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Cornell Johnson MBA application tips, class profile, fees, employment report, ranking and more

Cornell Johnson MBA | Application, class profile, ranking, employment

The Johnson Graduate School of Management in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business is an Ivy League business school known for its top-ranked elite MBA programs.

MBA aspirants can choose to pursue the conventional and the more popular two-year MBA program or the accelerated one-year MBA or the Cornell Tech MBA. All these programs also offer a STEM-designated path.

The two year and one year MBA programs would be Ithaca-based while the Cornell Tech MBA would be dual-campus, involving both the Ithaca and the Cornell Tech – New York City campus.

Cornell Johnson MBA Class profile

The 21-month duration two-year MBA program starts in August with a class size of 292.

The recent batch had a GMAT median score of 710, median GPA OF 3.34 and an average age of 28 years, five years being the average work experience. Students came in from 30 countries; 35% of the class was of international origin.

Women comprised 39% of the class. With is focus on diversity and inclusion, Johnson hosts the Johnson Women in Business (JWiB) event for women MBA applicants interested in the two-year MBA program.  

The interaction with Johnson students, faculty and alumnae during the two-day long event can help prospective women applicants gain valuable insights.

Cornell Johnson MBA application

The MBA application requirements and prerequisites include an excellent academic record, a competitive GMAT/GRE score, professional recommendations, resume, TOEFL/IELTS score (if applicable) and most importantly, well-written MBA essays that reflect the mutual fit with the program and elaborate how the MBA program can help attain career goals.

Cornell Johnson’s acceptance rate is close to 40% which offers applicants a much brighter chance of being accepted compared to a few other reputed MBA programs.

Johnson’s application deadline for the first round is September 22, 2022, for the second round, it is January 10, 2023, while for the third round, it is April 11, 2023.

Cornell Johnson MBA fees

The tuition for the two-year MBA program is $153,380 whereas for the one-year MBA program, it is $118,758.

Cornell Johnson MBA employment report

Of the two-year MBA class of 2021, 97% received job offers within three months of graduation, of which 95% accepted these offers. The base salaries and bonuses offered to MBA grads have shown an upward trend over the last five years.

2021 witnessed a greatly successful placement session with high offer rates and salaries especially for those looking for a career in MBB consulting, tech, and investment banking.

The average base salary was $139,121, while the average signing bonus was $37,684.

The average base salary was highest for consulting at $148,389, next was financial services industry at $147,396, then came the technology industry at $132,084.

Cornell Johnson MBA ranking

The MBA program has been ranked as follows.

  • #15 in 2022 U. S. News Best Business School rankings
  • #17 in the 2022 FT (Financial Times) global MBA rankings
  • #20 in the Bloomberg Best B-Schools 2021–22 rankings
  • #15 in the Poets & Quants 2021-2022 rankings

Sameer Kamat, founder of MBA Crystal Ball, interviewed Eddie Asbie (Executive Director of Admissions and Scholarship at Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management) to help applicants gain a better understanding of what the business school has to offer.

Cornell Johnson MBA | Admissions, Careers, Academics, Scholarships

Q&A with Eddie Asbie | Executive Director of Admissions and Scholarship


Cornell Johnson MBA Admissions Process

MBA Crystal Ball (MCB): What are some of the interesting facts about Johnson that you’d want applicants to know?

Cornell Johnson (CJ): Johnson provides students the opportunity and flexibility to customize their program the way they see best fit. Students have the opportunity to take elective courses at other top-ranked programs at Cornell, along with taking advantage of various offers through our Cornell Tech campus. Such as our intensives, fall weekend courses, and our new 1+1 program.

We also allow students from other programs to take advantage of Johnson electives, which has helped our students expand their networks.

Johnson was the first top tier business school with an Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Currently, we are celebrating 21 years as an office that focuses on supporting women, underrepresented minority (URM), veterans and LGBTQ+ students.
MCB: Apart from the official website, what are the resources for international students to learn more about the MBA program and interact on a more personalized basis with the admissions committee and current students?
CJ: For international candidates, we know it can be difficult to get to become familiarized with a program, however I believe Johnson has great resources for candidates to connect with our community.

First, I want candidates to know that our admissions team welcomes a conversation via phone or virtually to address any questions they may have regarding the program, admissions process, life in Ithaca, and more. We encourage candidates to reach out directly to a member of our admissions team to learn more.

Second, we have a variety of admissions events that can be found on our website where candidates have the opportunity to meet us in-person or in a virtual setting. To learn more about the various offering, please visit our events page.

Third, our students are probably the best resource when learning more about the program. Our students are very honest and transparent about their experience and I believe this is helpful when deciding where to apply. Applicants have the opportunity to meet our students through our virtual chats, which can also be found under our events page or we have our connect with student’s page for prospective to reach out. To learn more, please review this site.

Once again, we are here to help and look forward to learning more about you.

MCB: How do you evaluate MBA applications? Explain the various steps involved from the time the application is received until a final decision is made.

CJ: Each applicant is assigned an application coordinator who is responsible for processing applications and making sure all necessary documents are complete. Our coordinators are the main point of contact and happy to assist and answer questions during the process.

Once a candidate’s application is complete, a full and comprehensive review is conducted and includes an assessment of academic readiness, professional preparedness, and fit. Members of our team spend a significant amount of time with each individual application to get a better understanding of the candidate’s qualifications.

After a complete and thorough review, the committee member recommends one of the following actions: interview, waitlist without interview, or deny.

For those who complete the interview, the interviewer provides a write up of the individual’s candidacy and preparedness for MBA studies. The admissions committee then meets to discuss the overall profile relative, as it relates to the applicant pool. This will then allow for a final decision.

We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the effort candidates put into their application. We definitely take notice when we learn more about a candidate’s qualification and enthusiasm for our program.
MCB: How does an applicant assess if he or she will be the ‘right fit’ with the program? In what way can that ‘fit’ be demonstrated on the application?
CJ: Finding the “right fit” is a key component of the MBA program, as this is a huge investment personally, professionally, and financially.

I would encourage candidates to start by creating their our own “must have”, “nice to have”, and “don’t need to have” list when it comes to business school. The list can be based on the type of location or environment you are looking for. It can focus on the class size, career interest, goals, diversity initiatives, and more.

After you have created this list, I would encourage you to connect with members of our community to hear about their experience. As mentioned before, we are very excited to have conversations that focus on the strengths of our program.
MCB: Can you share some DOs and DONTs – especially with the MBA essays for international applicants? Anything in the application that’s a complete turn-off?


  1. Make sure you follow directions and answer the question . This includes the word limit mentioned in the application. Candidates have a lot of information they want to share, however it is important that you are able to get to the point and be as clear and concise when answering the essay prompts.
  2. We want to hear your unique voice and your story. This is your opportunity to tell your story in written form. We are looking for candidates to be authentic and genuine in the essay.
  3. Proofread your essay, especially if grammar is not one of your strengths.
  4. Take your time submitting your essay and give it great thought. Please do not rush this process.
  5. Have someone who will give you honest feedback about your essay. This will give candidates the opportunity to get a second opinion to make sure they are answering the questions and that it is a true representation of who they are.
  6. Have fun! This essay and application process give you the opportunity to self-reflect on your goals and how you see yourself making an impact in our community.


  1. Don’t come up with your own interpretation of what the essay question is asking. If you are unsure, I would highly recommend reaching out to a member of our team to confirm you are heading in the right direction.
  2. Each school has unique essays prompts and we know candidates are applying to multiple schools. Please do not take portions of another school’s essay and incorporate it into our essays. This is where we will question authenticity and sincere interest in our program.

MCB: What can students with below average GPA or GMAT do to improve their odds of getting in?
CJ: Great question! First, please don’t shy away from the fact that your GPA or test score may below the average. I think the first thing is acknowledging this and then coming up with an action plan to demonstrate your readiness for MBA studies.

The MBA has a strong quantitative focus and we want to have full confidence you will be successful in our program. I like to tell candidates to be proactive, instead of reactive in the process.

If you know your stats are below our average, I would encourage candidates to consider taking courses that highlight their quantitative ability. Also, if you need to retake the GMAT or GRE multiple times, please do so. We want you to be successful in the core and be able to hit the ground running.
MCB: What can MBA applicants from over-represented applicant pools (such as tech applicants) do to make their profile stand out?

CJ: Each applicant has an interesting story, even if there are coming from an over-representation pool. Some of the ways to stand out in the process is to highlight unique projects, initiative, or volunteer opportunities throughout an academic and/or professional career.

We enjoy hearing about unique opportunities or projects candidates have worked on. Some of the things to take into consideration:
(1) What have you learned from this experience?
(2) How have you made an impact on this initiative or how this has made an impact on you?
(3) Things you would change from this experience.

Johnson Scholarships & Financial Aid

MCB: Approximately what percentage of the incoming class receives a scholarship?

CJ: Every year this number may vary based on the quality of the applicant pool, however for the incoming Class of 2021, we saw slightly over 50% of the class receive a merit-based scholarship.
MCB: Does Johnson have tie-ups with financing institutions? What proportion of students opt for educational loans with banks and financing companies?

CJ: One of our partnerships is with the QUORUM Federal Credit Union (QFCU) which offers a no co-signer loan to admitted students. Students may use this as an option, along with other private loans.

Johnson Academics

MCB: What are some of the unique courses and learning methodologies adopted in the Johnson MBA? How have things changed in the post-Covid era?

CJ: A couple courses that come to mind are Core Leadership Skills for a VUCA World which is led by General George Casey, retired four-star general who served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army and Advanced Critical Thinking for Business Leaders led by Professor Risa Misa.

The VUCA course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of the key leadership skills required for success in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous business world. The critical thinking course provides fundamental critical and strategic concepts related to organizational problems and provides necessary tools when communicating with key decision makers.

The biggest change in the post-Covid era that we are seeing is how the world of virtual has changed the way we operate in everyday life.

From an admissions standpoint, we have been able to connect with candidates more frequently and from all over the world using different virtual platforms.

From a recruiting standpoint, companies have utilized virtual options to recruit candidate for internship and full-time opportunities. I do not see this approach changing moving forward as there are many benefits.
MCB: In what ways do you ensure that the MBA curriculum remains relevant and is designed to make students future-ready?

CJ: Johnson does a great job of staying relevant with our MBA curriculum. First, we believe it is very important to hear from our students about their experience with the program and ways that we an improve the overall experience. Our leadership is very receptive to feedback as our students are going through their curriculum experience and thoughts post-MBA.

Second, we have world renowned faculty who are experts in their field and who help drive the structure of the program. Their expertise on what is happening in various industries helps us to stay relevant and ahead of the game. Overall, when there are shifts in different industries we want to make sure we are well prepared to make sure our students are successful.

Careers @ Johnson

MCB: How many graduates manage to switch their careers – meaning industry and/or function? What resources at the school help in such transitions?
CJ: In the admissions process, as well as when our current students start the recruiting process we have seen many students who are looking to switch careers. As for an applicant, it is important that you are transparent and have a good sense of your career goals in the application process, especially if you are looking to make a career switch. We want to make sure we have the necessary resources available to help transition into the industry/function of interest.

As for resources, our Career Management Center does an outstanding job of working with our students to help them land the internship and full time offer(s) they are looking for. There is a dedicated professional staff that our students will work with to help every step of the way during the recruitment journey. Whether updating your resume, prepping for an interview or connecting with alumni, we are available to help.

There are also our professional student clubs and Career Working Groups (CWGs) which is typically led by our second-year students who provide time and resources to help first-year MBA’s with the recruiting process.
MCB: Are there any new initiatives that are underway at the Johnson MBA?

CJ: Yes! I am excited to share that we are offering a new 1+1 program to students in the Two-Year MBA program who are interested in a tech focus and/or have entrepreneurial career aspirations.

Students will complete their first year in Ithaca (Core + Immersion) followed by the summer internship and then spend their second year on the Cornell Tech campus in NYC to join the Studio curriculum. This allows our students the best of both worlds and to expand their networks within the tech industry.

At this time, there is an internal application our incoming students will fill out in the fall semester to demonstrate their interest in this option. Eventually, we will have this as a question in the admissions application. I believe this option is a differentiator for Johnson compared to our peer schools.

This article is part of CrystalConnect, an outreach initiative by MBA Crystal Ball.

Also read:
How I got into Cornell MBA
Cornell Tech MBA review and admission experience
Why I turned down a masters with scholarship offer from Cornell University
Cornell 1 Year MBA admission blog

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