The Cornell Johnson MBA: What You Need To Know
Johnson’s bucolic upstate New York location is a big attraction for MBAs who want peace and quiet to think hard about their future. With great skiing and hiking, this is a classy option for outdoorsy types. There aren’t many b-schools where you cross a bridge over a waterfall on your way to class.
The business school attached to Ivy League Cornell University offers three cutting-edge, highly-regarded residential MBAs to suit all sorts of students. The Two-Year program suits career-changers, while the One-Year program is for those wanting to turbo-boost their career in their current sector. (The difference is that the shorter version omits an internship and some related immersion elements.)
Another one-year-long option is the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA in New York City. Following the summer’s core courses, which all 12-month candidates share, one group stays in Ithaca for the duration of the One-Year MBA, while students in the tech-focused MBA head to Cornell Tech in New York City. Johnson also offers MBAs as part of dual-degrees, with law; medicine; real estate; health administration; or industrial and labor relations.
Cross-pollination is a key feature of Johnson’s MBAs, with some of the 120 electives shared between all the different MBA classes, giving students huge flexibility in their choices and meaning that unlike at some schools where candidates remain stuck in streams, they can indulge their curiosity. Someone keen on a banking career could take a fintech course, for example, to give them an edge. Obviously, it also means more networking opportunities.
Johnson is working hard to enhance the already-impressive tech curriculum and recently strengthened its fintech and digital marketing offerings for MBAs in all three programs with half-semester intensives held at the Cornell Tech campus in NYC. Other current focuses are on adding more courses of leadership, ethics, and diversity; the latter is a longstanding strength, as Johnson was one of the first large business schools to have a dedicated Office of Diversity and Inclusion and prides itself on being a trailblazer in that respect.
Associate Dean Vishal Gaur
“One of the main features of our MBAs is how quickly students get to their specializations. One-year courses start in the summer, so by fall, they are ready to start specializing. Two-Year MBAs take their cores in the autumn and in spring start their immersions, preparing for internships.
We aim to produce team-players with strong leadership skills. Over the years we have developed the Four Cs framework for leadership: character, compassion, courage, and competence.
Students have a big say in what we offer. For example, they asked for grade non-disclosure, and we have implemented that. We treat our courses as a partnership with students.
Genna Hartung, MBA Class of 2020
“I did my undergraduate degree at Cornell University, and after a career as a professional steeplechaser, I was working here as a sports coach when I decided I wanted to do an MBA.
The immersion part of the course is very valuable. We will literally be practicing what we want to do even before we get an internship. I’ve been amazed at how much I have learned so far.
I knew nothing about things like finance and operations, so I have learned huge amounts. I have been surprised by the amount of self-analysis, understanding my goals, how I work and lead and my strengths in different environments.”