Harvard | Mr. Soldier Boy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Stanford GSB | Ms. CPA To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. Michelin Man
GMAT 780, GPA 8.46/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Airline Developer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
Harvard | Mr. Latino Banker
GRE 332, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Lean Manufacturing
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Native Norwegian
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55
Tuck | Mr. First Gen Student
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Darden | Ms. Environmental Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Go-Getter
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Global Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
HEC Paris | Ms Journalist
GRE -, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Ms. Social Impact To Tech
GMAT -, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD Explorer
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Automotive Project Manager
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
NYU Stern | Mr. Honor Roll Student
GRE 320, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
MIT Sloan | Mr. AI & Robotics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Social Entrepreneur
GRE 328, GPA 3.0

Cornell Revamps Its Two-Year MBA Program

Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

Despite all the silly criticism about how the MBA needs to change and adapt to a new and different world, every business school is continuing to evolve what is taught in an MBA program and how it is taught. Perhaps more than any other professional school, business schools have consistently shown that they are far more responsive to marketplace needs than the rest of academia.

Sometimes, these changes are evolutionary, a handful of new electives in the course catalog, a few case studies that get switched out or updated in a semester or year. Sometimes, they are far reaching, the result of feedback from all major stakeholders: students, alumni, faculty, and corporate recruiters. The latest major update comes from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

After a two-year review, the school has rolled out to the Class of 2016 a new curriculum for its two-year MBA program. It’s the first major update to Cornell’s MBA experience in seven years, and the revamped program places greater emphasis on collaboration, leadership, and analytical skills to better prepare students for a technology-driven global business environment.

CORNELL MBA REVAMP FOLLOW THOSE AT KELLOGG, WHARTON & HARVARD

Those are a bundle of buzzwords you’ll find on the websites of every modern business school. They’re also words that have come up in recent updates to the MBA programs at both the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and Harvard Business School. So what has Cornell done to give real meaning to them? Poets&Quants recently interviewed Vishal Gaur, associate dean for MBA programs at Cornell, to find out.

Vishal Gaur, associate dean for MBA programs at Cornell

Vishal Gaur, associate dean for MBA programs at Cornell

With something of a baby face, Gaur looks more like an undergraduate student than a professor of operations management. Before joining Johnson in 2007, he was an assistant professor at NYU Stern School of Business during 2001-07 and a visiting associate professor at Harvard Business School during 2007-08. Gaur teaches the MBA core course in operations management and an MBA elective course in retail operations. He became associate dean for MBA programs last July, overseeing an MBA experience that

is currently ranked 15th best in the U.S. by Poets&Quants, with the school’s highest ranking—ninth—from Forbes magazine and its lower placing 17th by U.S. News & World Report.

The changes aren’t expected to impact the welcoming and inclusive culture of the program. Students here have long praised the school for its close-knit and highly collaborative community feel as well as the intelligence and experience classmates bring to the school. The fact that Johnson students are more-or-less isolated from major city life in upstate New York helps to foster a much more collaborative community environment than you might find at other schools. On the other hand, if students have gripes, they tend to be about the somewhat isolating location that can make Johnson a challenge when students have to travel for interviews, conferences or case competitions.

‘MBA PROGRAMS HAVE GOTTEN BUSIER AND BUSIER OVER THE YEARS’

The process to revitalize Cornell’s MBA program–launched three years ago–is a model of how to connect with one’s market and learn from it. Gaur points out that the study behind the changes included student and alumni focus groups, peer benchmarking of the top 25 MBA programs, and surveys of students, alumni, corporate recruiters, faculty, and staff. More than 50 corporate executives were interviewed. The process reached more than 1,000 students and graduates from the last 12 MBA class years alone.

But it all started with the realization that a fresh approach was in order. “Johnson needed to do a curriculum review because our previous one had been done quite some time ago and the MBA landscape keeps changing quite rapidly,” explains Gaur.  “There have been small changes over the years, but no major review since at least seven years. In that time, MBA programs have gotten busier and busier over the years so students need to balance the increased demands on their time.”

During the review process, Cornell found that alumni and recruiters focused more on skills, while students, not surprisingly, placed more emphasis on the logistics of the program and its execution.  Students provided insights on how to organize the core and the immersions in the spring semester. “Our core is considered to be extremely intense,” says Gaur. “Students were complaining that the first year was too stressful for them.”

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.