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2014-15 Cornell MBA Essay Tips

Cornell MBA Essay TipsCornell Johnson MBA Essays for 2014-15 have been released. For this year, the number of essays is two, with the second essay different for 1-year and 2-year Ithaca MBA Applicants. With the two essays, the AdCom wants to measure your creativity, uniqueness, motivation for MBA, and learn about your career goals.

Essay #1: For All Applicants: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 2000 characters (including formatting characters) or less, please write the table of contents for the book.


Note: approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.

AdCom wants to learn more about you in a Table of Contents format. This is a unique question and for this essay, we would recommend that you do the following tasks:

1) Write down at least 15 major life events that have influenced you
2) Remove life events that are not relevant (anything that doesn’t offer a true representation of yourself)

Repeat the 2-Step process, until you get the final 15 major life events.

Since the essay has 1000 word limit or two pages, write down the headlines of your life events chronologically. Read it again. If you feel that the 15 headlines offer a glimpse of your personality and achievements, stick with it. Since Essay 2 asks about your professional goals, use this essay to include personal life events that highlight your leadership and learning curve.

If you were recognized for mastering Violin, say: “Achieved Grade 7 in Violin Exams”, include that in the table of contents. Admission committee might not be aware of the grading system in Violin Exams.You can use a * before the title and use footnotes to explain the title. Unlike last time when the essay was limited to 300 words, this time the word count has increased to 2000 characters or roughly 1000 words. Use one sentence for the title, and use footnotes for all achievements where context is lacking.

After the essays, the application has three sections where you have to list your hobbies, extracurricular activities (clubs, non-profit, church, civic, temples, mosque) and professional associations. Make sure that at least 5 of the 15 titles have something in common with that list.

For assistance, upload your essay here. Our experts will review your essay for Consistency, Structure,  Grammar and Winnability.

Essay #2 For 2-Year Ithaca applicants only:  What is the job that you would like to have immediately upon graduating with your MBA? (2000 character limit, including formatting characters).

Essay #2 For 1-Year Ithaca applicants only:  How does your pre-MBA experience prepare you for the job that you envision post-MBA? (2,000 characters)


For both 1-year and 2-year Ithaca applicants, post-MBA goals question measure your motivation for the program. Before you go into post-MBA career goals, answer the following questions:

1) What salary increase are you targeting?
2) What industry would you like to work?
3) What would be the job function?
4) What would be the daily responsibilities?
5) Where would be the Job location?
6) Which are your preferred employers?

After you have answered the question, find out what is feasible through a Cornell MBA. Research about Cornell Johnson MBA program, and learn the key differentiators. To help you with the research, we have summarized some facts:

1) Performance learning experiences: Cornell Johnson MBA program are embedded with performance learning experiences where students gets hands-on experience in leadership, strategic thinking, teamwork, and ethical decision-making.



2) Integrative Case Competition:  At the end of the first semester, students can take part in the Citi-Sponsored Integrative Case competition where they have to apply what they have learned in the core curriculum and present a case.

3) Exchange Programs: During the second year, MBA students will be chosen using a formal selection process for exchange programs in premier institutes in Latin America, Asia, Europe, Middle East & Africa.

4) Specialization: Cornell MBA program also offer specialization in Accounting, Communications, Consulting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Management and Organizations, Marketing, Operations Management & Technology.

For 1-Year Ithaca applicants only:  How does your pre-MBA experience prepare you for the job that you envision post-MBA? (2,000 characters)

Candidates who opt for a 1-Year program has the required experience pre-MBA, and have a clear outline on what they want to achieve through the MBA program. Start with how your pre-MBA experience has helped you master domain knowledge – Banking, Technology, Insurance, Media, Law or Medicine. Your objective with an MBA is to make that career leap which was seemingly impossible without an MBA. To connect your pre-MBA experience with your post-MBA job in one of your chosen domains, explain how the courses and activities in Cornell MBA will help you bridge this gap. Strong candidates will do their homework, and we recommend that you contact current 1-year MBA students, and get inside information about courses that were useful. Express how you are looking forward to completing Course ‘A’, and how it will bridge the skill gap. Naming the course, and articulating additional information about one of the topics will be beneficial for your candidacy.

Essay #2 For 2-Year Ithaca applicants only:  What is the job that you would like to have immediately upon graduating with your MBA? (2000 character limit, including formatting characters).


According to the latest job trends, the split up of employment by Job Function is as follows:

1) Finance: 35%
2) Consulting: 23%
3) Marketing & Business Development: 22%
4) Rotational Development Programs: 8%
5) Other: 7%
6) General Management: 5%

Even though we would like you to target any post-MBA job functions, if you are planning to get into General Management, 5% post-MBA placement might not be an encouraging factor, and Cornell MBA would not be a good fit for you. That is why understanding post-MBA trends is crucial for your essay. It doesn’t matter how you explain about your pre-MBA experience, and you alignment of goals if the likelihood to make the switch to General Management with an MBA is low.

Need help articulating your essays more more effectively? Upload your essays here or you can fill this form for help

Optional Essay: Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School. (2000 character limit, including formatting characters).

If you have below median GMAT Score or GPA, explain about the corrective actions you have taken. Don’t justify the poor performance but instead focus on what you have done to improve your candidacy. If you had low Quant score in GMAT, cite scores in Math Olympiad where you had excelled.




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