Meet Cornell Johnson’s MBA Class Of 2020

Alyssa Johnson

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

“Lawyer-turned-banker, food and wine enthusiast, avid explorer.”

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I love eating at restaurants that don’t have a menu in English and picking a dish at random.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Sydney, Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honors)/ Bachelor of Arts in Spanish & Latin American Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: ANZ Bank, Senior Relationship Credit Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It would be my promotion from Relationship Manager to Senior Relationship Credit Manager at ANZ. Banking in Australia is a male-dominated profession and following my promotion I was one of two female senior managers in my division. I was proud to be a role model for junior women at the bank who aspired to management roles.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Talented. Each of the classmates that I’ve met has been talented in a unique and often amazing way. From marathon running to running their own businesses, I am constantly impressed by the diverse achievements of everyone I meet.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I chose Johnson because of the school’s focus on community. When I was exploring MBA programs, I knew I wanted to be part of a small, tight-knit program where I could greet classmates by name. Johnson really stood out as all of the students and alumni I spoke with highlighted the supportive, community-minded atmosphere in Ithaca.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Women’s Management Council – a key reason I chose Johnson was the focus on increasing the number of women completing MBAs and supporting women in business. At Johnson, I look forward to supporting my current classmates and meeting potential future classmates through the Women’s Management Council.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After five years of full-time work, I was in a management role and climbing the career ladder. I knew that in order to become a well-rounded and inclusive leader, I needed to take the time to pursue an MBA.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I’ve always viewed education as the best investment I can make in myself. I viewed the MBA as a good investment that would constantly challenge me and put me outside of my comfort zone from both an academic and personal perspective.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Duke, Darden, Tuck and Yale.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The main way I analyzed fit was by reaching out to our current students and asking about their experiences. I tried to connect with students that had similar interests or backgrounds to my own, be it nationality, career or personal interests. After these discussions, I asked myself if I could see myself

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? As a five year-old, my family moved from Australia to the Philippines. Living abroad at a young age fueled my life-long love of travel and interest in other cultures. Thus far, I’ve been fortunate to live on four continents!

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After I graduate, I plan on working internationally for an organization that values employee (and customer) diversity, and challenges me to continue to develop my leadership skills.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Living and working abroad for a global company.

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