Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University
“I’m a fiercely multi-faceted, yet consistently passionate individual that expresses curiosity through experience and experimentation.”
Hometown: Miami, FL
Fun fact about yourself: I was honored to be the class speaker at my undergraduate graduation. Giving a speech to thousands of onlookers was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Hamilton College – Public Policy (Government & Economics) ‘16. Cornell University Johnson School of Business MBA ‘22
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Deloitte – Strategy & Analytics Consultant
Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Microsoft, Account Technology Strategist
Where will you be working after graduation? Microsoft, Los Angeles Office
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
Community Impact Club – President; Consortium (CGSM) – Liaison for Career Management Center; Career Working Group Leader; Teaching Assistant (Digital Marketing); Chief Business Officer of Aabix Corporation (Start-Up)
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Throughout my tenure as president of the Community Impact Club, the organization has been able to raise approximately $25,000 for local non-profit organizations, directly impacting the Ithaca and Greater Tompkins County area. Not only was this a welcomed opportunity to become involved outside the relatively privileged Cornell ecosystem, but it was also a rewarding occasion to collaborate with faculty, staff, and classmates throughout Johnson. Each of our fundraising events were successful only because of the concerted effort of our empathetic community.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The four years I spent at Deloitte were full of great outcomes for the clients we were serving. However, I felt most accomplished when I was able to integrate my personal passion for poetry and spoken word into my role at the company. At one point, a managing partner discovered my artistic talents and asked if I could perform a poem on diversity and inclusion at an upcoming leadership meeting. Initially, I was frustrated by being asked to expend emotional energy to serve as the token employee, speaking about diversity to a mostly white audience. However, I realized that the opportunity was a platform to evocatively launch a meaningful conversation. I agreed and performed “Counter Parts”, a poem about how black professionals must walk a tightrope, moderating how genuine emotions of conviviality, anger, sadness, and frustration are expressed to avoid making others feel uncomfortable.
I was surprised to find that other leaders across the firm were interested in creating a similar experience for their teams. During my last year at the firm, I performed my poetry in conference rooms and auditoriums for hundreds of fellow Deloitters on diversity, inclusion, team culture, and leadership, helping our company’s leaders empathize and improve the experience of diverse employees. Although this may seem like an unconventional “accomplishment”, I take pride in the fact that I helped decision-makers think differently about how they choose to lead.
Why did you choose this business school? As a highly analytical thinker, I was surprised by how enamored I was with the program after visiting campus. Even after meeting amazing students from other schools, the warmth and energy I felt from the current students on campus was unmatched at Cornell Johnson. I am a firm believer in listening to your heart, so ultimately I chose the place that felt most like home.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? One of my favorite professors (there are too many to choose is Risa Mish – a former attorney and instructor of Critical & Strategic Thinking, one of the integral elements of the core curriculum. She is an incredibly adept orator with an uncanny ability to facilitate thought-provoking insights. Outside of the classroom, Risa takes on mentorship roles with many of her students, and even helped coach me and my classmates in the first iteration of the John R. Lewis Case Competition. I hope to emulate her charm, charisma, and passion throughout my professional career.
I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the connection that I had with Professor Tommaso Bondi, Assistant Professor and Demir Sabanci Faculty Fellow at Cornell Tech and the SC Johnson School of Business. Firstly, Professor Bondi is a young professor, yet possesses an extremely diverse pedagogical background, developing expertise in mathematics, behavioral economics, marketing and technology from globally renowned institutions. Additionally, Tommaso is incredibly humble, patient, empathetic and down-to-earth. He always strives to provide a rational application to his instructional content, and is generous with his time to discuss theory, assignments, or even current events. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him, and I look forward to keeping in touch post-MBA.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Every Thursday, Johnson hosts a Sage Social. It is a fully sponsored event where faculty staff and students get to meet, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and partake in beer and wine. Because of the close intimate nature of our institution, the opportunity for us all to meet on such a regular basis creates deeply entrenched relationships and a communal event for different recruiting paths to catch up. It is a special component of the Johnson magic.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Focus more! I fell victim to the classic trap of Business School and probably stretched myself too thin unnecessarily. If I applied more focus and to a shorter list of activities slash responsibilities, I would have likely yielded more overall from the experiences.
What is the biggest myth about your school? Cornell has a strong brand related to its investment banking and finance postgraduate opportunities. However, Johnson also boasts world class faculty and programming aligned to digital technology, entrepreneurship, marketing, and consulting. Although Cornell boasts impressive placement in the IB world, it is still well respected and opens doors outside of that industry.
What surprised you the most about business school? Although there is a litany of hard skills to develop, most alumni contend that the soft skills of the MBA program were more useful in their postgraduate career. This was surprising but absolutely makes sense considering the leadership roles in management we tend to assume after matriculation.
What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I prioritized becoming intimately familiar with the schools that I was seriously considering attending. I met with local alumni, current students, and decided to visit campus in order to ensure that I was genuinely passionate about the opportunity. I believe that this was apparent in my interviews — I consistently attempted to convey the deep-rooted reasons why I wanted to attend these prospective schools.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Branden Karnell is an incredibly kind, patient, intelligent, hard-working, and altruistic individual. Branden constantly goes out of his way to help those around him without ever expecting anything in return. His work ethic is commendable — regardless of the nature of the task, he will put in however many hours are needed to accomplish it. Branden will undoubtedly go on to accomplish incredible feats both personally and professionally.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mother is undoubtedly the root cause behind my desire to grow professionally and academically. Growing up, my mother instilled in me the importance of education and academic curiosity. As a life-long teacher, she understood that regardless of our economic circumstances, a strong education was essential to living a fruitful and fulfilling life. My mother also spent most of her career educating students with special needs and has demonstrated how rewarding it can be to help those who need it most. Her warmth and love are abundant, unconditional, and available to anyone who asks for it. My mother molded me into the man I am today, and remains my greatest cheerleader, inspiration, and support mechanism.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would like to work abroad or on an internationally-focused project. Second, although I have managed teams in the past, I relish the opportunity to build a team from scratch. From recruiting, to evaluating and hiring, it requires immense trust from internal resources and demonstration of leadership to take on these responsibilities. Assuming the task it will be a clear demarcation of a new high point in my career.
How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic has fortunately unaffected my professional curiosities. However, my relationship to in-person work has certainly changed. Prior to the pandemic, I deeply valued collaborative working in a communal space. However, recent has shown that virtual work doesn’t inherently decrease the quality of collaborative outputs.
What made Jeremy such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“Jeremy is a remarkable asset to the Johnson community because of his leadership and dedication to the success of his classmates. Jeremy is a promising entrepreneur; he is heavily engaged in community service initiatives on campus and is a welcomed source of impact in and out of the classroom. Jeremy also serves as a key mentor to first-year students who seek his advice and is respected broadly for his work ethic and empathetic demeanor. He is a true embodiment of the “pay it forward” nature of our community, and a stellar representative of Johnson’s ethos.”
Professor Tommaso Bondi
Assistant Professor and Demir Sabanci Faculty Fellow
Johnson Cornell Tech MBA and the SC Johnson College of Business
DON’T MISS: MBAS TO WATCH: CLASS OF 2022
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