Cornell Johnson - MBA Program & Application

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Posted March 1, 2024

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Class Profile (2024)

  • Location: Ithaca, NY
  • Class Size: 303
  • Average Work Experience: 5.5 years
  • Median GMAT Score: 710
  • Median GPA: 3.30
  • Women: 39%
  • International: 43%
  • Underrepresented Minorities: 16%
  • Military: 13%
  • Acceptance Rate: 40%

"To prospective students, join us! You will be embraced, challenged, and supported as you undertake a life-changing learning and growth opportunity designed to enable you to realize your ambitions and make a lasting impact on business and the world."

Mark W. Nelson, Ph.D., Dean of the CS Johnson SOM

Application Overview (2023-2024)

Johnson Deadlines

Round 1: September 20, 2023

  • Decisions released December 8, 2023

Round 2: January 10, 2024

  • Decisions released April 5, 2024

Round 3: April 10, 2024

  • Decisions released May 31, 2024

Application Requirements

In general, Johnson is looking for applicants with:

  • Outstanding academic records and a commitment to academic excellence
  • A resume with professional accomplishments
  • Thoughtful essays that communicate why they are a good fit for Johnson
  • Competitive test scores (GMAT or GRE)
  • The desire to make a positive difference
  • The ability to explain their career goals and the role of Johnson in them

Put in your email to receive our full, customizable MBA Application Checklist here.


  • The admissions committee at Johnson realizes that standardized test scores are only one part of the application and they prefer to take a more holistic approach to the process. The GRE/GMAT scores are just one part of a much more comprehensive student profile.
  • Johnson accepts both GRE and GMAT scores. There is no minimum score required for the application. The middle 80% of applicants submit GMAT scores between 650 and 740.
  • At the time of application, students may submit unofficial scores. After acceptance, however, official scores are required. GMAT and GRE scores are valid for 5 years after the date the exam was taken. If the expiration date is approaching, be sure to submit the official scores before it expires.
  • For students that took either test more than once, Johnson will use the highest total score.

Learn more here: GMAT vs. GRE for Business School—Which to Take and How to Ace Both

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Cornell Johnson Essays

The applicants to the two-year and one-year MBA programs must complete a Goals Statement as well as one essay question. To be considered for the Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program full-tuition fellowship award, two-year MBA applicants can submit an additional essay.

Goals Statement

This short answer section allows applicants to share their short and long-term goals.

Prompt: 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:
    • Industry:
  • 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:
    • Industry:
  • How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

Impact Essay

With this essay, Johnson wants its applicants to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Before even submitting an applicant, Cornell encourages its potential students to engage with the Johnson community.

Prompt: 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)

Park Leadership Fellows Program Essay

This program is a two-year, full-tuition scholarship award for two-year MBA candidates with outstanding leadership potential who want to make a difference in their communities. These fellowships are awarded to 25 incoming students with the expectation that they will participate in leadership and development activities, take leadership roles within the school, and complete a public service project by graduation. It is only available to US citizens.

Students who are interested in the Park Leadership Fellowship must submit their applications in the October or January application rounds.

Prompt: Describe a past formal or informal leadership experience and how it informs your goals for growth as a leader. How would the Park Leadership Fellowship assist with these goals? (500 words)

Learn more here: How to Write a Powerful MBA Essay—With Examples

Other Application Info

Letters of Recommendation

  • Cornell uses the GMAC Common Letter of Recommendation to make it easier for applicants to submit their recommendations. Only one letter of recommendation is required but students can submit up to two if they would like.
  • Johnson encourages applicants to seek recommenders who are able to comment on their professional, leadership, and intellectual capabilities.

Learn more here: How to Get the Perfect MBA Recommendation Letter—With Examples

Johnson Interviews

After submitting the application, some applicants will be invited to continue the process with an interview. The interview gives the admissions committee a chance to get to know its applicants better and assess whether they are a good fit for the program. The interview invitations will be sent via email following a preliminary review of the application. In order to be offered admission, candidates must complete an interview.

The interviews may be conducted via Skype online or in person in Ithaca, NY. The Admissions Committee does not have a preference and the interview format will have no negative impact on the applicant. The interviews are conducted by members of the admissions committee, MBA programs professional staff, and trained second-year MBA students.

Read more here: How to Ace Your MBA Interview: With Prep Questions & Answers and How to Nail Your Virtual MBA Interview

Application Fee

Johnson’s nonrefundable application fee is $200. This fee can be waived for applicants who fit the following criteria:

  • US Military service members and veterans
  • Forté MBALaunch participants
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep Fellows
  • Current or former Peace Corps volunteers
  • Teach for America Alumni
  • Current Cornell students applying for admission as part of a Johnson MBA dual-degree program
  • Cornell employees applying through the Employee Degree Program (only for one-year Ithaca MBA applicants)

In order to get the waiver, applicants must email their application coordinator before submitting the application.

Academic Transcripts

At the application’s time of submission, official transcripts are acceptable but not required. Once an offer of admission has been made, the candidate will be required to submit official copies of all transcripts.

The transcripts should include all semesters of study and demonstrate proof that the degree was conferred. For transcripts that are not in English, the applicant must also provide certified, English-translated copies. They can be submitted electronically or by mail. Electronic copies can be sent to the school directly via email: Mailed hard copies can be sent to:

Johnson at Cornell University

Office of Admissions & Scholarship

Attention: Application Coordinators

114 Sage Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853


An MBA application resume should be no longer than one page and updated with all the correct educational information and professional experience. Ensure that all dates match those on the application and add any notable professional accomplishments in detail.

Learn more here: How to Craft the Ultimate MBA Resume—With Examples

Johnson Tuition and Costs (2023-2024)

Cost Breakdown

Tuition: $79,910

Mandatory Fees: $585

Housing & Food: $18,554

Books & Supplies: $2,700

Personal/Transportation: $3,042

Miscellaneous: $2,420

Estimated Total Cost of Attendance: $107,211

International Students

Because of the academic intensity at Cornell, Johnson requires that its students have mastery of the English language. For applicants whose native language is not English, and who have not earned a degree in an English-speaking country, an English proficiency language test is required. Johnson accepts the TOEFL and the IELTS exams.

The minimum score on the TOEFL required for admission is 100, with a minimum of 25 for each section. For the IELTS, the minimum score is 7.0. English language scores are valid for two years after the tests are taken. At the time of application, an unofficial score is acceptable, but upon matriculation, an official score result is required.

Johnson MBA Programs

Johnson offers many different types of MBA programs to allow its students to take the courses that are best suited to their personal and career goals. The following options are available:

Full-Time MBA

  • Type: residential MBA with a STEM-designated path
  • Location: Ithaca, NY
  • Program length: 21 months
  • Class size: 292
  • Start date: August
  • Tuition: $148,052

One-Year MBA

  • Type: full-time, residential MBA with a STEM-designated path
  • Location: Ithaca, NY
  • Program length: 12 months
  • Class size: 60
  • Start date: May
  • Tuition: $114,632

Johnson Cornell Tech MBA

  • Type: full-time, residential, STEM-designated MBA
  • Location: Ithaca, NY and New York, NY
  • Program length: 12 months
  • Class size: 80
  • Start date: May
  • Tuition: $114,632

Executive MBA Americas

  • Type: EMBA
  • Location: Select cities
  • Program length: 17 months
  • Class size: 158
  • Start date: June/July
  • Tuition: $158,730

Cornell Executive MBA Metro NY

  • Type: Executive
  • Location: New York City
  • Program length: 22 months
  • Class size: 70
  • Start date: July
  • Tuition: $202, 536

Cornell-Tsinghua Finance MBA

  • Type: Executive
  • Location: Beijing, China
  • Length: 2 years
  • Class size: 120
  • Start date: September
  • Tuition: TBD, tuition is paid separately to Cornell and Tsinghua University

Program Overview

The STEM-designated MBA program at Johnson is one-of-a-kind with leadership development activities, a unique curriculum, programming at Cornell Tech in NYC, and a required summer internship. The program takes an immersion approach in which students are able to specialize in an industry of their choice.

The STEM designation recognizes that science can be a major component of management and they place an emphasis on data analytics, technology, and other similar areas.

Year 1

First Semester
Throughout their first semester, students are put into core teams and will take core courses that cover business fundamentals. These include subjects like finance, marketing, and strategy.

Second Semester
In the second semester, students will choose one of seven immersion options that are based on specific industries and careers. These immersions will include classroom learning and hands-on experience. The immersion options include:

  • Investment Research and Asset Management
  • Digital Technology
  • Investment Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • Strategic Operations
  • Strategic Product and Marketing
  • Customized Immersion


During the summer, students are required to take an internship. The immersion experience from the previous semester will prepare students to perform well and be more likely to receive a full-time job offer.

Year 2

First Semester

The second year at Johnson will allow students to further hone their skills and prepare for a business career in their chosen industries. In the third semester, students will choose from more than 120 elective options across the different concentrations at Johnson, as well as across the rest of Cornell University. There are also over 80 professional, regional, and diversity clubs available for students to participate in.

Second Semester

In the last semester of the Johnson two-year MBA degree, many candidates choose to spend half in an intensive program that focuses on fintech, digital marketing, or sustainable global enterprise. In the other half, students are able to complete any remaining electives.

Dual Degree Programs

At Johnson, students have the opportunity to pursue a double degree in the following four dual graduate degree programs:


  • This program enables students to grow their legal knowledge and business acumen. Those who wish to pursue corporate law will benefit from having more experience with business and those who wish to pursue business will benefit from understanding corporate legal perspectives.
  • The MBA/JD program at Cornell takes three years. In the first year, students will take JD courses. In the summer of their first year, they will take core business courses with the one-year MBA students. Over the remaining two years, they will take a mix of JD and MBA courses across both schools.


  • This program, which combines an MBA with a master’s in Industrial and Labor Relations, gives students the skills they need to succeed in high levels of human resource management and consulting.
  • Students have two options for completing this degree. They can start the first year at either Johnson or ILR. For those that start at Johnson, the second year will be split between another semester at Johnson in the fall, and then the spring at ILR. The final year, of which only the first semester is required, will be at ILR. For those that start at ILR, the second year and first semester of the third year will both be at Johnson.


  • In collaboration with Cornell Weill Medical College, this program allows medical students to get their MBA in just one year. Most MD candidates will take this program, which lasts from May to the following May, in between their third and fourth year of medical school.
  • Alumni of this program have gone on to start their own entrepreneurship ventures in medically-related fields or establish large practices with their advanced management skills.


  • The combination of an MHA and MBA provides students with a combination of skills in general management and healthcare. Graduates have taken management positions in healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, financial institutions, and more.
  • The summer before the first year, candidates will start at Johnson. In their first year, they will then switch over to the MHA before concluding their degree with the second year at Johnson.

The Johnson Experience

At Johnson, all the faculty and staff conspire to make it an intensively collaborative community. Because the program is relatively small, students are able to work closely with their professors and foster life-long relationships with their classmates.

There are many different student clubs that give candidates the opportunity to expand their skillsets, meet like-minded people, and improve their resumes. The Office of Diversity & Inclusion strives to make the Johnson community a global and welcoming one.

The town of Ithaca is a college town like no other with an expansive music, arts, and culture scene. It has more restaurants per capita than New York City and the cost of living is affordable. The town is also good for families with highly ranked schools, parks, and a prioritization of safety.

SC Johnson: Leading the Frontier of Business

A STEM-Designated MBA Program

Two-Year MBA FAQs

How do your MBAs fare in the job market?

  • Extremely well! Recruiters seek Johnson MBAs because they find them exceptionally well-prepared and strong team players who can begin making a meaningful contribution to employers on Day One. See their most recent Employment Report for more information.

Why do they offer immersions in the first year instead of the second?

  • Their immersions are a combination of specialized coursework and performance learning activities all aimed at providing you with exceptional preparation for your summer internship. Building on the general management foundation of functional skills you gain through your core courses, these immersions give you specialized knowledge in a particular field. Companies consistently tell us that our interns are better able to make an immediate contribution than students from peer institutions.

Can I start my MBA in the spring semester?

  • No. Their program is structured to deliver content and hone skills in a sequence. Students get most of their functional knowledge foundation and participate in an integrative case competition in the first fall semester then take an “immersion” in the spring that provides exceptional preparation for the summer internship.

Will you help me find an internship?

  • Yes. Their Career Management Center is highly regarded as one of the best in the world. They maintain and continue to grow the list of companies that recruit at Johnson. Their goal is not only to help you get an internship and then a job but to ensure that you leave here with the skills to successfully search for positions throughout your career. At Johnson, you’ll frequently find students critiquing each others’ resumes, putting each other through mock interviews, and offering encouragement and support. Our alumni are also very engaged in helping students prepare for interviews.

What are my chances of gaining admission into your program?

  • The short answer is: we simply don’t know and won’t until you apply. If you look at the profile of the admitted students, read the student blogs and see yourself at Johnson, then please apply!
  • Their goal is to select individuals who will not only succeed in our MBA program but will go on to make a real and lasting impact on their organizations and the world around them. They also endeavor to create classes of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences so that each becomes a vital part of a culture in which learning is an intensely shared process. So while a strong undergraduate record, high scores on the GMAT, and success in jobs are all important considerations, they also look for demonstrations of leadership, the ability to work with others, and other traits and experiences that contribute to individual success and collaborative learning and work.

I don’t have any full-time work experience. Can I still apply?

  • Each year, they admit a small number of individuals who come straight out of an undergraduate program. Since we want all of our students to succeed in their MBA program and beyond, they try to identify those individuals who will hold their own in an environment where most of their peers have some job experience.

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