Meet Cornell Johnson’s MBA Class Of 2023

Historic Sage Hall

3) Cornell Tech: “The Fintech courses in New York City at the Cornell Tech campus were a big draw because it will allow me to take cutting edge courses, interact with fintech experts, and network with tech students at a state-of-the-art campus.”
Sophia Lo (’23)

4) World-Class Faculty: “I am incredibly excited to take leadership courses with Professors Michelle Duguid, Risa Mish, and Ya-Ru Chen. They are not only exceptional scholars, but have successfully navigated the male-dominated spheres of academia and business. I can only imagine how valuable their advice will be as I embark on my own business career. Outside of academics, I look forward to joining the Ski & Snowboard Club. Having lived in the tropics for the years between undergrad and business school, I have had limited opportunities to hit the slopes. I can’t wait to ski more regularly this winter and bond with classmates on the chairlifts.”
Natalia Rovira Rodrigues (’23)

5) Diversity: “First and foremost, I researched schools that valued Diversity and Inclusion. I decided to apply only to Consortium member schools, whose missions include promotion and the inclusion of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans in American business. I believe representation matters, and if I’m the only Latina in the room, I want to be in a place where I’m able to open the door for other minorities like me. Through the diversity of faces that I saw at the many virtual events sponsored by the school, such as Meet & Greets for Consortium and Latin American students and a Consortium Super Day, I was assured that Cornell’s MBA program embodies these important values.” Gabriella Del Río-Dávila (’23)

Cornell MBA Students

6) Finger Lakes Region: “Having lived in the Caribbean all my life, this will be my first time seeing the seasons change. I’m looking forward to all the activities that come with each season and trying local produce from the Ithaca Farmers Market. I am equally excited by the prospect of being surrounded by all the beauty the region has to offer from the State Parks to the more than 100 waterfalls within 10 miles of downtown, not to mention Cayuga Lake and the amazing Cornell campus.”
Gabriella Del Río-Dávila (’23)

“I’m excited to explore Ithaca and the surroundings. It’s so different from anywhere I’ve lived before and I’m looking forward to having a few adventures. Already, I get a sense that the small-town feel of Ithaca pushes your cohort to get to know each other very well. Beyond that, with four full seasons, I like the idea that you can go from a winery tour on a sunny day, to skiing in a matter of months.”
Chris Cartwright (’23)

“Ithaca is a college town surrounded by gorgeous nature, hiking trails, and forests. It will be very convenient for me to go hiking or just walk along different trails near campus. I’m looking forward to taking breaks and enjoying the picturesque scenes of waterfalls and beautiful views.”
Sophia Lo (’23)

7) The Big Red Consulting Club:  “This gives the perfect opportunity to work on consulting skills in real time setting, by working with local clients and as partners work on finding effective solutions to issues and problems.”
Sameer Jain (’23)

8) Big Red Venture Fund: “I’m looking forward to researching and deciding on what funds to invest in and working with others to learn as much as I can about investing and banking.”
Sophia Lo (’23)

A bunch of 2021 MBA students celebrating a classmate’s birthday in downtown Ithaca.

9) Johnson Outdoor Experience: “This is an incredible one-day orientation retreat on Owasco Lake here in the Finger Lakes. The day started off very early in the morning, and the energy and enthusiasm from the graduating class facilitators, faculty, and staff was contagious and spread to the rest of the group in no time. For the rest of the day, we participated in team-based outdoor competitions, engaged in water sports and relaxation, and competed in an ice-cream flavor pitch competition (the winning flavor even goes on to be produced by the Cornell Dairy). I remember this experience so vividly because my convictions about Johnson and the Johnson community became even stronger, as I was continuously challenged by my peers, yet felt supported and encouraged to try new things regardless of my fears.”
Ola Esho (’21)

10) Ithaca: “I had the advantage of being in Ithaca for three years due to my dual degree and there’s plenty to do. The Annual Chili Cook-Off and the Apple Harvest Festival are two of my favorite events, but I’ve gone to several music concerts, dance recitals, poetry readings, and other fun activities. 
Stefy Smith (’21)


“Do some introspection and be sure of your story. Ask yourself: what has your journey been, how has it brought you here, where are you going, and how can Cornell Johnson help you get there?”
Gabriella Del Río-Dávila (’23)

“I would advise a prospective MBA candidate to refine and sell your differences, whether that be your different perspective or career background. A key value of the MBA is that you get to learn with, and from, an amazing group of people with different stories and backgrounds. Your story, and your perspective is unique. Therefore, you’re a value add to the program. I would encourage you to communicate this aspect to the Admissions Committee throughout the application process.”
Chris Cartwright (’23)

“Johnson really values teamwork and cooperation. It’s important to capture individual and organizational achievements on your resume and throughout the application process; however, I believe Johnson places even greater value on a candidate with a displayed history of positive influence among peers and adjacent organizations. Make sure you capture and communicate the positive influence you’ve had on others in the workplace, customers, or the general public and society. Don’t be afraid to highlight service projects or other efforts you’ve made to have a positive impact on those around you, even if those efforts are outside of your professional experience. Having a positive impact and bettering society are core values of Johnson and Cornell University as a whole, so sharing a history of public service and enhancing the lives of others will strengthen your odds of acceptance.”
Tommy Ott (’23)

How did COVID change how the Class of 2023 approached life? What do class members hope to do after graduation? What are their secrets for landing an acceptance letter from the Cornell MBA? Click on the links below to get answers like these from incoming first-years. 

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Sulaiman Aldaffaa Riyadh, Saudi Arabia King Saud University Boeing
Surbhi Vijay Bhavsar Pune, India University of Pune Crisil
Chris Cartwright Nassau, The Bahamas Jacksonville University Macquarie Group
Nicole de Ovin-Berenguer Miami, FL Florida International University Next Step Design
Gabriella Del Río-Dávila San Juan, Puerto Rico University of Puerto Rico Nielsen IQ
Sameer Jain Chandigarh, India Madras University Master Mariner
Kielyn Jarvis Boston, MA University of Massachusetts, Amherst Harvard Business Analytics Program
Justin Liu Pasadena, CA Duke University US Navy
Sophia Lo Taipei, Taiwan National Taiwan University Prudential
Dr. Vanessa Nwaokocha Chicago, IL Duke University Providence Portland Medical Center (PPMC)
Tommy Ott Coopersburg, PA US Military Academy US Army
Natalia Rovira Rodrigues Princeton, NJ Northwestern University Princeton in Asia

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