With his investing experience and understanding of finance, Viraj (name changed) was clear that he wanted RoI from his MBA investment. He kept in mind not just the monetary investment, but also his time. And the RoI from the Cornell One-year MBA offered by an ivy league university is quite high compared to the more popular 2-year MBA programs in USA.
Cornell 1 Year MBA Admissions story
I’m an Indian male stock-trader with a background in management consulting. By education I’m an engineer from a premier NIT.
Right from childhood, I was always interested in history, math and the stock market. That pushed me towards entrepreneurship and finance-related extra-curricular activities during engineering.
Even as an engineering student, I was spending around 50% of my time on stocks. After 5 years of being in the strategy consulting space (and continuing to dabble in stock trading in parallel), I decided to take the plunge into managing stocks on a full-time basis. I started my venture in the algorithmic trading area.
In the process of investing over the years, I came up with a few new ideas and implemented them as the main product of my venture.
I was doing quite well work-wise. My key motivation for an MBA was to get formal advanced education on both my new fields: Entrepreneurship and Finance.
My immediate post-MBA goal is to expand my venture in New York, London, and Singapore stock-exchanges.
The nature of my business is such that it affords me time to pursue business education in the next 1 to 1.5 year period.
During my studies, my venture will not be affected. This makes it the perfect time to go for an MBA.
After starting the venture, I realized that I cannot afford a 2-year MBA program due to the time constraints and so a 1-1.5 year program works best.
My key criteria for selecting the program were duration, brand, networking potential and academic rigour.
The program that best fit my requirements was the Cornell Johnson One-Year MBA.
While researching the program, from my interactions with current students and alumni I really got a taste of their collaborative and helpful culture.
Everyone I reached out to was extremely helpful and open in sharing information about the program. This was something that the official websites could never convey no matter how hard they tried.
For my GMAT preparation, I tried Magoosh and official GMAT resources. I was expecting around 750 but ended up with a 720. I was not too stoked about the score but decided to take a shot with it
With the GMAT taken care of, I still had several things that were giving me a lot of stress.
The big one was the cut-throat competition of applying to the top business schools.
For the calibre of schools I was aiming for as an Indian male candidate, my GMAT score was on the lower end of their range.
I had spent a good part of my working career in an area which is slightly better differentiated than most peer-applicants, but I faced stiff competition from the sub industry group.
Read Cornell Johnson MBA application tips
Why I hired admission consultants
I decided to take help from consultants as I felt I was getting lost in the details and was not presenting a clear story. While I did have story formation skills, I just did not realize structure is as important as the story itself.
MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) helped me realize this. I found MCB through a series of blogs on their website. I was impressed by the amount of depth and personalization they offered Indian students.
I researched many MBA consultants – including international consultants who, despite the big names and claims, seemed clueless in understanding unusual Indian profiles like mine.
Of the lot, MCB really wanted to know me well before delving deep into the process. The kind of questions they asked made me introspect a bit more into myself.
Structuring the story was one big area where MCB helped. I signed up for the MBA MAP and essay package.
I worked with Manish Gupta and he was very calm and composed in our interactions. He answered all my questions with a lot of patience.
He really helped me get a clearer understanding of the process. Manish helped me find ways to present myself in ways I would have never done myself.
The Cornell 1 year MBA has stricter eligibility criteria than other top programs. One must either have a CPA license or must have cleared level 2 of the CFA program.
My level 2 exam was on June 23 and results were expected by August. So, I wanted to be focused on the CFA exam.
But at the same time I couldn’t ignore my MBA application deadlines. And I also had my GMAT test around the same time. This was a very difficult phase for me. Fortunately I was able to manage all three.
In hindsight, my timeline planning could’ve been improved a lot by not pushing everything till the last minute.
When I got an interview call from Cornell, I was thrilled!
I immediately reached out to the MCB team again for MBA interview preparation help.
Manish and I had 2 rounds of Mock interviews that helped me prepare for all questions.
My Cornell interview had some straight up technical problems, but apart from that it went very well. The interview lasted for around 20-25 minutes and there was nothing surprising or startling in the questions.
Cornell’s turnaround time was very quick. It took them around 3 days to share final results after the interview.
Tips for applicants
If I have to share some advice to prospective applicants, it would be this.
That would be the biggest lesson I have taken from the whole experience.
There are lots of finer details that one needs to consider before submitting an application. It takes time to collect (or in some cases discover), process, understand and act on these details.
It might involve talking to many people across the board (students, alumni, admission staff etc) and all those conversations take time.
I would have begun the process at least 2-3 months earlier than I did.
More insights on Cornell Tech MBA review and admission experience.
– How I got into Cornell MBA: My journey from data analytics to bschool
– Why I turned down a masters with scholarship offer from Cornell University
– 16 things every Cornell Johnson MBA student should know