Poets&Quants Top Business Schools

Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management


Contact our general manager with any questions. Profile updated: December 18, 2018.

School Data

Annual Tuition: $127,788

Acceptance Rate: 33%

Full-Time Enrollment: 556

Average GPA: 3.41

International: 27%

Minority: 15%

Average Age: 28

Annual Tuition Non-Resident: $127,788

Median GMAT: 700

GMAT Range (mid-80%): 600-770

Female: 33%

GPA Range (mid-80%): 2.84-3.94

Male: 69%

Application Deadlines

Two-Year MBA

  • October Round: 10th of October, 2018
  • November Round: 15th of November, 2018
  • January Round: 3rd of January, 2019
  • April Round: 10th of April, 2019

One-Year MBA (Ithaca)

  • Early Action: 10th of September, 2018
  • October Round: 10th of October, 2018
  • November Round: 15th of November, 2018
  • January Round: 3rd of January, 2019
  • Rolling: 15th of March, 2019

Johnson Cornell Tech MBA (NYC)

  • October Round: 10th of October, 2018
  • November Round: 15th of November, 2018
  • January Round: 3rd of January, 2019

Johnson’s small and close-knit community is a hallmark of its MBA experience. The school boasts a wide-ranging portfolio of degree paths including: A Two-Year MBA in Ithaca; A One-Year MBA in Ithaca; and a new One-Year MBA at Cornell NYC Tech; the Cornell Executive MBA in Metro NYC; and the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA.

After a two-year review and a 30% plunge in applications to its MBA program in 2014-2015, the school rolled out to the Class of 2016 a new curriculum for its two-year MBA program. It’s the first major update to Cornell’s MBA experience in seven years, and the revamped program places greater emphasis on collaboration, leadership, and analytical skills to better prepare students for a technology-driven global business environment.

Those are a bundle of buzzwords you’ll find on the websites of every modern business school. They’re also words that have come up in recent updates to the MBA programs at both the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and Harvard Business School.

Vishal Gaur, associate dean for MBA programs at Cornell, says the changes aren’t expected to impact the welcoming and inclusive culture of the program. Students here have long praised the school for its close-knit and highly collaborative community feel as well as the intelligence and experience classmates bring to the school. The fact that Johnson students are more-or-less isolated from major city life in upstate New York helps to foster a much more collaborative community environment than you might find at other schools. On the other hand, if students have gripes, they tend to be about the somewhat isolating location that can make Johnson a challenge when students have to travel for interviews, conferences or case competitions.

The process to revitalize Cornell’s MBA program–launched three years ago in 2012–is a model of how to connect with one’s market and learn from it. Gaur points out that the study behind the changes included student and alumni focus groups, peer benchmarking of the top 25 MBA programs, and surveys of students, alumni, corporate recruiters, faculty, and staff. More than 50 corporate executives were interviewed. The process reached more than 1,000 students and graduates from the last 12 MBA class years alone.

But it all started with the realization that a fresh approach was in order. “Johnson needed to do a curriculum review because our previous one had been done quite some time ago and the MBA landscape keeps changing quite rapidly,” explains Gaur. “There have been small changes over the years, but no major review since at least seven years. In that time, MBA programs have gotten busier and busier over the years so students need to balance the increased demands on their time.”

During the review process, Cornell found that alumni and recruiters focused more on skills, while students, not surprisingly, placed more emphasis on the logistics of the program and its execution. Students provided insights on how to organize the core and the immersions in the spring semester. “Our core is considered to be extremely intense,” says Gaur. “Students were complaining that the first year was too stressful for them.”

The alums and companies expressed the need for better leadership and communication skills, but also improved quant skills “by doing rather than learning,” says Gaur. “This is a perennial thing but I think we were falling behind and needed to do more effective job. And in terms of critical thinking and analytical skills, companies believed we needed to renew our focus here so students could immediately work better in unstructured environments.”

When the school benchmarked rivals, he adds, “we looked closely at the way their curricula was structured and how much training was being imparted through experiential vs. classroom learning. Students are migrating more toward experiential learning and less toward lectures.”

One rather significant outcome: In the past, roughly 30% of the MBA program came from lectures, with about 30% from case studies, and 20% from team projects. Gaur says the new program will cut lectures to about 20%, and up experiential learning to be equal to case studies at around 30%.

Contact Information

Cornell University, Johnson School of Management
111 Sage Hall,
Ithaca, NY 14853
Admissions Office:
(607) 255-4526
(800) 847-2082
School Social Media:

From Johnson:

Why the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University?

To foster the close-knit community that is the hallmark of education at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management School, every incoming class is, by design, small and selective. It’s the only way we can deliver our truly unique, rich, and dynamic educational experience.

Johnson at Cornell University is an intense, collaborative Ivy League business school in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States: Ithaca, NY. Consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the world, Johnson is distinguished by its commitment to service, real-world business immersions, small class sizes, highly selective recruitment, and global business practices. Our graduates consistently succeed in every industry around the world.

At any given time, Johnson has roughly 700 MBA and PhD students and 95 faculty members. Johnson’s tradition of working and socializing together leads to an unusually strong sense of community and collegiality. You’ll cultivate lifelong friendships while building a robust professional network. Equipped with a deep understanding of how global, connected enterprise is changing, Johnson graduates are leaders who know how to harness the power of a team to create extraordinary results. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to collaborate, start innovative businesses, and transform organizations.

See what our students and alumni have to say: Johnson Voices.

In July 2016, Johnson joined the School of Hotel Administration and the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management to form the Cornell College of Business (CCB). As the home of three business schools and dozens of degree programs, CCB offers more customization than any top university in the world.

Portfolio of MBA Options

Two-year MBA in Ithaca: Applicants to our Two-year MBA program in Ithaca, NY, value collaboration and want to hone their leadership skills. The program is designed for professionals who want to grow their careers, explore their interests, and develop management expertise. Curriculum includes business fundamentals, immersion learning, optional concentrations, and flexible electives. Two-year students complete a competitive summer internship and have the opportunity to participate in global learning programs.

One-year MBA in Ithaca: The One-year MBA program, with residency in Ithaca, NY, is designed for professionals with established careers, significant experience, and advanced degrees or certifications who seek an MBA to advance into senior management roles or to lead a new venture. Curriculum includes core courses, a management practicum, and your choice of electives.

Johnson Cornell Tech MBA: The Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program is a full-time, one-year residential program at Cornell Tech in the heart of NYC’s global tech hub. It also includes a 10-week residency in Ithaca, NY. Ideal MBA candidates have a deep interest in and connection to the tech industry as well as a strong academic background in science or engineering. The curriculum is divided into two components: modules and studio. Industry engagement is an integral program component, which includes Company Challenges and Startup Studio. At Cornell Tech, you’ll work, study, and ideate with other master’s degree candidates.

Executive MBA programs:

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