MBA Admissions: Cornell Johnson and Brand Management


This post about Cornell Johnson and brand management is part of a series of interviews of top MBA programs called “MBA Career Goals and the B-Schools that Support Them.” Please subscribe to our blog to ensure that you receive all the interviews exploring the elements at each school that support career goals in finance, consulting, general management, entrepreneurship, marketing and more.

Here is the interview with the Career Management Center team at Cornell Johnson.

What kind of background and skills do you like to see in applicants expressing interest in a career in brand/product management?

For traditional brand management roles, background can be less important than the ability to highlight your leadership, teamwork, analytical skills, and a passion for understanding the customer/consumer.
For product management roles, recruiters like to see many of the same skills as for brand management.  Most product managers have some type of technical or engineering degree pre-MBA.  Ideally, having some customer-facing experience (sales presentations, etc.) can help set students apart.

What aspects of your curriculum do you feel are best suited to students who want to eventually pursue a career in brand/product management?

The strategic marketing immersion, which students take the second semester of their first year, is the best suited for students interested in careers in brand and product management.  In this immersion, you and your team are essentially brand/product managers on a real marketing project, and the team has a significant amount of interaction with the client.  The projects cover a wide range of industries, including CPG, high tech, and pharma/biotech.

Which school clubs and extra-curricular events are most relevant to people interested in brand/product management?

Students should join the Marketing Association.  Those who have interests in specific industries should join other relevant clubs such as the High Tech, Healthcare and Biotechnology, and Sustainable Global Enterprise, Media and Entertainment, and Retail and Luxury Clubs.

Since “brand/product management” is a very broad term, can you break down some of the some of the sub-categories in the field that Cornell Johnson excels in?

Most of our marketing students pursue careers in consumer packaged goods brand management or product management in healthcare/pharma or high tech.  We have a smaller percentage of students who pursue careers in leadership rotational programs, marketing research/analytics and brand consulting.

Which five brand/product management firms recruit the most Cornell Johnson graduates? What kinds of positions did they go into?

  • Brand Management:  S.C. Johnson, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser
  • Product Management:  Corning, Amgen, Genentech, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Cisco

Download Accepted’s new special report, MBA Action Plan, for practical tips on what you can do now to increase your chances of getting in to a top business school next year. (P.S. It’s free!)

  • Steven Haines

    If you are interested in Product or Brand Management, check out a great book: "The Product Manager's Desk Reference." It will provide you with a comprehensive context for what you need to know AND how you'll need to think.
    Steven Haines
    Author of the PMDR