Cornell / JohnsonBelow are MBA admissions interview questions and experiences submitted by Johnson MBA applicants. If you interviewed at Johnson, we encourage you to submit a report detailing your experience!
Everyone was really friendly once I arrived on campus from New York on the C2C bus. I attended an information session/tour of Johnson w/ 2 first-year MBA students – this included lunch which is good because I was starving. The students were really friendly and provided a very informal setting for Q&A. I attended a class as well prior to my interview, which was helpful to gauge the style of teaching at Johnson. My interview was with an AdCom member who had my resume and notes from those who had reviewed my application. The conversation was very directed but relaxed. A little more formal than my other interviews, but very relaxed and conversational nonetheless. I got the following questions:
(1) Give me a brief overview about your academic and professional background.
(2) What do you like about your current job – tell me more about your role.
(3) Do you manage a team? [and clarifying/related questions]
(4) What is your leadership style?
(5) How will you contribute to Johnson?
(6) Why an MBA, why now? Why Johnson?
(7) What other schools have you applied to and what do they have in common w/ Johnson?
At the end, there was enough time to ask him questions. My interview was very helpful but he was relatively new to Johnson and did not have all the answers to my questions – but he referred me to the people who would have them. The interview ran for about 50min (I believe they are 30-45min usually but I was the last one of the day, so there was no rush).
The interview was formal and lasted about 50 minutes. Questions I remember:
- Please tell me about yourself
- Why do you need an MBA at this point of your career?
- Why Johnson?
- Why 2 years MBA vs. Accelerated MBA?
- What research have you done regarding your short term or long term goals?
- Tell me about a challenging leadership experience
- What would your supervisor say are your main characteristics
- What are your main weeknesses?
- How will you contribute to Johnson?
- Is there anything else you want me to know that you feel we didn’t talk about?
- Qustions for me?
Hope it helps. Good luck !
This was a blind interview over Skype and my interviewer was pretty friendly. She had some general questions along with written down questions from the adcom that reviewed my application. I think the interviewer was taking notes on the computer at the same time of the interviewer. This threw be off at times making it hard to read their face or get verbal feedback. My advice would be to answer your question and then wait for them to start the next. Another tip is to have a clear path of your goals and how everything ties together. I had to go back with examples to relate my multiple interests and career goals.
These were the questions asked of me:
1. Describe your career progression
2. Why MBA?
3. Why Cornell Johnson? (make sure to do your research)
4. How do you mediate conflict between team members?
5. Give an example of when you have been innovative?
6. Tell me of anything else you think we should know to get to know you better?
I applied to the MBA-MHA program in R2. I interviewed 1/29/13 with an AdCom member. The interview lasted approximately 45 minutes.
Like other interviewees, it started with the AdCom stating that she had my resume and while she hadn’t reviewed my application, she had notes and questions from others who did. Questions were as follows:
1) Walk me through your employment history
2) You said that you supervise 3-5 individuals, in what capacity do you supervise them?
3) Have you had any difficult decisions to make regarding the individuals you supervise?
4) I’m sure you’ve done lots of research into the immersions and other activities offered by Johnson so why Johnson? and how do you plan to take advantage of everything Johnson has to offer?
5) What are you’re post-MBA goals?
6) Have you reached out to other Johnson students, alumni, or staff on the MBA-MHA program? (She also offered contact info for two individuals I should speak to after I detailed who I had already been in contact with)
7) Do you feel you have any weaknesses to your application?
8) Have you applied to any other schools?
9) I can imagine that you’re already very busy with working full-time and your grad program, what do you like to do for fun or when you have any free time?
10) Do you have any questions for me?
Overall the AdCom was very profession but still pleasant. I think it helped she had a similar healthcare research background and is a marathon runner (which is how I answered Q9). The interview was very formal and the questions, while directed, were left up to me to answer how I really saw fit. For example, some were so very directed that a brief, 1-2 minute answer was all that really seemed appropriate whereas describing my background and some of the other questions led to pretty lengthy monologues without much comment or reaction from the AdCom. She did take notes throughout the interview.
Try to make sure you’ll have a perfect internet connection. I was using the wireless at my workplace and although it rarely if ever cuts out in day-to-day use, I had two disconnects that really kind of threw me. If you can get a hard wired connection, go that route. And be prepared for disconnects if not, I think how you recover makes a difference.
I did my interview via Skype with a member of the adcom. She stated that she had my resume and while she hadn’t reviewed my application, she had notes and questions from others who did. First she asked me to go over my job positions since graduating college and specifically asked me to include my reasons for promotions and moves (I had worked for one org. but had held 4 different positions with a promotion each year). This took about 7-10 minutes, with her asking a few clarifying questions – but mostly just me talking. Second, she asked “What other schools are you applying?” Based on previous interview reports, I was super ready for this question – and had my reasons (small school, community) tied back to Johnson. Next she asked “Why MBA?,” which allowed me to tie in my short/long term goals and led into the “Why Johnson?” I talked about the immersion program, specifically the program I wanted to pursue, small/close community, and proximity to NYC, which is where I want to end up. She asked me if I had visited campus (had not as I am overseas), but I went into all the students I had talked to and their international recruiter that I met at a Johnson MBA Fair. Finally, she asked about my job as it relates to leadership and team opportunities, she specifically noted that I had applied to be a Park Fellow. After that, it was more of a conversation; I asked her a few questions, talked about more hobby/activities type stuff. Again tied everything I could back to Johnson or Ithaca. Interview was 45 minutes. Overall, thought it went well – for me, it’s really about having your few examples (work experience, leadership/team) that tie back to your main attributes that you want them to remember. Lastly, it’s all about being enthusiastic about the school!
My interview was via Skype — because of snow, I was unable to make it to campus as planned. The interview itself was quite formal — very much question-answer, but the interviewer did make an effort to transition nicely from one question to the next. There were no surprises for me, but I was glad I had done a little research on Skype interviews beforehand because it was definitely a little off-putting.
- Before we get started, tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume
- Walk me through your employment history and why you make the changes that you did
- What are your goals directly out of business school
- Why Johnson
- What immersion program are you interested in (this one actually did throw me off)
- Discuss a time at work where you faced a conflict
- Discuss a time at work where you had to make a difficult decision
- What other schools are you applying to
The interview itself took 30 min, and then I asked questions for 10-15 min.
Cornell / Johnson MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 2 / On Campus / Adcom and Second-year Student
I interviewed on-campus February 5, 2012 with a member of the adcom. Along with the adcom member was a 2nd year student who was training to learn the interview process. The interview lasted about 45 minutes. The interviewer said that it was blind, but mentioned that she had “reviewed notes about my application” from the people who had read it previously.
The interview wasn’t more or less formal than interviews at other schools, but the overall atmosphere was very different. In previous interviews I was allowed to craft my own story via the guidance and direction of the interviewer’s questions but at Johnson the prompts were very direct and many sub-questions came out of each of the general ones (below).
- Walk me through your resume.
- What did you achieve at [penultimate job]? How?
- What have you done to change the organization where you currently work? How?
- Name and explain one difficult professional decision you were forced to make.
- Why Johnson?
- How do you plan on being involved in Johnson?
- What other schools have you applied to?
- What are your short term post-MBA plans?
- How have you prepared yourself for such an industry? (I’m a career changer)
Then she provided me a few minutes for questions, which I addressed to both her and the 2nd year student. It was beneficial to receive two perspectives on the same question.
I interviewed on campus on 01/30 with an admissions representative. It was rather informal.
- Walk me through your resume
- What led you to this career path and why
- Johnson is a small program. Why do you think you will be a good fit?
- What are your short and long term career goals
- What research have you done for you post MBA job. Where would you like to work after you graduate/
- Why an MBA and why Johnson?
- How and what research have you done about Johnson?
- What other school are you applying to. (Did not ask why. Perhaps we were running out of time)
- What are you weaknesses?
- Tell me about a time when you worked with a challenging team member.
- Tell me about a time when you did not agree with your supervisor.
- How will you contribute to Johnson outside the classroom?
- Given the rigorous coursework, do you think you are prepared for it.? Followed with i am prepared for quant ?
It was a good experience as i spent about slightly over an hour discussing my profile primarily because of my long resume.
Lots of questions on current job. Could not go over my Extracurricular activities.
She had a form with questions and was taking down notes. All questions were from that form i believe.
I interviewed on campus in conjunction with the Johnson Women in Business event, a two day women’s recruiting event. I received an invitation to interview prior to the event but all attendees were invited to interview regardless of if an invitation had been extended yet. The interviews were the first part of the event followed by two days of class visits and speaker events. My interview was with a member of the admissions staff and the interview was relatively formal with structured questions. I had met the person with whom I interviewed at a prior open house in my area so because we had met before and had kept in touch over email, the interview felt a bit more informal than it would have likely otherwise.
The interview was largely based off information in my resume. I had already submitted my application but I do not know if that information was used to ask specific questions.
- Walk me through your resume
- What led you to this career path and why
- What are your short and long term career goals
- Why an MBA and why Johnson
- What other school are you applying to and a few follow up questions on how I compared the programs such as if I preferred the case method to lecture and how I viewed those that are farther from New York City and how I thought that would impact my experience with recruiting for finance jobs
- What is the role you play in a team environment
- Tell me about a time when you worked with a challenging team member
- What organization to you plan to join at Johnson
I had a very pleasant experience with the interview and in speaking with the other attendees of the recruiting event it seemed the interviews were what people had expected. Having the opportunity to meet members of the ad com in a more casual setting such as an open house was very helpful and allowed me to establish some rapport before the actual interview so if you are able to attend any of these events, I highly recommend it. I was somewhat surprised that my interviewer pushed the subject of other schools a bit so I would recommend future applicants be prepared for this question especially if your other school choices are not direct peers of Johnson (ie larger program or in an urban area).
Interview length: 1 hour and 15 minutes, although the end was primarily just a casual conversation rather than specific questions
No one has updated this since last year, so I might as well. I received an invite to interview at Cornell with very little notice. It felt it was particularly disorganized compared to the way some other schools had done it, but on the other hand, I sort of appreciate the non-spoon fed approach. Regardless, I figured out how to take a 6:30am bus to Ithaca from NYC (take the Cornell bus, its very nice and clean and has wi-fi that works), and arrived a few hours before my interview. Although it was not the most convenient thing for me to do, I am glad I showed the extra effort and did not ask to be interviewed in the city. I highly recommend doing so if you can. I lucked out at the end of the day because I happened to arrive right as First Years were getting of their last exam. I basically had the entire class in the gorgeous foyer at my disposal. After checking with Ad Com and receiving a campus map, I took at deep breath and walked up to people and asked them to tell me about Johnson. Everyone was incredibly friendly, if not a little exhausted from the accounting exam they had all just taken. Students were eager to introduce me to people who were interested in my desired career path, just calling out across the space and waving them over. It felt very, very intimate there – reminded me a lot of the way my small, private high school operated in that people seemed like they knew each other rather well and had no problems being very comfortable in the space. I had about an hour-long conversation with about 10 or 15 students and felt like I had a good sense of the types of people that Johnson is looking for. I also received a lot of great interview tips, and the students seemed to be very understanding of how nervous I might have been.
Anyway, eventually my interview time came, and the incredibly nice woman in the office led me upstairs to my interviewer. Even she knew what I was interested in, and mentioned that my interviewer had lots of expertise as a Career Manager in my desired field. The interview was rather formal – she asked me to walk through my resume, my undergraduate activities, what my GMAT score was, where else I was applying and why, what companies I was interested in. She wrote down lots of notes, but also nodded and smiled emphatically. It is a lot to squeeze your whole life and hopes and dreams into an hour, so be sure you practice and have a pretty good road map for how to get to all your points, even if it doesn’t flow exactly the way you wanted. In comparison to Darden, for instance, this was a much more standard interview, so be ready with responses to directed questions. Each person I talked to during my time on campus expressed how important it was that you want to be at Cornell and feel the “fit” because it is small program. We’ll see how they felt about me in a week’s time!!
- Tell me about your work experience. How did you end up doing what you do? What led to that career choice?
- (Asked follow up questions about my work experience.)
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision at work
- Why MBA?
- What measures are you taking to ensure that you are academically prepared for the rigorous coursework at Cornell?
- What have you done to learn about your future career path in greater depth?
- Is there anything else the ad com should know about you?
- What questions do you have for me?
Summary: The Johnson School interview at Cornell was a little less laid back than some of the other schools I’ve interviewed at. I’m not sure if that was because I had an ad com member interviewing me, or if that is always the case. My interviewer was all about getting down to business. For those of you considering a campus visit I would HIGHLY recommend staying for a class visit. My travel plans changed due to weather, which forced me to cancel my class visit. My interviewer expressed her disappointment that I would be unable to sit in on a class, and I could detect a slight reprimand from her for not facilitating that change. Hopefully that didn’t hurt my interview! Good luck to everyone applying!