Johnson’s application takes a somewhat unique approach among MBA programs, so it’s highly recommended that you do some advanced planning before jumping into any particular portion of the app. Once you’ve had a chance to get a good sense of what’s on offer at Cornell, you can really take full advantage of the advice we’ll be sharing below.

Before beginning, you may want to take note of which of Cornell’s many deadlines you should be targeting.


Essay 1 (Goals Statement): 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 by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question (350 words maximum):

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) [Role] at [Company] within [Industry].

Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:

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:

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

This is a novel approach to a classic admissions question. At the core of it, Johnson is trying to evaluate how realistic and attractive your career objectives are. A good way to begin is by looking back at your career, starting with your university studies, and analyzing the reasons behind every step you took; how has each of your experiences influenced and benefited the next? Once you’ve figured that out, you can better identify how your short and long-term objectives fit into the larger picture (quick note: think of long-term as being about 10 years out from graduation). Also, it’s vital to keep in mind that, when it comes to your career goals, aiming high is important, but being unrealistically optimistic in your projections could turn Cornell off from your profile.

If you’ve carried out a comprehensive analysis of your work and higher education history, you can create a more effective answer for the final question that’s being asked here. As you respond to it, try to express not only what skills and experiences you’ve gained but also what sort of passion you’ve developed for your objectives. You can choose one or two short, impactful examples that strongly illustrate these points, though you shouldn’t write too excessively about your biggest hits, as you’ll have other opportunities in this app to showcase your accomplishments.

Essay 2 (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? (350 words maximum)

How well do you know Cornell? If you haven’t had the chance yet, you need to dive into researching everything that Johnson has to offer. It would also do you a lot of good to join in on some events, visit the campus, and connect with alumni and current students. However, all of the insights that you can gain from this process are not going to be useful unless you can connect them to yourself.

Don’t make the classic mistake of showing the depth of your Johnson-related knowledge by simply listing opportunities to engage with other students that are just interesting. Instead, connect the research you’ve done with previous experiences you’ve had. Essentially, think about how you can tie together what you know or what you love with the school.

For the final part of the essay, you’ll need to explain your motivation for entering Cornell and how it relates to your desire to impact the school. The admissions committee wants to be convinced that, to a certain extent, your motivation for pursuing an MBA is related to your understanding of how past students have made Johnson a community, and what contribution you will bring to that collective project.

Optional Essay: You may use this essay to call attention to items needing clarification and to add additional details to any aspects of your application that do not accurately reflect your potential for success at Johnson (350 words maximum).

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application and candidacy since the last time you applied for admission. Please also review our Application Guide for additional information about reapplying (350 words maximum).

If you happen to be a new applicant, you should only use this space if there are negative or seemingly negative issues in your profile (e.g., significant gaps in work history, poor academic performance, and so on). And you certainly do want to use this space if there is an issue, otherwise the admissions committee will assume the worst-case reason for the perceived problem.

When discussing an issue be direct: concisely explain the context and why it won’t reoccur. When possible, it’s also very helpful to try to demonstrate that you permanently resolved the problem. For instance, if you had poor grades during your undergraduate studies, you can show that you’ve fixed the cause behind them through additional coursework you’ve taken after graduation and a higher-than-average GMAT/GRE score.

On the other hand, if you’re a reapplicant, you’ll need to use this space to talk about what’s changed since your last submission. There are many positive changes that could have taken place: you might have scored higher on the GMAT, been promoted at work, changed to a position with greater responsibilities or lead a successful charitable campaign. Moreover, you could have also reassessed your career objectives, arriving at more realistic and attractive goals. However you decide to approach this question, it’s really crucial to make sure that you set yourself apart from all of your competition, meaning other applicants and your former self.

Setting yourself apart in the application process is complicated, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with a Cornell Admissions Expert. Otherwise, for technical information on the apps, you can visit Johnson’s official site.

Published On: June 27th, 2022 / Categories: Cornell Johnson, Essay, MBA / Tags: , , , /