2019 MBAs To Watch: Harrison Jobe, Cornell University (Johnson)

Harrison Jobe

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

“A creative who seeks optimism.”

Hometown: Greensboro, NC

Fun fact about yourself: I share a birthday with Beyoncé.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; BA, Political Science

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? The New York Times — News Service and Syndication Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? NPR (Washington, D.C.)

Where will you be working after graduation? In progress.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-President, Student Council
  • Founder and Executive Producer, Present Value (Podcast that aims to bring ideas and insights from Cornell thought-leaders to curious minds everywhere—Present Value Podcast)
  • Johnson Leadership Fellow
  • Designer, Cornell Business Journal
  • Co-President, Follies

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Launching and producing the Present Value podcast has been the most fulfilling achievement during my time at Johnson. It has been a privilege to engage with the university’s most prolific academics, sharing their research and insights through a professionally produced podcast that remains independent and completely student-run. I’m proud that we have ensured its legacy by mentoring a new team of first-year students that will continue to produce episodes and innovate new ways to share Cornell’s intellectual capital with listeners from around the world.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My internship at NPR in the summer of 2018 was a very satisfying experience in my professional career. The position, with NPR’s Business Development and Strategy Group, afforded me great autonomy to explore the issues that I believed were most important to address to ensure the long-term health of the organization. After three months of investigating, I presented my findings and recommendations to senior executives and I know that I helped add valuable context for significant decisions the organization will need to make in the years to come.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Bob Frank, Professor of Management, Strategy and Business Economics. Frank fosters a level of discourse about economics that is unmatched. My worldview is now imbued with much of his broad philosophy, which connects economic incentives to natural phenomena. I am grateful that he is eager to engage in discussions and debates outside of class during Cornell social events. He was also our first guest on Present Value, trusting our team before we had demonstrated the quality of the product.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries, taught by Professor Mukti Khaire, Professor of the Practice. This was a case-based course (in which Khaire authored each case) that allowed for lively discussions. I came away with a more thorough understanding of “intermediaries” and their importance in shaping public opinion of cultural goods and disseminating information. You can hear her discuss many of the topics from the course on episode six of Present Value.

Why did you choose this business school? A friend of mine, Graham Pearson, MBA’18, was in the program when I began my application process and strongly encouraged me to consider Cornell Johnson. What I discovered was a program that balanced an elite reputation with a strong sense of community and real opportunities to create and lead.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I would take advantage of the admissions process to get in touch with current students to learn about how they’ve managed their MBA experience. Avoid asking for direct advice on the application process (be wary of those insisting they know how the admissions process works). Instead, connect with students with whom you have shared interests. If you wind up enrolling, many of these students you had previously connected with will still be on campus as second-year students and will ease your transition to business school, enabling you to hit the ground running.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Cornell Johnson is that we experience year-round terrible weather. Yes, it becomes cold in the winter and occasionally snows, but these are common attributes for all towns and cities in the Northeast. Ithaca is a wonderful city, year-round. There are literally waterfalls running right through campus—it’s stunning.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? For some reason, I had it in my mind that an MBA would be a very prescriptive endeavor. It turns out, you must be quite independent and enterprising to get the most out of your time at business school. You can’t expect a program’s required curriculum to deliver a truly fulfilling or tailored experience. You have to actively search for courses, extracurricular activities, and professors who inspire you and sometimes even create new initiatives to satisfy your interests.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Without hesitation, my fellow founder and executive producer of Present Value, Michael Brady, is the classmate I most admire. Brady has given back to the school and its students in countless, sometimes unacknowledged, ways. Our collaborative and productive relationship on various projects, including the podcast, Cornell Business Journal, and Follies, has been a cornerstone of my time in business school. He is creative, intellectually honest, and raises the discourse of any academic course he is involved with

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I did not pursue business in college. I was a political science major with goals of becoming a journalist. However, during my post-college editorial internship at NPR, I discovered that the business side of media was more to my liking. And indeed, the revenue side of journalism would prove to be a challenge for the industry as digital advancements continue to disrupt traditional business models.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a political journalist.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it—worth more or worth less? Many publications attempt to calculate the value or even “ROI” of a business school education, taking into account variables like salary increases, cost of living, cost of program, etc. I find this method of calculation belies the true value of the MBA experience. In truth, it is such a wonderful privilege, later in life, to return to a university setting with the express intention to grow and learn: Learn from your professors, classmates, and leadership opportunities. For the intellectually curious, I cannot recommend business school enough.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Fluency in another language

Improvisational jazz piano

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like my peers to remember me as a fun-loving and productive member of the Johnson community who created lasting value for the school.

Hobbies? Squash, piano

What made Harrison such an invaluable member of the Class of 2019?

“Harrison Jobe’s MBA journey is emblematic of leadership innovation and positive impact, whether as co-chair of the Johnson Student Council, or as the creator of Present Value Podcasts, or through his chosen career path in government and politics. As Student Council co-chair along with Symone Williams (MBA ’19), he led the creation of a first-ever cohort system at Johnson to complement Johnson’s well-known close-knit collaborative community and strengthen it across programs. This will be a lasting legacy. Harrison also partnered with his colleague Michael Brady (MBA ’19) to create Present Value Podcasts, an exceptionally high-quality new series that distills the academic contributions and research of star Cornell faculty such as Mark Nelson, Maureen O’Hara, Bob Frank, and Steven Strogatz into accessible and fun audio content. The podcasts are rich, well-researched, amazing content done entirely by students, led through the efforts of Harrison and Michael. Harrison’s drive for positive impact continues as he graduates and works toward his career.”

Vishal Gaur

Associate Dean for MBA Programs and Emerson Professor of Manufacturing Management

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