Meet The Cornell Johnson MBA Class of 2017

Erik Suspanic

Erik Suspanic

Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

Hometown: New York, NY

Undergraduate School and Major: Davidson College — Political Science

Employers and Job Titles since Graduation:

Nathan Associates Inc. — Program Assistant, International Development Economics

Counterpart International — Humanitarian Assistance Intern

Jatukik Providence Foundation — Business Development Intern

Ambrit International School (Rome, Italy) — Assistant English Teacher

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Try to take the test as early in the process as possible. Taking the test early will allow you to focus on other aspects of your application without the distraction of the GMAT or GRE. Scores are valid for five years, so this is a good strategy even if you do not plan to apply to school for another few years.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? If you hope to be in a specific region or city after completing your MBA, make sure to note where the school’s students end up after graduation. Many schools have strong ties to businesses in their region, and their job placement statistics reflect this.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Avoid the temptation to immediately start putting pen to paper. Take some time to think through your application story. What you’ve achieved so far? Where you want to go? How will an MBA help you get there? Once you clarify how these three things are connected, you’ll be able to approach your essays and prepare for your interviews with much more confidence and efficiency.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? One of the most important reasons was Johnson’s immersion learning program. The immersion combines coursework in a specific industry or career area with hands-on learning experience. Because the program takes place in the second semester of the first year, students can apply these new skills and experiences directly to summer internships. Small class size, strong programs in global sustainable business, and Cornell’s extensive alumni network were also important reasons for my decision to attend Johnson.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? In addition to developing specific skills that will be important for my career progression, I hope to make good friends, learn from my fellow students, contribute to student clubs on campus, and take advantage of opportunities to travel and work on international projects.

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