Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Almost Ballerina
GRE ..., GPA ...
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Darden | Mr. Engineer Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Public Finance
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Startup
GRE 327, GPA 3.35
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3

Cornell’s Stunning NYC Campus Opens For Business

The Bloomberg Center is named after Michael Bloomberg’s two daughters, the result of a $100 million pledge


The new campus has its origins in an idea hatched in the mayor’s office in December of 2010, less than seven years ago. Bob Steel and Seth Pinsky, two senior aides in Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s office, came up with the idea as a way to jumpstart a broader diversity of economic activity in New York. Goveror Andrew Cuomo, speaking at the dedication of the campus, noted that “we were losing ground in the tech space. We weren’t competing…and we were slow to the starting gate.”

Steel and Pinsky pitched Mayor Bloomberg on an aggressive strategy to catchup, by getting a world class university to be at the center of a tech ecosystem similar to Silicon Valley. They thought the best way to jumpstart the process was to invite universities to compete against each other for a new campus in New York City. At the time, Steel was the deputy mayor for economic developlemtn, while Pinsky was president of the NYC Economic Development Corp. It was, says Bloomberg, “a wild and some said unrealistic idea.”

Several universities, including Stanford University, tossed their hat into the competitive ring. But ultimately Cornell University, in partnership with Israel’s Technicon, gained the rights to the land. “When Bloomberg launched the competition in 2011, we knew we had to win this competition,” recalls Robert Harrison, chairman of Cornell’s Board of Trustees.


Even before the campus was planned, Cornell began taking over space in Google’s building in New York. Already, Cornell Tech has spun out 38 startups, with 94% of the jobs in those fledging firms based in New York City. “This campus helps bring New York City back to the future,” boasts Bloomberg.

One core cultural attribute of Cornell Tech is the cross-disciplinary work that defines the academic approach. Unlike most business schools that stand alone and often isolated on university campuses, Johnson’s graduate operations here are integrated with students and faculty from other disciplines. The Tech MBA, for example, includes what the school calls a product studio project in which MBA students work within a cross-functional team of classmates that includes law, engineering and computer science students charged with developing a tech-driven solution to the strategic business needs of a real client.

A primary goal of the new campus is to rethink conventional academia. There are no private offices for faculty on the new campus. Conference rooms are called “discovery rooms” to encourage the process of discovery. “We’re reinventing graduate education for the digital age,” proclaims Cornell University President Martha Pollack, citing the cross-disciplinary approach and the fact that a third of the academic time is spent in a studio rather than a classroom. “Academia and industry are linked together. Companies are a permanent part of this campus.”

A lounge on the 26th floor of The House, the residential tower on the Cornell Tech campus


The Cornell Tech campus was specifically designed and custom-built to support interdisciplinary interaction among students and faculty and collaboration with industry. “Everyone is very eager to start something on the new campus — to contribute to what is shaping into an already life-changing experience,” says Julia Hawkins, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA ’18. “People are organizing across disciplines to form clubs, athletic teams, game nights and startups. There are few physical barriers between students and faculty — when there are walls or doors, they are often made of glass or movable.” Moreover, she adds, “most of us live 100 feet away and can run up to our apartments in five minutes or less.”

“It’s incredibly exciting and humbling to be a part of the inaugural class on the new campus,” says Khemi Cooper, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA ’18. “We’re all eager to help shape what the future looks like for Cornell Tech.” Asked about how the new space feels in terms of facilitating interdisciplinary interaction among students, faculty, and industry, she adds: “The studio space at The Bridge feels particularly collaborative in design. From walls you can write on to moveable boards and work spaces, you quickly get the sense that the space was not meant for a standard curriculum. It feels more like a startup environment.”

“The campus is simply fantastic,” says Maximillain Kaye, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA ’17, citing the building designs, scenic views, and park-like atmosphere. With the addition of chocolate manufacturer Ferrero International as the newest corporate tenant on the new campus, he says, “you can begin to see the types of partners Cornell Tech attracts: those that are disrupting big industries but need the help of young innovators and developers on the ground developing solutions to their biggest business and technology needs. This is exactly how Cornell Tech adds value to the entrepreneurship community.”


At a recent state-of-the-school event on the Ithaca campus, Nelson told MBA students that the school is now at a moment that is not unlike the recent eclipse. “A lot of things have come together for a moment in time,” he says. “We’ve got $150 million, potentially taking it to $300 million,” he said, in a reference to the $150 million matching pledge from alum H. Fisk Johnson in January. “How often do you have the people, the places and the money and support from alumni to do amazing things?”

Now, it’s only a question of taking advantage of all those parts to make magic happen.

The Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island

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.