Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University
“Adventurous, equitable, high-impact, passionate, peaceful, resilient, thankful, accountable, relationship-focused, development-minded.”
Hometown: Waltham, Massachusetts
Fun Fact About Yourself: I climbed Mount Batur, an active volcano about 1,717 meters above sea level in Bali, Indonesia, for my birthday. My friends and I started the hike up Mount Batur around 3 a.m. and reached the crater around 6 a.m. to see the sun rising. The view from the top of the volcano was breathtaking!
Undergraduate School and Major: Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University B.S., accounting
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Pfizer Inc., Senior Territory Manager
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? Amid America’s racial reckoning over the past two years, it was important for me to join a community that was actively fighting racism and fostering equity, inclusion, and belonging for all underrepresented groups. After all, diversity of candidates and faculty in selective programs such as Johnson could help catapult change in both private and public sectors. Seeing that Johnson has been a member of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management for the past 13 years reinforced its support for diversity and inclusion. Student-led organizations such as the Black Graduate Business Association (BGBA) and the Admissions Ambassadors program gives prospective MBA students someone in the program to connect with as they make their decisions about graduate school. This gave me a way to assist in attracting top diverse candidates to join our Johnson community.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at Cornell? I’m super excited to join the Big Red Microenterprise (BRM) to help bridge Johnson resources to promising underserved business owners around Ithaca. I believe through BRM, I can support local owners by coaching them through business plans and solving business problems to ultimately support inclusive wealth and strong economic development within the region.
What excites you the most about living in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region? I’m looking forward to exploring all of outdoorsy pursuits. Growing up right outside of Boston and then moving to Wellington, Florida, I experienced a completely different kind of landscape. I’m looking forward to hiking the trails around the gorges and waterfalls. The Finger Lakes region has been recognized as one of the best wine tours in the country. I’m looking forward to organizing weekend getaways for our class. Also, everyone knows that the ice cream is an integral part of the Big Red experience. I can’t wait to try all the different ice cream flavors at Cornell Dairy.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Unbeknownst to me, a patient was listening to my conversation with their physician in the waiting room regarding a medication I was promoting. After I left the office, they followed me outside to say that without this life-saving medication, they wouldn’t be alive; they were so grateful to the company and me regarding educating the doctor. In that moment, I was reminded how impactful my role was and how I was able to help them experience many more years with their loved ones.
What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? While MBA programs are known to be rigorous, and you’ll be reading plenty of journals and books, I’m a firm believer in balance. Be sure to have fun and squeeze in some reality shows, a Netflix series, or fiction reading. Between summer recruiting and squeezing in last-minute outings before moving to Ithaca, I’ve been binge-watching a few series. I find it increases productivity, creativity and curtails burnout.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on disparities in healthcare — a long-standing challenge for people of color and underserved groups. Addressing inequities could help narrow the disparities driven by underlying social and economic inequities rooted in racism. One facet of overcoming health disparities is closing the racial wealth gap. Individuals with wealth have access to resources to support their health and can pay for interventions that an uninsured adult living in poverty may have to forgo. I want to help close the racial wealth gap, which can improve healthcare disparities, home ownership, higher education, and entrepreneurship rates. My long-term goal is to create a digital platform that helps minorities learn saving, investing and wealth-building strategies.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia Business School (Columbia University); NYU Stern School of Business (New York University)
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Cornell’s MBA program? Be sure you can concisely articulate why you want to pursue an MBA. It’s easy to get lost in MBA online forums and reading others’ “aha!” moments, but it’s important to know and cultivate your own story and let it be your ‘guiding light.’ Engage in numerous occasions with the Admissions Ambassadors, students, and alumni to get a feel for the culture and class outcomes to ensure it’s right for you, and discern how you may add to the tight-knit Johnson community.
DON’T MISS: MEET CORNELL JOHNSON’S MBA CLASS OF 2024
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