from the Republican National Committee to the online publicity manager for publisher John Wiley & Sons and an infantry officer from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. One admitted entrepreneur, a self-described “web nerd,” founded three companies, including the website Bitter Girls LLC.

Of course, the pedigree of one’s work background is just one of many factors used by admissions to decide whether to admit or deny an applicant. Unlike GMAT scores, grade point averages, however, it’s one of the more mysterious factors because no B-school publicly discloses the employers of their admits.  Yet, the company where an applicant worked can loom large in an admissions decision, often given far more consideration than most admissions directors will admit (see Getting Into Wharton: Does College & Work Pedigree Trump Merit?).

“School and job pedigree count more than schools would like to publicize because the mythology of admissions is that everyone starts equal, and schools are open to all comers,” says Sanford Kreisberg, an MBA admissions consultant who runs “But schools are not equally open to all comers, and job pedigree especially can be critical, even more so than schooling. You are not getting into Harvard Business School or Wharton from the local bakery or real estate office.”

Top Feeder Companies to Cornell’s Johnson School Estimated 

% of

Class of 2013


Number in

Class of 2013


Found in


1. J.P. Morgan/Chase New York, NY 4.3% 12 5
2. Deloitte New York, NY 3.5% 10 4
3. Accenture New York, NY 2.6% 7 3
4. Deutsche Bank Frankfurt, Germany 1.7% 5 2
4. PriceWaterhouseCoopers New York, NY 1.7% 5 2
4. KPMG New York, NY 1.7% 5 2
4. IBM Armonk, NY 1.7% 5 2
4. Cornell University Ithaca, NY 1.7% 5 2

Source: These numbers are calculated from Cornell University’s Johnson School Class of 2013 Facebook page. The work backgrounds of 115 members of the incoming class of some 275 students could be verified by Poets&Quants. The sample size represents 41.8% of the entire class. The estimate of students from a specific company are based on the percentage of the confirmed sample who have come from that firm. Data compiled by Diana Tarrazo.

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