Cornell Mba Life Story Essay


Cornell / Johnson MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Following up on the release of the Cornell University / Johnson MBA essay prompts for 2017-2018, we wanted to offer some pointers to applicants who are targeting the Class of 2020. While the program has retained its creative Table of Contents essay, it has once again dispensed with the standard career goals essay and instead honed in on a candidate’s interest in Johnson and ability to create impact.

 

2017-2018 Cornell Johnson MBA Essay Topic Analysis

Goals Statement

Per the instructions provided by the admissions committee, applicants would be wise to mirror the direct and concise nature of the examples provided.

A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience.  To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
Industry:

In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
Industry:

Example of Completed Statement:

Short Term Goal: Immediately post-MBA my goal is to work as a(n) Consultant at Accenture within Media and Technology.

Long Term Goal: In 5-10 years post-MBA my goal is to work as a(n) Founder and President within Nonprofit.

Let’s take a closer look at each of this year’s Johnson MBA essays:

Cornell / Johnson Essay 1

At Cornell, we value students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you have identified through engagement with our community and describe how these interactions have influenced your decision to apply to Johnson.Please limit your response to 500 words or fewer.

Given the adcom’s basis of engaging the school community, applicants will be expected to be fairly concrete in their comments about how they’ve had contact with Johnson alumni, faculty, staff or current students, and, in turn, how this informed the decision to apply. Based on these interactions, applicants may want to begin by thinking about an element or two of the Johnson community with which they find the greatest resonance, and should also consider which are already evident in their activities and accomplishments to date. In fact, one to two examples (100-150 words total) that illustrate their skills and potential to make a positive impact should be woven in to selected means of contributing. Consider this in light of the idea that past behavior supports future success.

Of course, the majority of this response should center on the applicant’s planned activities and impact as a Johnson MBA student. It would be wise to discuss their behavior outside of the classroom and identifying specific student organizations in which they might take a leadership role. Candidates should note that speaking convincingly about their ability to make a positive difference will likely require some informed sense of the areas of opportunity and need on campus. Conversations with students and alumni (as well as reading the Clear Admit School Guide to the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management) will be very important in producing the most effective essay possible. Finally, space permitting, it would be nice to suggest how you would continue to make an impact beyond the Johnson MBA, likely through one’s career goals. The sense of community through Johnson does not end on graduation day, and the adcom—given its longstanding history of asking about career goals—may wish to understand the long-term impact a candidate envisions.

The Cornell / Johnson Table of Contents Essay

You are the author of your Life Story. Please create the Table of Contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written Table of Contents, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Please limit multimedia submissions to under 5 minutes.

Appearing again on the Johnson application, this unusual prompt calls for a high-level and non-narrative overview of an applicant’s life to date. Internalizing the hint about what the adcom values, applicants should understand that while the structure for this essay is somewhat set, there’s still a good deal of room for strategy and creativity: candidates are free to decide which eras or events to highlight, how to title each chapter, and so on. Though relying on a list format might be a viable approach, candidates will likely get more mileage out of this essay by structuring information in sentences or a series of sub-sections under broad chapter headings, offering a description of that “chapter” in your life and drawing out the important themes of the story. Regardless of the format you choose, make sure that it allows you to provide an authentic representation of yourself, introducing humor, personality, and even vulnerability where appropriate.

As for the content of this response, the admissions committee is likely looking for a sense of each candidate’s background, as well as his or her trajectory and growth over time. Touch on those events and accomplishments that are most meaningful and important to you, highlighting the ones that have shaped your personal development. Keeping in mind that this is a b-school application, you will want to share information that is relevant to your current work and your future objectives (without too much repetition of points raised in your other essay).

That said, dedicating the entirety of the table of contents to professional pursuits may not be advantageous or allow candidates to provide well-rounded pictures of who they are. Because the adcom asks candidates to take a lifespan view as they complete this task, comments about the lasting impact of one’s upbringing and early formative experiences are appropriate here. It would also make sense to include important community involvements, the development of important hobbies, and illuminating travel experiences. Overall, you want to make sure to highlight the unique aspects of your personality and candidacy, as doing so will allow you to stand out from others in the applicant pool.

While some applicants with a robust (and admissions-appropriate) online presence might choose to link to an external site in the course of their responses, it’s impossible to know how much time the adcom will actually devote to perusing a blog or YouTube channel. Candidates should therefore submit a fully formed essay in addition to linking to this additional content.

Meanwhile, the “visually-enhanced written submission” option provides an excellent opportunity to develop a memorable response that shows the adcom more about one’s background and interests than would be possible with a strictly text-based response. We therefore strongly recommend that applicants include photos, graphics, or other design elements in their responses to really put their unique stamp on this essay. Applicants might consider including an image with each chapter or section heading, and might even use font choice and color to develop an overall look and feel for the document that is consistent with their personal brands and main themes of their b-school application. Taking the time to develop an aesthetically pleasing presentation for this Table of Contents will also underscore your interest in Johnson’s program by demonstrating a willingness to put time and effort into your application.

Cornell / Johnson 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 Johnson.

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application since the last time you applied. 

Please limit your response to 500 words or fewer.
Given the breadth of Johnson’s Table of Contents essay, it seems unlikely that there’s a high point of one’s candidacy that wouldn’t fit into that response. For first-time applicants, this optional essay should therefore likely be reserved for addressing potential liabilities in one’s application. Such discussions should be direct and to the point, providing an explanation and pointing to mitigating factors without being defensive or making excuses. While there are 500 words allotted for this response, applicants using this essay to address an issue in their application will likely use only a fraction of this space.

Meanwhile, reapplicants would probably be wise to use the full 500 words provided to detail the steps they have taken to become a stronger applicant and learn more about the Cornell MBA program since their last application. Candidates in this situation should comment on how they have spent the past year, taking particular care to highlight improved quantitative records, new professional skills and responsibilities, progress toward their ultimate career goals, and/or increased community involvement.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Johnson MBA essay topics! As you work on your Cornell MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Cornell / Johnson offerings:

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays

Schools: Cornell / Johnson

Related

Cornell University’sJohnson Graduate School of Management is a flexible MBA program housed within an Ivy League campus. Cornell Johnson offers multiple full-time options, including a one-year MBA, executive programs and a tech-focused program. Whatever your goals and background Cornell has a program that can help you achieve your goals. In terms of culture, Cornell has a close-knit community, which is facilitated by a small class size. Cornell also has a dedicated office of diversity and inclusion, which shows dedication to a diverse community.

When approaching this set of Cornell essays it will be useful to set your application strategy before you start working. Identify the program you are most interested in and do substantial school research. Then examine your background and goals to see what is most important to explain as part of your story.

Next, add the layer of personal background and experiences – consider what makes you truly unique. Finally, make sure you have solid academics, work experience and extracurriculars covered in your essays, resume or recommendations. If you identify any holes in your profile or story, take the time to fill them prior to starting your application and explain anything necessary in the optional essay.

GOALS STATEMENT
Use this short answer question to succinctly share your short and long term goals. If invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further and should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.

A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
Industry:
In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
Industry:

This short answer question is succinct and covers most of the relevant career goals questions an MBA program would have. Make sure that your answers are logical in the context of your overall application and are mirrored by your recommenders. Your resume should show any transferable skills you may need to accomplish your goals, and you can get more into how Johnson will assist your aspirations in the essays below.

CREATING IMPACT
At Cornell we value, students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson. Please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer.

The Cornell Johnson admissions committee advises you to use this “to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Whether during the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve.

To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff. You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on campus or off campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.”

The first step in answering this question is to do your research. Ideally you will have an opportunity to either visit Johnson or to attend an admissions event in your city, or, as Johnson suggests, connect via phone or email. Another way to find a personal connection is to reach out friends, family and work colleagues to see if anyone knows a current or future member of the Johnson community.

As you prepare for conversations to learn more about Cornell Johnson, think about programs, extracurricular activities and the informal ways that students might interact. Johnson offers groups for interests ranging from cooking to ice hockey, and has professional clubs for every possible career path. Those formal groups or connecting in a classroom or party may be ways you make connections at Johnson.

Once you have identified opportunities for you to contribute to campus life at Johnson, ideally you support your story with evidence from your past experiences. For example, if you want to bring new speakers to the Johnson Marketing Association because you have contributed to your young professionals group at work, explain that you have successfully organized events featuring major speakers for a large group of people and can bring that skill to create impact for your peers at Johnson.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
You are the author of your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style.

Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.
Maximum file size is 5 MB.

If you choose to submit a written Table of Contents, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 5 minutes.

This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. Think about highlighting areas you may not have been able to touch in the previous essays, and demonstrate your unique personal attributes or community involvement.

If you have a consistent theme of involvement in a charity or activity this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why you became involved and what you have done over the years.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there pivotal experiences with your friends, family, hobbies or interests that led you to become the person you are today?

This essay can be delivered in any of the media specified above (slide presentation, website, digital portfolio, YouTube) and you should tailor the format you use to the message you want to send. Though a creative format can impress the admissions committee, substance is always the most important part of the essay.

Make sure you are highlighting unique, individual qualities that will make the case for admission to Cornell and supplementing with other media when it makes sense to the story.

OPTIONAL ESSAY
This essay is required for applicants seeking re-admission and should call attention to the steps taken to strengthen one’s candidacy. Candidates may also use the optional essay to call attention to items needing clarification or to address any gaps in experience.

This optional essay allows for either an explanation of any weaknesses in your application or additional information that may bolster your application. If you have a poor GPA or GMAT, concerns with your undergraduate record, or were unable to provide a recommendation from a current supervisor, this is the place to offer explanations, not excuses.

Quickly describe the situation and what may have contributed to the issue (illness, family difficulties, etc.) without editorializing. Focus the balance of your essay on looking forward: what have you done in the recent past to demonstrate your skills and intelligence?

If you are a re-applicant this is the ideal place to explain what you have done since your last application to strengthen your case for admission. If you have a new GMAT score or took classes in calculus or statistics you have a solid case for improved academics. A promotion could signal career development and leadership.

Even if you don’t have a clear-cut or quantitative update to describe you can use this space to explain how you have improved your thinking, career goals, or fit with Cornell.

Stuck on the Johnson Cornell essay questions? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

This entry was posted in Application Tips, Cornell Advice and tagged Cornell, Cornell Johnson, Cornell Johnson School, Cornell MBA, Cornell MBA essay tips, Cornell University, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, MBA application, MBA application advice, mba essay tips.
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