Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Justin Liu, Cornell University (Johnson)

Justin Liu

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

“Navy nuclear officer who managed reactor plants on a carrier based in Japan.”

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m an avid skier. I’ve skied about 20 different mountains (mostly out west but also a handful in Canada and Japan) and heli-skied in Panorama, Canada.

Undergraduate School and Major: Duke University, Mechanical Engineering & Material Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: US Navy, Deputy- Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Cornell’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, as well as the SGE immersion.  I think the immersion program will allow for real world application and applying  what is learned in the classroom in a meaningful and concrete way. Green technology will play a prominent role in reshaping the world.  I want to be at the forefront of that revolution.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Cornell?  The SGE Immersion. I am a kinesthetic learner and learn best by doing.  Being thrown into a scenario with real impact in the sector I am passionate about was important to me.

What excites you the most about living in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region? I wanted to do a full time MBA to form deep connections with my class. Going to school in a major city can lead to students scattering off on their own. Ithaca has just about everything I need, and the Finger Lakes and nearby mountains offer a perfect medium to spend quality time with the Johnson community. We have already taken advantage of the several hikes and visited wineries and breweries by the lakes.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? Anything can change in an instant. Preparation, flexibility, and decisive action determine who will flourish in times of radical change.  Johnson will shore up some of the gaps that I have specifically been working within the private sector and give me a strong foundation in sustainability which has and will continue to be a growth sector.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I intend to transition to energy consulting to build a stronger foundation in the commercial energy sector. The ultimate goal after consulting would be a transition to venture capital or strategic management of a green start up.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Fuqua, Marshall, Anderson and Ross

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Cornell’s MBA program? Really reflect to figure out what you want out of an MBA, what your values are, and how they match with Johnson.  That’s the hardest part.  Once that is clear, putting it on paper and articulating it in an interview will come more naturally.


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