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Tips for Cornell Johnson’s MBA Essays

Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management offers a variety of MBA programs—from its one-year program to specialized executive offerings and a tech MBA degree.

No matter which program you decide to apply to, it’s important to set a strategy for your application. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered a few tips on how to approach the various Cornell MBA essays.


Cornell requires all MBA applicants to fill out the following goals statement:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

The goals statement is all about identifying your short- and long-term goals while explaining how your past experiences have shaped said goals. Blackman suggests that applicants think about pivotal moments in their career and show how they’ve led you from one step to the other.

“In addition, you can use your resume and recommendations to showcase any other skills you need to accomplish your goals,” Blackman says.


Cornell’s Impact Essay prompt asks applicants the following:

At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. Taking into consideration your background, how do you intend to make a meaningful impact on an elite MBA community? (350 words maximum).

Research is critical to answering this question the right way. Blackman recommends that applicants connect with current students using Cornell’s community search tool to learn more about what the B-school’s culture has to offer.

“As you prepare for conversations to learn more about Cornell Johnson, think about programs, extracurricular activities, and the informal ways students might interact,” Blackman says. “Johnson offers groups for interests ranging from cooking to ice hockey and has professional clubs for every possible career path.”

In your Impact Essay, try to identify opportunities where you think you’ll contribute to Cornell’s culture. Most importantly, be sure to support your story with your past experiences.

“For example, maybe you want to bring new speakers to the Johnson Marketing Association because you have contributed to your young professionals group at work,” Blackman says.  “Explain that you have successfully organized events featuring prominent speakers for a large group of people and can bring that skill to impact your peers at Johnson.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

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