Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Considering an MBA at Cornell Johnson? Or are you thinking of applying to MBA programs with less-than-average work experience? If this is you, you’ll want to listen to this week’s show!
Introducing our guest [0:44]
Meet Jonathan Hua, a first year MBA student at Cornell Johnson and Editor in Chief of the Cornell Business Journal. He is also an Associate of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at Johnson and co-founder of the start-up UNICiD.
Jonathan grew up in Taipei, and attended Rice University in Houston, where he earned his bachelors in history and got bit by the start-up bug. Somewhere along the way he spent two years in Tokyo, He plays trumpet and also trains for triathlons.
Path to b-school [1:47]
He started off pre-med, but when his friend recruited him to work with a start-up, he became interested in business. Realizing his strength in communication, he decided on a history major. He applied to b-schools his senior year and deferred offers to work on UNICiD—a 3D fitting room application for online shopping. Working on start-ups made him realize he needs a formal b-school education.
Learning about leadership from diverse fields – such as history [7:10]
Why Cornell Johnson? [7:35]
Jonathan anted a new challenge in a very different environment (new climate, small town vs big city). He was impressed by the core curriculum and respected Cornell’s recent investment in entrepreneurship education – an example is the Cornell Tech campus.
Any challenges adjusting? [10:35]
Small town forces you to be more proactive—a good experience.
Hardest part of the application process [12:20]
Since he was applying right out of college, he didn’t have traditional work experience to draw on in his application. The essays are also challenging – such as the Table of Contents essay, which requires creativity.
How he made the case for admission with no work experience [14:55]
Focused on describing his goals and the practical management experience he’d gotten from his startup experience (teamwork, leadership, getting funding, etc). Identified what he needed from b-school, why it was important to go: sold them on potential.
What’s great about Johnson? [19:30]
It’s academically challenging. Team projects are great, and the experience of working with diverse team members is a really valuable part of the experience.
Areas that have fallen short [21:52]
The MBA program is working on boosting entrepreneurship education, but the resources still aren’t as extensive as they are for other areas (such as finance).
Cornell Business Journal: his plans [28:20]
Looking to publish his first issue as editor-in-chief by April. He plans to expand the scope of the journal beyond the b-school: looking for writers from diverse backgrounds interested in policy issues, the application of business concepts to broader topics, etc. His model is The Economist.
Associate of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute [31:45]
This means he takes entrepreneurship classes, promotes entrepreneurship education at Johnson, and will complete a capstone project (capstone can be starting your own company, helping another start-up, etc). Associates who fulfill all the requirements become “Fellows” of the Institute at graduation.
Has what he’s learned in class helped him with his start-up? [34:00]
Yes, definitely! Courses in financial management, marketing, etc. have given him a fuller understanding of how to run a business.
Summer and Post-MBA plans [36:18]
He plans to take the start up to an incubator in Silicon Valley to work on developing the project with resources there (funding, mentors). If that doesn’t work out, then he would like to gain experience working with a start-up.
Advice for applicants [39:40]
Reach out to the committee (he knows people who were waitlisted who reached out and got in). He contacted professors before he applied and thinks the connection helped.
Making personal connections with professors [42:40]
He researched their professional/start-up experience, their research, their courses, etc. He read their work (articles and books) and asked questions that showed real interest (and a connection between his interests/goals and their work).
• Connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn
• Johnson Social Media Ambassador Blog
• Cornell Business Journal
• 5 Important Lessons from my First Semester in the Cornell MBA
• Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute
• Cornell Johnson MBA program
• Johnson at Cornell University 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
• My Visit to Cornell Johnson
• Cornell Johnson zone page
• Honing in On the Cornell Johnson MBA
• Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC
• Entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson
• An HBS Student Helping HBS Applicants
• An Entrepreneurial Success Story: Interview with Jon Medved
• Stanford GSB Alum Transforming Online Dating for the Ambitious
• Interview with Tom Schick, former Executive VP at American Express