Meet The Cornell Johnson MBA Class of 2017

Megan Baxter

Megan Baxter

Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

Hometown: Tallahassee, FL

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Florida — Environmental Engineering Sciences

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Parsons Corporation — Associate Engineer and Engineer I

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? I would recommend taking the GMAT (or GRE) under timed conditions before investing in a prep course to identify knowledge gaps and to see whether online resources and self-study are sufficient to achieve your target score. If your score is much lower than your target, a prep course would be the most time efficient way to help you target the areas where you are weakest and to improve your score versus self-study.

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? During my search, I read over and over again that applying for MBA programs is not just about rankings. This is incredibly true. It is crucial to weigh other factors, such as location, class size, and fit, which weighed heavily for me. You are going to spend two years of your life with your classmates, and it is important to enjoy spending time with them and learning from their triumphs, failures, strengths, and weaknesses. I recommend visiting schools to get an understanding of what the culture is like at each program. Visiting programs will also help you in writing your essays, since you will be better able to explain why a program is right for you.

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? Give yourself plenty of time to write essays, make sure your voice is in your work, and be authentic — don’t just write what you think the admissions committee wants to read. Also, ask friends and or family to review your essays because they know you best and can provide great feedback.

As for admissions interviews, if you are traveling for an in-person interview, make sure you give yourself adequate time to reach your destination and relax before the big event. Also, getting plenty of sleep the night before is key.

Ask for recommendations from recommenders who know you well, not just from those who may have impressive titles. Admissions officers read thousands of recommendations and really want to get a sense of who you are as a person. If someone doesn’t know you and your work ethic, the recommendation will ring hollow and will not help admissions officers get to know you.

The process of applying to MBA programs is stressful, and you are not alone — we all went through it. Stay the course, enjoy the ride, and best of luck to you!

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I limited my application to programs where I knew I would be challenged and where I could see myself fitting into the program culture. Ultimately, I decided to go to Johnson because of the faculty, curriculum, focus on leadership, and the caliber of students in the program. After all, the other individuals in your program are going to help you develop and grow throughout your MBA – and you want to be able to contribute the same for them.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Classes have not even started and I’ve already met some of the outstanding MBA candidates in my program. In addition to obtaining a world-class education and participating in amazing experiences, I would like to form lifelong bonds with these amazing people before I graduate.

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