Like so many programs this year, Cornell Johnson has significantly reduced the number and length of essays it is requiring of applicants this year. Essay 1 was an option last year (and I think in previous years too.); this year it is required. Last year Johnson had two additional 400-word essays and one offered applicants 3 options.
1. You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 300 words or less please write the table of contents for the book. Note: approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.
Have a little fun with the question. You certainly have a lot of options and flexibility here. You can reveal something about your youth, influential experiences or people, challenges, hobbies, interests, passions… Perhaps where you intend to be in 30 years. It’s Your Life Story.
2. Instructions: Please answer the following three questions in abbreviated format. (Keep each answer in 150 words or less)
Going with the recent trend in MBA applications, and indeed society, Johnson wants brevity.
#1 When did you decide that business school was the next step for you? (Was this an epiphany or an evolutionary process? What was the catalyst that caused you to consider this next step?)
Here’s one possible approach to this question. First sit down and think. Jot down some notes. What was the epiphany? If it was an evolutionary process, what were the catalysts or key events on your road to this decision.
Then choose the one catalyst that was most important, will best complement other elements of your application, and is most impressive/distinctive. Focus on it in this very short response. Discuss that moment and 1-3 key reasons it convinced you bschool is right for you. Keep in mind Johnson’s dual focus of collaboration and leadership.
#2 Johnson values people that make things happen for themselves. Give an example of how you have initiated this for yourself.
The interesting twist on this question is “for yourself.” Have you taken an off-the-beaten-track vacation, trained for the marathon, lost a lot of weight, overcome a significant challenge, taken on a surprising level of responsibility to achieve a goal that was important to you? Any of these kinds of activities would be good responses to this question and show that you have the initiative and drive Johnson seeks.
#3 Please describe your immediate post MBA career goals.
Straightforward MBA goals question. What do you want to do immediately after you earn your MBA and in what industry do you want to do it? Please note this question doesn’t ask what do you want to study while at Cornell; it’s asking post-MBA.
You can also say you would like to work for a company like Company X or Startup Y, but don’t say you only want to work for Company X unless you have been promised a job there.
Also, specificity will add to the credibility of your goal. Don’t say you want to do “finance” or you want to do “marketing.” You will be telegraphing that you haven’t really done your homework. A more thoughtful goal is usually a more specific one. For example, you can write that you want to work for a hedge fund or consult for a strategy consulting firm with a focus on emerging markets. So research what you want to go into now and then you can reply thoughtfully to this and other schools’ goals questions.
The answer to this question should not duplicate the answer to #1, but they should make sense and it would be natural that they are related.
If you would like professional guidance with your Cornell Johnson MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Cornell Johnson application.
|Application Deadline||Decisions Released|
|Round 1||October 2, 2013||December 11, 2013|
|Round 2||December 4, 2013||February 5, 2014|
|Round 3||February 12, 2014||March 26, 2014|
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.