Get to know the STEM-designated MBA programs at Cornell

Eddie Asbie is the Executive Director of Admissions and Scholarship at the Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management. He told MBAGRADSCHOOLS about the various MBA programs at Cornell, the key differences between its one-year and two-year residential MBA programs, the benefits of STEM-designated MBA programs, and one of the biggest reasons why MBA applications get rejected.

In short

MBA programs at Cornell

The Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management offers a range of MBA programs, from a tech-focused MBA program in New York City to an Executive MBA program jointly offered with Queen’s University, to its residential one-year and two-year MBA programs.

When it comes to choosing which MBA program you want to pursue, Eddie advises, “I think it’s really important to get a good sense of which MBA program is the best fit for you…[There are] a lot of different options that are out there for candidates.” (00:26)

As Cornell is a highly competitive school, it is even more crucial for you to know which MBA is the right one for you. For example, in its two-year MBA program this year, Cornell processed over 2,100 applications and accepted under 30% of those applications. “It’s definitely competitive,” Eddie tells us. “There’s a lot that we see within candidates – but we’re looking for the right candidates, the right fit.” (02:46)

One-year vs. two-year MBA programs at Cornell

As we mentioned, Cornell offers both one-year and two-year MBA programs. Eddie explains that in order for prospective students to determine the right fit for them, there are some key differences they should be aware of.

First of all, there are specific qualifications that applicants need in order to be considered for the one-year MBA program, “like an advanced degree…or there are certain certifications like a CFA or a CPA.” (07:41)

This makes the one-year MBA program best suited for students who are “looking for an accelerated MBA…may already have strong networks, maybe they’re more advanced in their career, and they are looking for a fast-paced MBA program.” (04:05)

On the other hand, the two-year program is “their more traditional MBA program” (04:59) and allows for more flexibility in terms of academic background and professional experience. This makes it more suitable for students making a career switch. It also comes along with an internship and a much larger time commitment, which is often used for participating in electives, intensives, clubs, and professional groups.

“You’re going through two years of networking, of course you have that internship opportunity, but also, that gives you the opportunity to also spend those two years working on and building on your leadership as well,” Eddie explains. (05:08)

The last key difference between the two programs is their size. Cornell Johnson’s one-year program “welcomed in a class of 58” (03:30) in May 2021, whereas their two-year program had 292 students last year.

All in all, Eddie recommends that prospective students do their research and reflect on their professional context and future goals before applying. If you have any questions, you can reach out to admissions or “participate in any of [the] virtual online events that highlight both [their] one-year and two-year programs.” (06:16)

Why MBA programs at Cornell are STEM-designated

The MBA programs at Cornell are STEM-designated, which means that they “give students who are really focused on the science and the tech side…the opportunity to expand, to grow…in those particular areas,” Eddie says. (09:07)

This designation presents students with a couple of key benefits. First, STEM-designated MBA programs are perfect for those who “not only are working to get great jobs, [but are] also looking to be leaders in their field.” (09:35) This is because the programs strike a perfect balance between technical information and business knowledge.

The second benefit is especially pertinent to international students. Cornell’s STEM-designated MBA programs provide an opportunity for students to “[extend] their stay and [work] in the US in particular for an additional 24 months.” (10:01)

Having that additional time provides incredible work experience and networking opportunities for graduates.

The biggest reason why MBA applicants get rejected

Last but not least, Eddie sees a lot of different kinds of MBA applications. According to Eddie, the biggest reason why MBA applicants are not accepted to Cornell is because they simply can’t connect the dots on why they want to get into their program of choice. He reads a lot of applications where the logic is off.

For instance, if you’re looking to make a career switch with the help of an MBA program, your reasoning should be very clear in your application.

“If it’s on the complete opposite of the spectrum, we want to know that you have done your due diligence, whether it’s cold-calling people, whether it’s talking to our career management center about the industry that you’re looking to go into, whether it’s getting into summer programs with Fortune 500 companies in that industry, it shows that you’ve done something, that you’re committed to this work, to really be able to that move,” Eddie emphasizes. (15:33)

Ultimately, Eddie’s biggest piece of advice for MBA applicants is to be very clear about why you’re qualified for your program of choice and what you’ll bring to the table if accepted.

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