Meet The Cornell Johnson MBA Class of 2017

Matt Weisse

Matt Weisse

Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

Hometown: Tolland, CT

Undergraduate School and Major: Bentley University, Corporate Finance and Accounting

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Natural Markets Food Group – Senior Financial Analyst, Senior Accountant, Staff Accountant; IBM – Experienced Solution Analyst, Solution Analyst

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? First, set a deadline and schedule the test.  This sounds obvious, but by committing to a date early on in the process, it forced me to remain focused. I couldn’t afford to procrastinate or have a change or heart.  Second, I found that regularly sitting for full practice tests (including IR and AWA) prepared me for the end-to-end grind of test day and helped me with pacing on the verbal and quantitative sections. When I got to the actual exam, I knew when to skip a question and cut my losses.

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? Take the time to make a list of what YOU are looking for and be a bit picky. My earliest applications were unfocused and un-compelling because I was simply applying where people said I should apply. When I took the time to drill down into what I wanted in class sizes, core requirements, community involvement, etc., I was able to identify those schools that made the most sense for me. Not coincidentally, I was much more successful on the admissions end as well.

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? Start early!  The process literally takes hundreds of hours and is not something you want to rush. Get the GMAT out of the way first (if possible) and give the recommenders a heads-up. Get to know the schools before you start writing the essays. Once you do start, leave ample time to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite…  As for the interviews, be prepared, but be yourself.  You should know the school inside-and-out, but use that information so that in correlates with your story, not simply to ramble off everything you memorized.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose Johnson at Cornell because it had the best of all worlds for me. These include small class size on a beautiful campus, not in a large city. The core allows me to exempt classes in which I already have experience, so I can use all of my credits to learn new things.  The curriculum has a strong focus on leadership, and will allow me to pursue a career in consulting while complementing that interest with studies in other fields – both by taking focused immersions as well as classes at Cornell’s other schools. The Ivy League name and proximity to snowboarding didn’t hurt either…

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I would like to meet every member of my class, and succeed in areas beyond my undergraduate degree and work experience. I would like to make a difference in the Ithaca community, and I want to go abroad as often as possible.  I plan to make the most of this opportunity and to have fun along the way.

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