Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University: Guiding Business Enthusiasts from Ambition to Impact
Samuel Curtis Johanson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University - The Knowledge Review

To foster the close-knit community that is the hallmark of a Cornell Johnson education, every incoming class is, by design, small and selective. This is how Johnson delivers its truly unique, rich, and dynamic educational experience.

Cornell University was founded in 1865 and is often described as the first truly American university because of its founders’ revolutionarily, practical vision of higher education and dedication to the university’s land-grant mission of outreach and public service. The university motto, “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study,” still rings true more than 150 years after its founding—Cornell, part of the Ivy League, opens its doors to students from all around the world who have access to thousands of courses.

Seeds for a business school at Cornell, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, were first planted by university co-founder Ezra Cornell, who himself was a successful businessman—the founder of Western Union. After years of iterations, the school was officially created in 1941 and renamed as the Graduate School of Management in 1983. In 1984, the school became the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management in honor of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. founder Samuel Curtis Johnson, Sr. following his grandson’s family endowment gift of $20 million—the largest gift to any business school in the world at the time. Johnson leverages the extensive resources of one of the biggest Ivy League universities to deliver a robust, thoughtfully designed curriculum that is tailored to one’s individual interests and needs.

As part of the largest Ivy League school, Cornell Johnson’s home is primarily in Sage Hall, which was originally built in 1875 as the university’s first women’s dormitory, allowing women to live on campus and complete their studies. Today, Sage Hall features a management library, a café, an atrium, classrooms, student and faculty lounges, and a parlor.

Cornell Johnson bridges its long-standing main campus location with new facilities in the heart of Ithaca’s Collegetown at the new state-of-the-art, 76,000-square-foot Breazzano Family Center for Business Education, and at Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island campus in New York City where MBA, engineering, law, and computer science students are partnering with the city’s tech giants and rising startups.

To Succeed in Business, You have to Know More than just Business

Today’s dynamic business world demands an MBA program that’s equally dynamic. Organizations must increasingly address complex challenges and opportunities that require leaders who have interdisciplinary insight as well as expertise beyond the business realm.

The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management offers five other programs in addition to its flagship Two-Year MBA program in Ithaca, New York. Other programs include the One-Year MBA program in Ithaca; the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program in New York City; the Executive MBA Metro NY program in Palisades, New York; the Executive MBA Americas program spanning across the Americas; and the Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership program in New York City in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine.

Cornell Johnson is part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, which leverages Cornell’s three accredited business schools: Cornell Johnson, the School of Hotel Administration, and the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Formed in 2016, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business combines the unique strengths of each of its schools to create unmatched learning, research, and entrepreneurial opportunities that are shaping the future of business. Served by one of the world’s largest business faculties at the only Ivy League university with a land-grant mission, the college has an integrative focus on people, the planet, profitability, and technology.

A Cornell Johnson MBA prepares graduates to realize their ambition and make an impact on business and on the world, providing remarkable range of opportunities.

Distinguishing Cornerstones of their Flagship Program

The Two-Year MBA program is designed with the understanding that students enter business school in different stages of their careers and with their own unique talents and ambitions. Cornell Johnson’s Two-Year MBA program has three distinguishing cornerstones; advanced business fundamentals; immersion learning; and highly flexible electives.

Cornell Johnson places a strong emphasis on leadership. All of its leadership programs are designed to improve students’ ability to lead, build, and contribute to high-performing teams. The instruction that students receive, the feedback from professors and peers, and the one-on-one coaching that Cornell Johnson provides will accelerate leadership growth. Students incorporate their lessons into practical actions and test their skills by taking on chief roles in the school’s professional clubs, leading team expeditions and product challenges, serving on local non-profit boards, and participating in annual events like the Leadership Crisis Challenge.

Additionally, Cornell Johnson’s main campus in Ithaca, NY, regularly collaborates with the Cornell Tech campus in New York City. Ithaca-based students have the opportunity to take weekend or semester-long classes at Cornell Tech on topics such as digital marketing and fintech.

Immensely Collaborative Learning Environment

Cornell Johnson students are smart, driven, and passionate about their work. Together with the school’s faculty and staff, students are part of a collaborative and supportive community within Cornell University—and have access to all the rich and diverse resources that come with attending an Ivy League university with campuses in Ithaca and New York City.

The institution works hard to create a supportive environment that welcomes people from all walks of life. The Johnson community—and the greater Cornell community—comprises scholars from across the United States and around the world. As a result, students, faculty, and staff have many opportunities to participate in activities and clubs that foster an environment that celebrates diversity.

Cornell Johnson is committed to building a community that reflects the diversity of modern business. To this end, the school actively recruits students, faculty, and staff from all areas around the globe and partners closely with Global Cornell and other administrative offices at the university to ensure that international applicants can safely pursue their dreams of earning a Cornell MBA.

The majority of Cornell Johnson students enter the workplace within three months of graduation, and their average starting salaries rank among the top of MBA programs. MBA graduates excel in careers across a broad range of industries and functions, such as investment banking, consulting, leadership rotation programs, marketing, high-tech product management, and sustainability. The Career Management Center’s integrated programming immerses MBA candidates in a series of initiatives that help them develop and drive their career plan. These initiatives include functionally aligned workshops and programs that introduce them to ideas and trends in various industries, semester-long immersion tracks that give them real-world business experiences, and one-on-one career counseling from experts and professionals.

Cornell Johnson also organizes study-trips, wherein students are immersed in culture, closely examining industry—startups, small businesses, and well-known corporations—and learning about what’s going on in the markets and unique business trends.

Words of Trust

Impact and Service

“As I started my second year, hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused major destruction to the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean. When our fellow students’ friends and families were affected, Johnson stepped up to help them recover from these disasters. As part of the Community Impact Club board, we immediately organized a hurricane fund drive to help the people in the affected regions start rebuild their lives. In one week, all the first years and second years came together in the midst of all their intense coursework to plan and execute this event.”

— Mani Selvam, Two-Year MBA ’18

Career Management and Recruitment

“The professional clubs and Career Management Center’s structured programs for recruitment were all instrumental in my landing my internship. Knowing that everyone was working extra hard to help me achieve success was very inspiring.”

— Bright Botchway, Two-Year MBA ’18

Community Reflection

“You will be surrounded by some of the best people in the world and come to love the community that Johnson stands for. Few people are lucky enough to be a part of a tight-knit community like Johnson, and international or not, you will be well taken care of. This will be your home for the next two years and these people will become your family.”

—Chandni Prasad, Two-Year MBA ’19

Ithaca and Outdoor Experiences

“When I was applying to business schools, I was only applying to schools which were in small towns. I would be moving in with my wife and baby, and I was looking for a place that was family-friendly, inspired me to study, and had plenty of outdoor activities.

—Marcelo de la Garza Gossler, Two-Year MBA ’18

An Educator and Practitioner Continually Recognized by Students

Risa Mish is a Professor of the Practice of Management at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, where she teaches courses in team leadership and critical and strategic thinking, and serves as Faculty Co-Director of the Johnson Leadership Fellows program.

Prof. Mish has been continually recognized by students and colleagues for outstanding teaching and leadership. She is the winner of the ‘Apple Teaching Award,’ bestowed by the MBA graduating class to honor a faculty member who exemplifies “outstanding leadership and enduring educational excellence,” and the Executive MBA Globe Award for Teaching Excellence, given to a faculty member by the executive MBA graduating class on the basis of “enduring educational influence in motivating students to achieve and excel.” She has been also honored with the Stephen Russell ’60, MBA ’61, Distinguished Teaching Award, given by the Johnson 5th Reunion Class to a faculty member “whose teaching and example have continued to influence graduates five years into their post-MBA careers.”

She believes in the importance of practical education led by instructors who have found industry success. Students who take classes with experienced practitioners have the opportunity to gain effective tools that can be applied right away, delivering immediate results.

Prof. Mish is a graduate of Cornell University and Cornell Law School and was previously a partner in a New York City law firm where she represented clients on a wide range of labor and employment law matters. Prof. Mish also runs her own consulting firm through which she trains and advises companies and senior executives on a range of leadership and employee relations topics, and she often serves as a keynote speaker and workshop leader at regional, national and global conferences.

Fostering an Inclusive Community

Cornell Johnson’s many traditions tie students together through shared experiences and memories. Some, such as outdoor leadership and team-building activities, include MBA students from across all three of Johnson’s residential programs—the Two-Year, One-Year, and Johnson Cornell Tech MBA programs. Students get to know each other at Sage Socials, the weekly receptions held every Thursday afternoon in the atrium of Sage Hall, and at annual events like Diwali Night, Carnaval Latino!, and the Frozen Assets vs. Faculty hockey game, where Johnson’s women’s ice hockey team battles it out on the ice in a friendly match against faculty and staff.

Cornell Johnson has more than 70 residential student clubs, including—among many others—the Asia Business Association, the Black Graduate Business Association, Big Red Consulting, Big Red Venture Fund, Community Impact, Cookin’ the Books cooking club, Energy Club, Healthcare Club, Latin American Business Association, Student Council, and Women’s Management Council. Students at Cornell Johnson are part of an inclusive environment in which strong personal and professional ties are formed and developed. Through Johnson’s close-knit, highly energetic, collaborative community, students forge lifelong connections with classmates and professors in Ithaca and in New York City.

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