P&Q’s MBA Admissions Director Of The Year For 2023: Cornell Johnson’s Eddie Asbie

Eddie Asbie of Cornell is Poets&Quants’ Admissions Director of the Year for 2023. Cornell photos

In a way only a first-generation college student can, Eddie Asbie knows how important a little bit of guidance can be in a person’s educational journey.

Asbie, executive director of admissions and scholarship at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, graduated from the University of Buffalo with a bachelor’s in communication in 2004. The help he received during his undergraduate journey spurred him not only to go on to grad school at Buffalo State University, earning a master’s of science in student personnel administration in 2011 — it also vaulted him onto the path to his current position overseeing Cornell’s MBA admissions.

“When I think about my college experience as a first-generation college student, there was a lot of guidance that I needed throughout undergrad,” Asbie says. “I remember doing my internship in higher education with our Student Life Office at the University of Buffalo, the work that they did helping students. I loved my experience at the University of Buffalo, and I just remember saying, ‘You know what, if I could be a representative to sell the program in any way possible, I would love to do that.’

“And then I found out about admissions. I had the opportunity of recruiting in New York City for about five years at the undergraduate side of things and really being able to make a difference in someone’s life.”

POETS&QUANTS’ ADMISSIONS DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: CORNELL JOHNSON’S EDDIE ASBIE

Eddie Asbie: “I believe in the power of education. And throughout my time in admissions, I’ve noticed what we can really do and how we can really give candidates a chance. We are — even on the MBA side — a second chance for some.”

Asbie is an Upstate New York guy, through and through. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, he attended two Buffalo universities before signing on with Cornell as assistant director of admissions and financial aid in July 2012. Two years later he became associate director; after about six years in that role, in June 2021, he became executive director of admissions and scholarship.

Since then, but especially in the last year, Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management has been an island of calm and competent consistency in a chaotic time for graduate business education. More than that, it has been, on the admissions side, a model for other business schools: Cornell’s MBA program has maintained its gains of recent years in application volume, even as apps have declined at most of its peer schools. Cornell has steadily increased the number of women in its full-time MBA program, inching closer to parity and this year joining the small but growing group of B-schools that lead in women’s enrollment. Cornell has grown its under-represented MBA population by leaps and bounds despite political headwinds that other B-schools have struggled to overcome. And Cornell has kept its international MBA enrollment steady at a time of uncertainty and volatility in foreign enrollment.

All this occurred even as the Johnson School undertook a major shift in priorities, shuttering the once-popular Accelerated 1-Year MBA and dedicating more resources to the Cornell Tech MBA, a former P&Q Program of the Year. Cornell was rewarded for all this with unprecedented success in two major rankings, rising to No. 7 in Poets&Quants’ aggregate list thanks to a huge jump in placement in The Financial Times’ 2023 ranking, climbing nine spots to No. 8 in the world — its highest rank ever in that list.

For all of these reasons, Cornell’s Eddie Asbie is Poets&Quants’ Admissions Director of the Year for 2023.

“I believe in the power of education,” Asbie tells P&Q. “And throughout my time in admissions, I’ve noticed what we can really do and how we can really give candidates a chance. We are — even on the MBA side — a second chance for some.

“The reason why I got into admissions is to help someone further their education — to be able to really make a difference,” he continues, before quickly deflecting praise from himself to his team. “I tell candidates all the time that I truly believe that we have the best admissions team out there. This team goes above and beyond every single day. They think outside the box. They challenge me. They listen to the students as well.

“At the end of the day, we know what our targets are. We know what we’re being measured on in admissions. But also — and I am pretty confident that my team agrees — we just enjoy the work that we do.”

CORNELL JOHNSON MBA CLASSES 2023-2025

Stats Cornell Johnson 2-Year MBA Class of 2025 Cornell Johnson 2-Year MBA Class of 2024 Cornell Johnson 2-Year MBA Class of 2023 Cornell Johnson 2-Year MBA Class of 2022
Applications 2,554 2,555 2,105 1,872
Class Size 283 303 304 292
Median GMAT 710 710 710 700
Median GPA 3.35 3.30 3.34 3.42
Women 43% 39% 39% 31%
US Minorities 65% 43% 43% 39%
URM 35% 16% 18% 18%
Military 10% 13% 9% 10%
International 42% 43% 35% 34%
Countries Represented 39 43 30 29
Backgrounds NA Finance 30%, Consulting 15%, Tech 12%, Government/Nonprofit 11% Finance 28%, Consulting 11%, Tech 10% Finance 30%, Consulting 11%, Tech 11%, Government/Nonprofit 8%
Undergrad Major NA Business 54%, Engineering 18%, Sciences 5% Business 46%, Engineering 15%, Economics 14% Business/Commerce 33%, Engineering 15%, Economics 14%
Selectivity 30% 31.2% 29.5% 39.6%
Yield 37% 38.0% 49.0% 39.4%

‘OPENNESS & EAGERNESS TO HELP’

What kind of difference does an admissions director make? Afua Asantewaa, an MBA student in Cornell Johnson’s Class of 2022, told Poets&Quants in 2020 that her impression of the school was hugely influenced by a meeting with its associate director of admissions, a year before his promotion to executive director.

“I was introduced to Johnson by Admissions Associate Director Eddie Asbie,” Asantewaa, a Chicago native, said. “He opened my eyes to new possibilities about the MBA program at Johnson while I was attending my second seminar as a Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBAPrep Fellow. In high school, I wrote off a lot of schools that were in small towns or ‘college towns.’ I enjoyed city life and the opportunity to leave my institution and be immersed in the Black (or urban) community when I wasn’t in the classroom. Eddie, the MLT team, and my peers in MBA Prep who attended Cornell for undergrad shared how great their experiences were at Cornell and in Ithaca.”

Asantewaa’s perspective evolved as she spoke to professors, administrators, alumni, and current students. Asbie’s pitch made an impression that stuck.

“Every member of the community has responded to my emails and taken the time to speak with me,” Asantewaa recalled. “A majority of them have offered to prep me for interviews, sponsor me for opportunities, and connect me with colleagues so I am better informed. Eddie’s openness and eagerness to help were exemplary of the Cornell community.”

DON’T MISS  P&Q’s DEAN OF THE YEAR: BERKELEY HAAS’ ANN HARRISON or P&Q’S MBA PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: INSEAD

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