Poets&Quants Top Business Schools

Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management


Contact our general manager with any questions. Profile updated: January 16, 2019.

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: 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:

The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, a school within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, delivers business education that empowers students to turn ambition into impact. Johnson’s defining attributes—its tight-knit community, emphasis on leadership, and focus on immersive, experiential learning—are reflected across its programs. The school’s network spans the globe and includes diverse students, world-renowned faculty, and 17,000+ alumni who consistently push traditional boundaries to shape the business landscape and make a positive impact.

MBA programs in Ithaca

Johnson’s One- and Two-Year MBA programs are offered at Cornell University’s main campus in Ithaca, New York. Students can choose to participate in, and lead, any of 80+ student organizations international treks, leadership expeditions, and case competitions. Johnson also offers a unique, “two campus, one community” approach, which allows Ithaca-based residential students to take weekend courses or half-semester intensives at Cornell Tech in NYC.

Johnson’s community is tight knit and small by design. Students are hardworking with impressive academic and professional portfolios, but they are also supportive and willing to lend a hand to their peers. Faculty are accessible and get to know their students, and diversity of culture, thought, and experience is extremely important—Johnson was one of the first top business school to have a dedicated Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Two-Year MBA

For career enhancers and switchers, Johnson’s flexible Two-Year MBA curriculum gives students the practical skills they need and the freedom to dive into an area they’re passionate about. Far from a lock-step sequence, students can customize their studies and focus on specific industries during their first year. They also develop leadership skills and work with second-year MBA mentors.

One-Year MBA

Ideal for career enhancers with advanced degrees or certifications, Johnson’s One-Year MBA program offers a rigorous, customizable curriculum delivered at an accelerated pace. Students learn foundational business principles and develop skills related to their industry that will help them move into management roles. Over the course of 12 months, students become stronger leaders and expand their perspectives.

Johnson Cornell Tech MBA in NYC

After completing their 10-week summer core at Cornell University in Ithaca, students in the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program take residence on Roosevelt Island in NYC. This one-year program is designed to transform tech-focused individuals into business leaders and entrepreneurs. MBA students work on interdisciplinary teams with other graduate students in engineering, law, operations research, and computer science to produce visionary ideas and solutions grounded in significant societal challenges. Students are surrounded by a rapidly expanding tech environment and have frequent interactions with industry leaders, startup founders, and venture capitalists.

Other MBA programs at Johnson

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