Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

111 Sage Hall
Ithaca, New York, 14853
Admissions: 607-255-4526 or 800-847-2082

Admission Deadlines for Class of 2015:

Round One: 10/17/112
Round Two: 11/28/12
Round Three: 1/30/13
Round Four: 3/27/13

The two-year MBA program at the S.C. Johnson Graduate School spans 21 months, including a summer internship between the two academic years. The program begins in August, with two weeks of orientation activities that provide a foundation of concepts and skills, as well as an introduction to classmates, faculty, and staff. After orientation, the first year core curriculum provides the building blocks of management education, integrating knowledge in the various management disciplines with hands-on practice in applying it.

During the second year, students choose from at least eighty Johnson electives and they are encouraged to make use of the other colleges, schools, and multidisciplinary centers at Cornell. Johnson students can choose courses not only from the MBA roster but from some 4000 courses offered across the university.

Latest Up-To-Date MBA Rankings:

Poets&Quants (2013): 11
BusinessWeek (2010): 13
Forbes (2011): 8
U.S. News & World Report (2011): 16
Financial Times (2011): 30 (Global), 14 (U.S.)
The Economist (2011): 25 (Global), 15 (U.S.)

Ranking Analysis:

Cornell’s Johnson School had a great rankings year in 2012. The school moved up two places in Poets&Quants’ MBA ranking, finishing in 11th place from 13th in 2011 and 15th in 2010. The reasons for the latest improvement? Johnson moved up in three of the five major rankings this year and stayed steady in the other two.

The school increased its standing in The Financial Times’ 2012 ranking, moving up one spot to 13th from 14th a year earlier. it also had a better showing in The Economist’s survey this year, moving up a more substantial four places to 11th from 15th in 2011. But the really big boost came from Bloomberg BusinessWeek which gave the school a six-place lift to seventh from 13th in 2010, the last time BW ranked full-time MBA programs.

The sizable jump in the BW ranking was due to significantly better results in both the graduate and corporate recruiter satisfaction surveys used by BusinessWeek to rank schools. Only one other school did better than Johnson in the magazine’s graduate satisfaction survey, so Johnson moved into second place from eight in 2010. Indiana University’s Kelley School was the only other MBA program to rank higher on this measure. Johnson also moved up a remarkable 11 places on BW’s corporate recruiter survey, jumping into 12th place this year from 23rd in 2010. That is a very big increase in just a two-year span.

As one highly satisfied Class of 2012 graduate told BusinessWeek: “Johnson makes it a point to really stress working in teams and does so by randomly assigning core teams that are very diverse for our first semester on campus. They have quality faculty that care about their students and they have established a culture that really feels like a community. They are able to do this while still having excellent academics and job placement opportunities.”

Johnson maintained its rank of 16th in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranking. And Forbes, which did not rank schools in 2011, has Johnson in eighth place among the best U.S. full-time MBA programs.

All in all, a very good 2012 rankings year for Cornell followed by a very good 2011.

Top Feeder Colleges & Companies to Cornell:

Top Feeder Colleges to Cornell’s Johnson School
Top Feeder Companies to Cornell’s Johnson School

Interview With Admissions Director:  

The Gatekeeper to the Johnson School at Cornell

MBA Program Consideration Set:

Stretch Schools:  MIT SloanBerkeleyDuke
Match Schools:  VirginiaNew York UniversityMichiganYaleCarnegie MellonUCLA
Safe Schools: North CarolinaTexas at AustinEmoryIndiana

2012-2013 Tuition: $107,592
School Recommended Two-Year Budget: $150,612
Median GMAT: 700
GMAT Range (mid-80%): 630-740
Average GPA: 3.3
Acceptance Rate: 28%

Full-Time Enrollment: 593
International: 30%
Female: 32%
Minority 29%
Mean Age: 27

Average 2012 Base Salary: $106,900
Median Signing Bonus: $20,000
Percentage of Class of 2012 MBAs with Job Offers at Graduation: 86%
Percentage of Class of 2012 MBAs with Job Offers Three Months Later: 92%

Estimate of Total Pay over a 20-Year Career*: $2,844,421 (only 12 other U.S. business schools had higher career pay numbers)

Where Cornell’s Class of 2012 Went to Work:

Detail of jobs accepted
by job function
% students
Mean signing bonus
Consulting 29% $121,800 24,700
Other job functions 2% $120,000 $24,200
Finance – private equity 2% $114,300
Finance – real estate 2% $111,700
General management 4% $103,300 $31,700
Finance – investment banking 13% $103,200 $41,200
Rotational development programs 7% $102,200 $21,700
Finance – sales and trading 4% $100,800 $40,700
Finance – research 6% $100,500 $41,700
Finance – managerial finance 12% $99,100 $21,700
Finance – other 5% $98,200 $27,100
Business development 6% $98,100 $17,300
Marketing 10% $92,900 $23,100


Top Employers of Johnson MBAs

2011 Top Employers MBAs Hired 2010 Top Employers MBAs Hired
Citigroup 21 J.P. Morgan Chase 10
J.P. Morgan 11 Johnson & Johnson 8
Accenture 6 Deloitte Consulting 7
Bank of America 6 American Express 6
Hewlett Packard Co. 6 Citigroup 6
Johnson & Johnson 6 General Electric 6
Deloitte Consulting 5 S.C. Johnson & Son 4
Deutsche Bank 5 Unilever 4
Goldman Sachs 5 McKinsey & Co. 3
Procter & Gamble 5 Colgate-Palmolive 3
UBS Investment Bank 5 PriceWaterhouseCoopers 3
American Express 4 Deutsche Bank 3
Bain & Co. 4 BNP Paribas 3
BNP Paribas 4 Ernst & Young 3
Cisco Systems 4 Morgan Stanley 3

Source: Johnson Employment Reports

Notes: MBA Program Consideration Set: If you believe you’re a close match to this school–based on your GMAT and GPA scores,  your age and work experience, you should look at these other competitive full-time MBA programs as well. We list them by stretch, match and safety. These options are presented on the basis of brand image and ranking status.

* Payscale 2010 estimate for Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

From Johnson:

Why Johnson?

Johnson at Cornell is an intense, collaborative Ivy League business school in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the world, Johnson is distinguished by its cutting-edge teaching, community feel, real-world business immersions, small class sizes, excellent recruitment, and international flavor. Our graduates consistently succeed in every industry and geography in the world.

At any given time, Johnson has roughly 650 MBA + PhD students and roughly 90 faculty.  Johnson’s tradition of working and socializing together leads to an unusually strong sense of community and collegiality. The average age of the students is 27, and the average work experience is five years. Women make up 29 percent of the class; members of minority groups, 29 percent; and international students, 32 percent. About one third of the MBA students are married. At Johnson, your peers participate in 72 MBA clubs, from the Asia Business Association to Women’s Management Council and engage in numerous planned and impromptu study groups and social outings. Johnson’s small class sizes and community focus guarantee that you will make some lifelong friends and build your professional network.

What We Offer

  • Two-Year MBA: Applicants to our Two-Year MBA program value collaboration and want to hone their leadership skills. They already possess great leadership potential, and expect their MBA program to help them maximize it. They seek significant career growth and new opportunities. They want to be part of an intense, diverse, and authentic community, and want to attach Cornell’s Ivy League reputation to their own.
  • Accelerated MBA: Applicants to our Accelerated MBA program typically have clearly defined career paths. Some return to the business side of their technical or scientific organizations; others pursue careers in consulting, marketing, international business, and other fields. They’ve already earned master’s or doctoral degrees in rigorous quantitative fields, and have proven that they possess excellent leadership potential. Some even choose to pursue a dual degree.
    • Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA:  Johnson at Cornell University and Queen’s School of Business, two of North America’s premier business schools, have partnered to create the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA Program. Featuring a general management curriculum and a team-based learning environment, the program allows graduates to earn two highly ranked MBA degrees in just 16 months of classes, without career interruption. Classes are held in various locations across North America, Canada, and Latin America.
    • Executive MBA: The Cornell Executive MBA Program combines the rigor and depth of a traditional MBA program with the general management curriculum and weekend format of an executive degree program. Classes are held at the IBM Executive Conference Center in Palisades, New York.

Program and Curricular Focus

Johnson’s program combines rigor and flexibility. A first-year core includes integration among functional areas and a heavy emphasis on financial analysis, case analysis, and strategic topics. Also included in the core curriculum is the development of leadership, team building, strategic thinking, and communication skills. One prime example of this orientation is the Integrative Case Competition, which requires students to integrate materials covered during the semester and apply that knowledge to a complex business problem. Teams of students discuss a real-life case study and formulate a plan of action, presenting their case to a panel of judges. The competition, a part of the Managerial Finance and Strategy core courses, counts toward the students’ final course grades.

Core courses are scheduled so students may take elective courses during their first year to gain advanced training prior to the summer internship. Most students participate in the acclaimed immersion courses, which are currently offered in strategic operations, managerial finance, investment banking, capital markets and asset management, entrepreneurship and private equity, strategic marketing, and sustainable global enterprise. Immersion courses offer an integrated, real-world focus, which has made them vastly popular with students and recruiters alike.
The Parker Center for Investment Research, the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, the Emerging Markets Institute, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute are leading-edge institutions for the research and study of those areas vital to business.

There are many opportunities for students to apply their skills to their areas of interest. For example, the Cayuga Fund LLC and the BR Ventures capital fund give students opportunities to work on investment funds hands-on. Johnson students are also encouraged to make full use of Cornell’s other internationally renowned programs, such as industrial and labor relations, biotechnology, law, engineering, public policy, international development, hotel administration, and advanced computing. A significant portion of the credits required to complete the MBA program may be fulfilled with any graduate-level course at Cornell.

Students and the MBA Experience

Global Focus

Johnson features a student body with approximately one-third international students, myriad opportunities for classroom learning in international business, and a wealth of international activities. The wide variety of courses in international subjects features prominent guest speakers from around the world.

Experiential learning opportunities in the international management area include study trips to such places as the European Union, Asia, Latin America, and many transition economies. Students can pursue a joint MBA/M.A. in Asian studies. In addition, second-year students in Johnson’s resident two-year MBA program can participate in exchange programs with twenty-five international schools of business, including two through which dual MBA degrees are awarded.

Extracurricular symposia, conferences, and speaker programs bring top international executives to the campus; activities such as International Week provide informal social settings for networking and learning. Students have opportunities to attend internationally oriented conferences, and several student clubs are dedicated to international and regional issues.
Johnson’s Career Management Center includes a full-time staff member dedicated to assisting international students and U.S. students targeting careers abroad. Johnson’s international mentorship program matches students with its powerful and diverse international alumni for one-on-one career assistance.

More »

Special Features

The highly competitive two-year, full-tuition Park Fellowships, open only to U.S. citizens, are awarded to up to 25 entering two-year MBA students each year. Park Fellows receive enriched leadership opportunities and are required to complete a leadership project.
The Accelerated MBA allows individuals who hold graduate degrees in scientific or technical fields and who have proven quantitative skills to complete an accelerated core curriculum during the summer (May to August) and join the second-year class in the fall.

Johnson offers dual-degree programs that confer an MBA plus a degree in human resources management, engineering, law, Asian studies, or medicine. It is possible to pursue a dual-degree option with most master’s programs at Cornell.

Two executive options to the MBA program are offered, both taught by regular faculty members and ultimately granting students Johnson MBAs. First, the Executive MBA (E.MBA) program, taught on alternative weekends in the New York City area, is an intensive year-round program that takes twenty-two months to complete. Second, Johnson’s sixteen-month Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA, given in partnership with Queen’s School of Business (Kingston, Ontario), uses a combination of on-campus sessions and interactive multipoint videoconferencing to deliver program material to learning teams located at sites in the U.S. and Canada; graduating students receive MBA degrees from both Cornell and Queen’s.
Students in both executive programs must have substantial management experience and be sponsored by their employers.

The Faculty

Johnson faculty members consistently receive high marks for the quality of their research and teaching. Johnson believes that world-class research translates into leading-edge teaching. Because of their links with the business world, the faculty members are also an excellent resource for career advice.

The University and Environment

Cornell is an Ivy League university with over 19,000 students from 100+ countries. Ithaca, with its combination of cosmopolitan sophistication and small-town accessibility, offers residents the best of both worlds—diverse cultural offerings and recreational activities in a beautiful setting of lakes, waterfalls, forests, and countryside. Students with families find it a hospitable place for balancing family and career; the public school system is excellent.

Diversity and Inclusion

Here at Johnson, we build on Ezra Cornell’s unique and powerful 1865 vision: to found “an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” Johnson proudly expanded on this vision as the first top-tier business school to create an office dedicated to supporting women and under-represented groups in 1999. Today, Johnson’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) focuses on increasing diversity and promoting inclusiveness at Johnson and in the global business community.


Sage Hall, Johnson’s home, is located in the center of the Cornell campus. A $38.2-million historic renovation project has turned one of Cornell’s original and most dramatic buildings into one of the most technologically advanced management education centers in the world.

Cornell Classes

In addition to their core classes and electives, Johnson students can choose from 4,000 courses of study in 100 academic departments; from architecture to Urdu, Cornell can accommodate almost any academic interest.

Technology Environment

Sage Hall’s state-of-the-art technology infrastructure includes fiber-optic cable throughout the building; 1,600 computer ports including 802.11a/b/g wireless connectivity, distance learning, and teleconferencing capabilities; a student computing lab; a student business service center; a business simulation lab; and access to live electronic data feeds from the top financial information services. The Parker Center’s Trading Room is equipped with millions of dollars’ worth of sophisticated analyst software. Students are required to own laptop computers.


Johnson’s Career Management Center (CMC) helps students into an integrated career-management program as soon as the new class arrives on campus. CMC Core Programming provides foundation courses in self-assessment, understanding the marketplace, positioning, networking, and more. Dedicated career assist students with focuses searches in finance, marketing, consulting, sustainable global enterprise, and international options for Americans seeking positions abroad, as well as for international students seeking positions in the U.S. There are 10,000 Johnson School alumni and 250,000 Cornell alumni around the world who can offer pertinent information and career advice. Students are encouraged to network with alumni, are taught effective networking techniques, and have full access to the online alumni directories.
The CMC manages an extensive on-campus recruiting program for both summer internships and full-time employment. Every year, about two-thirds of the students obtain their jobs through on-campus recruitment activities. Johnson also participates in a variety of career forums and corporate recruiting events worldwide.

Johnson Team Leadership Experience

In your first week, and continuing through your first semester, you will participate in the Johnson Team Leadership Experience, a required course for all incoming students. You will be assigned to a Core Team of five people, with whom you’ll collaborate to complete your Core Curriculum group assignments.

At Johnson, every student is required to lead a major Core Team project and every student is required to provide feedback to other team members on their leadership of major Core Team assignments. You and your team will receive coaching throughout the Fall Core from your Johnson Leadership Fellow. This will include review of, and coaching on, the feedback that you provide to your team members, as well as the feedback that you receive on your leadership.

Through this experiential cycle of learning, practice, feedback, and reflection, you will hone your team and personal leadership styles and learn how best to leverage your unique personal strengths.


Johnson has more than $1 million in merit-based scholarship funds to award each year to new and returning students in addition to federal, institutional, and private educational loan funds. International applicants receive similar consideration as U.S. citizens for merit-based scholarships. An international student loan program without a cosigner, or private educational loan programs with a credit worthy U.S. citizen cosigner or U.S. permanent resident cosigner, is also available. The Park Leadership Fellows Program provides up to twenty-five full-tuition awards each year. This two-year fellowship program is founded on a leadership theme that emphasizes professional achievements as well as personal contribution. The Park Leadership Fellows Program is limited to U.S. citizens.

Cornell NYCTech Campus

Cornell University and its partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, were selected to realize New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vision for a cutting-edge NYC Tech Campus that will serve as a global magnet for tech talent and entrepreneurship. This creates exciting opportunities for both Cornell and Johnson. While precise plans are still taking shape for this long-term project, Johnson intends to offer courses in NYC beginning with our Accelerated MBA programs for those with technical degrees like our MBA/MEng dual degree and PhD/MBA. The summer core coursework for the Accelerated MBA program will most likely be in Ithaca initially. In New York City, courses in entrepreneurship, innovation, commercialization, and others are planned.


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