Get to Know the Cornell Johnson MBA Program: A Total Guide

Photo by Jason Koski, link, under CC license

Getting your MBA at Cornell Johnson will allow you to experience Ithaca’s liberal New York state, college-town vibe to the fullest. With a smaller class size of fewer than 300 students, the program places a strong emphasis on community and teamwork. But if you’re more inclined towards the city-life, Johnson also provides the option to take classes at their tech-focused Manhattan campus. 

Johnson’s host university, Cornell, has a fantastic reputation as part of the Ivy League. Cornell has excellent relationships with prestigious employers such as top consulting, investment banking, and tech firms, where a large number of alumni are present. The strong networking opportunities are definitely something to consider when deciding if Johnson is a good fit for you.

If you’re looking for an MBA program where you can choose to specialize heavily, Johnson is a good bet! Unlike some programs with a longer, fixed curriculum, at Johnson you can dive into classes that are specific to your interests early on. By the second semester of the program, you can choose to participate in Johnson’s immersion program that covers eight functional business areas. The immersion program takes experiential learning seriously, and you will find yourself rolling up your sleeves, and getting straight into site visits and live cases.

Cornell Johnson MBA Class Profile

Class Size303
Acceptance RateDoes not disclose
GMAT Median710
GPA Median3
Average Age29
Avg. Years Work Experience5.5
Diversity Women39
Diversity Intl.43
Pre-MBA IndustriesDoes not disclose
Undergraduate MajorsDoes not disclose

The data above is from 2022 and represents the Cornell Johnson Two-Year MBA Class of 2024.
See the full report: Cornell Johnson MBA Class Profile

Student Experiences

Cornell Johnson MBA Employment Report & Careers

Salary Average$176,805.00
The average salary is a total of average salary + signing bonus ($139,121 + $37,684)
Offers Upon GraduationDoes not disclose
Offers At 3 Mos.97
Post-MBA IndustriesFinancial services: 36%
Consulting: 27%
Technology: 17%
Consumer products: 6%
Manufacturing: 5%
Healthcare: 4%
Energy/Utilities: 1%
Real estate: 1%
Other: 3%
Post-MBA LocationsUnited States: 87%
Mid-Atlantic: 4%
Midwest: 9%
Northeast: 51%
South: 3%
Southwest: 7%
West: 13%
Non-US: 13%
Post-MBA Companies

Does not disclose

Career Development Resources

Cornell Johnson Career Development

The data above is from 2021 and represents the career statistics of the Cornell Johnson Two-Year MBA Class of 2021.*
See the full report: Cornell Johnson MBA Employment Report

Cornell Johnson MBA Academic Programs

MBA Curriculum

Cornell Johnson’s MBA curriculum spans across four semesters over two years. In the first year of the program, students primarily take core courses and participate in a mandatory team case competition. The second year of the program focuses on building leadership skills, while allowing students to take electives in areas that interest them. During the first year, students take nine required courses as part of the core curriculum. These classes cover topics such as Critical and Strategic Thinking, Data Modeling and Analytics, and Managerial Finance. You will begin taking elective courses during the second semester of your MBA. These courses fall within a diverse range of subjects, including Emerging Markets, Leadership and Ethics, and Sustainable Global Enterprise.

See the full offering of courses: Cornell Johnson MBA Course Catalog


Academic majors are not a requirement at Cornell Johnson; however, students may optionally decide to structure their course selection around one or more areas of focus. Johnson offers 12 areas of focus to choose from.

  • Asset Management / Investment Research
  • Brand Management
  • Consulting and Strategy
  • Corporate Finance
  • Data Modeling and Analytics
  • Emerging Markets
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Investment Banking
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Private Equity and Venture Capital
  • Sustainable Global Enterprise
  • Technology Product Management

Experiential Learning Programs

As part of Johnson’s experiential learning program, students must complete one of eight immersion courses. These offerings are spread out over a wide variety of subject areas such as Digital Technology and Strategic Operations.

Research Centers

Students can make use of Cornell Johnson’s four research centers and institutes to support their MBA education: The Parker Center for Investment Research, the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, the Emerging Markets Institute, and the Smith Family Business Initiative.

MBA International Study Programs

In addition to the international study trips and exchange programs, Johnson offers a variety of classes on international business. A number of these courses are affiliated with Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and the Emerging Markets Institute.

Video Resources on Cornell Johnson Academics

Cornell Johnson MBA Application

The latest application requirements set by the Cornell Johnson admissions office are described below.


Here are the prompts for Cornell Johnson’s 2022-2023 application:

  • Career Goals

    A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout the 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 and complete the following sentences and answering the short answer question below.

    1. In 5 years I want to work as a(n) [Role] at [Company] in the [Industry].

    2. In 5-10 years post-MBA my goal is to work as a(n) [Role] at [Company] in the [Industry].

    3. How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

  • Impact Essay

    Impact Essay. At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. Taking into consideration your background, how do you intend to make a meaningful impact on an elite MBA community? (text box, 350 words maximum)

  • Reapplicant Essay

    REAPPLICANT ESSAY: If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application. (text box, 350 words)

No programs selected.

Read more: Cornell Johnson MBA Essays: Tips for the 2022 Admissions Cycle

Letters of Recommendation 

The 2022-2023 Cornell Johnson recommender questions were as follows:

  • Optional — Is there anything about your ratings on which you would like to comment? (PDF)
  • Constructive feedback and the applicant’s response — Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (PDF, 500 words)
  • Performance comparison — How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (PDF, 500 words)
  • Interaction with the applicant — Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Text box, 50 words)
  • Ratings comment — (Optional) Is there anything about your ratings on which you would like to comment? (Short answer)

Video Resources on Cornell Johnson Admissions

Cornell Johnson MBA Admissions Interviews

Interviews for admission to Cornell Johnson are conducted primarily through Skype or in-person at the Ithaca campus. Occasionally, you may have the option to complete the interview in your city. Candidates are encouraged to schedule their interviews within 7 days of notification. The admissions interviews are conducted either by trained second year MBA students, who are part of the Johnson Admissions Group, or by professional MBA and Admissions staff. Johnson does not offer interviews conducted by program alumni. 

It is good to note that Cornell Johnson hosts Group MBA interview days. These interviews are also by invitation-only, and they include the Johnson Leadership Exploration and Assessment Day and Johnson Women in Business events. 

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What Makes Cornell Johnson Unique?

  • The intangible assets of Johnson’s host university, Cornell, really stand out: the university’s reputation as part of the Ivy League, its alumni network, and its strong relationship with prestigious employers truly adds value to the MBA degree. 
  • Cornell Johnson Tech MBA: This program is catered towards students with a background in tech looking to gain a firm grounding in business fundamentals and pursue a career in product management or entrepreneurship. The majority of the classes in this program are based at Cornell’s NYC campus. 

*All data retrieved from the Cornell Johnson MBA Program webpages, unless otherwise stated.