Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management Essay and Examples

Cornell University Johnson Essay Analysis

With its straightforward approach to the traditional goals statement and just one other required essay (now with two prompt options that applicants can choose from), the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University seems interested in getting right to the heart of the issues it considers most valuable when evaluating its applicants. The admissions committee wants to first know your professional aspirations in both the short and long term, along with how you envision benefitting from the Johnson MBA program and what related strengths you already possess. For the other essay, you can elect to discuss how you see yourself being a contributing member of the Johnson community or what is special about you that makes you memorable. An optional essay is available, if needed, to address the usual topics of problematic candidacy issues or any outstanding qualifications that might not be represented elsewhere in your application. Read on for our full analysis of Cornell Johnson’s essay questions for 2024–2025. 

Cornell Johnson 2024–2025 Essay Tips

Goals Statement: 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:


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:


Please share how you plan to utilize the resources available to you at Johnson as well as any existing resources you bring to the program to help you secure your post-MBA career goal.

With this incredibly direct approach to gathering information about candidates’ professional goals, Cornell Johnson is clearly conveying a desire for straightforward information. The preamble to this prompt notes, “If you’re invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further,” signaling to us that the admissions committee really wants just the facts here. So, respect both the format and the school and be as direct and clear as possible, saving any embellishment or additional explanation for another time. 

That said, the inclusion of the mini essay prompt about the offerings at Johnson you intend to target and the resources you already possess indicates that the school wants to have some context for your stated aspirations and a basic understanding of why you are applying to Johnson specifically (the traditional “Why our school?” element). So, do your best within the slim 350-word allowance to explain what strengths and assets you have in your arsenal at this point that will position you for success in your intended career and how the school’s MBA experience will fill in some (or all) of the gaps to make your goals even more attainable. An effective response will provide evidence that you (1) have done your research as to what is required to reach your stated objectives, (2) recognize where you currently are on that trajectory, and (3) understand why/how attaining an MBA from Cornell Johnson will move you further in the right direction. 

Although this prompt is not a request for a full-length personal essay, we offer a number of tips and examples in our free mbaMission Personal Statement Guide that could be helpful in crafting your response. We encourage you to download your complimentary copy today.

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Manhattan Prep

Experience onTrack by mbaMission at GMAC’s The MBA Tour New York City

Join Jeremy Shinewald, Founder and President of mbaMission, as he introduces onTrack by mbaMission at GMAC’s The MBA Tour on Saturday, July 27, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. During this event, Jeremy will meet one-on-one with aspiring MBAs and take questions about the admissions process and how to stand out among the masses of applicants. Plus, visit the onTrack by mbaMission booth for free swag and an exclusive discount on your subscription to this “master class” in MBA admissions. 

What Is onTrack by mbaMission? onTrack by mbaMission is a first-of-its-kind, on-demand MBA application experience that delivers a personalized curriculum for you and leverages interactive tools to guide you through the entire MBA application process. Whether you are just starting to explore MBA programs or putting the finishing touches on your applications, onTrack provides customized guidance and support every step of the way. From selecting the right schools to crafting standout essays and preparing for interviews, onTrack ensures that you present the best possible version of yourself to the admissions committees.

Why Should You Attend GMAC’s The MBA Tour? In addition to gaining valuable information about the MBA experience, you will have the opportunity to participate in the following:

  • Meet-Ups: Via group meetings with an admissions representative and up to five peers, you will gain valuable insights into the business school admissions process.
  • MBA Talks: These university-hosted presentations provide helpful application tips, career advice, and information about the various programs the schools offer.
  • Resume/CV Clinic: In one-on-one sessions, admissions representatives will advise you on how to improve this important element of your application.
  • Networking Fair: Meet admissions representatives from all the attending universities, and connect directly with students, alumni, advisors, and other applicants.

Attendees Enjoy Special Offers. Attendees will receive an exclusive discount code for onTrack by mbaMission. This powerful tool will give you a strategic advantage throughout the application process, making sure you stay on track and on target for success.

Register Now. You do not want to miss this invaluable opportunity to kick-start your MBA journey with the guidance of Jeremy Shinewald and mbaMission’s innovative onTrack platform. Whether you want to improve your application, get exclusive GMAT tips, or gain access to admissions decision-makers from top business schools, GMAC’s The MBA Tour will empower your ambitions.

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, July 27, 2024
  • Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Location: Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, West 53rd Street, New York, New York 10019

Participation is completely free, but spots are limited. Reserve your place now to ensure that you do not miss this opportunity to accelerate your MBA aspirations with onTrack by mbaMission. Register here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

GMAT, GRE, or EA? Which Exam Should You Take for Business School?

By Jen Kedrowski, MBA Admissions Consultant, mbaMission and former GMAT/GRE Instructor & Curriculum Manager

If you are planning to apply to MBA programs in the near future, you might be wondering which admissions exam you should take as part of the application process. You want to be sure to choose the exam that is the best fit for you—the one that will most effectively showcase your abilities and add to your applicant profile. 

In this post, we offer insight into the different exam options for applying to business school to help you identify the best one for you. 

Do you really need to take an exam to apply to MBA programs? 

The reality is that the majority of MBA programs require a standardized test as part of the application process, typically either the GMAT or the GRE. A smaller number of programs accept the Executive Assessment exam. 

A number of U.S. MBA programs have begun offering test waivers in recent years, but those schools vary from one application season to the next, so be sure to contact the programs you are interested in directly to verify whether applying for a test waiver is an option. Test waivers are typically granted on a limited basis, and the admissions committees will need to see solid alternate evidence of quantitative, analytical, and academic strengths before issuing a waiver to an applicant. 

For most applicants, however, an exam is required. Business schools use your exam score, in combination with your academic performance as an undergraduate, in predicting your ability to manage the academic rigor of their MBA program. Exam scores alone do not get applicants “in” to specific programs, but scoring well below a school’s average can hold a candidate back and become a roadblock to acceptance. In addition, at schools that are particularly competitive, many candidates will submit strong test scores, so you need to score as high as possible on your test to maximize your chances.

GMAT versus GRE versus EA: What are the main differences? 

The GMAT exam is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and tests Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights. The GMAT has an extensive history in the business school world. The exam’s first iteration was established more than 70 years ago. 

The GRE exam is administered by ETS and was initially an admissions test for a broad range of graduate school programs. It tests Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Business schools began accepting the GRE almost two decades ago, and over time, GRE submissions for MBA programs have been steadily increasing. 

A third admissions exam, the  (EA), is accepted by a small but growing number of full-time MBA programs (including Columbia Business School, NYU Stern, UVA Darden, Duke Fuqua, Texas McCombs, and Georgetown McDonough). The EA was created by the same organization that created the GMAT, initially for applicants to Executive MBA (EMBA) programs. It tests a similar range of skills as the GMAT, including Quantitative, Verbal Reasoning, and Integrated Reasoning—which involves data interpretation. 

With respect to differences in content, be aware of the following: 

  • The GMAT prioritizes data analysis and quantitative reasoning most extensively.
  • The GRE includes vocabulary, geometry, and analytical writing  (the GMAT and EA do not).
  • The EA includes Sentence Correction (grammar) questions.
  • The EA is the shortest of the three exams (by a small margin; see chart later in this post).
  • Generally, all three exams test a similar range and level of quantitative facts, concepts, and formulas (with the exception of some geometry on the GRE).
  • All three are adaptive exams, meaning that the difficulty level adjusts based on your performance while you are in the process of taking the test.
  • All three exams also test your time-management and strategic decision-making abilities.

GMAT versus GRE versus EA Comparison Chart

Total Length2 hours, 15 minutes2 hours90 minutes
Sections3 sections, 64 questions (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Data Insights)5 sections, 55 questions (2 Quantitative Reasoning, 2 Verbal Reasoning, 1 Analytical Writing)3 sections, 40 questions (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning)
ScoringOverall score: 205–805
Subscores: 60–90 for each section
Quantitative score: 130–170
Verbal score: 130–170
Writing score: 0–6
Overall score: 126–174
Subscores: 0–20 for each section
Quantitative Section Details21 questions, 45 minutes
Question types: Problem-solving
Topics: Number properties, algebra, arithmetic, statistics
2 sections (12 questions in 21 minutes and 15 questions in 26 minutes)
Question types: Quantitative comparisons, multiple choice, numeric entry, and data interpretation set
14 questions, 30 minutes
Question types: Problem-solving and data sufficiency
Topics: Number properties, algebra, arithmetic, statistics
Verbal Section Details23 questions, 45 minutes
Question types: Reading comprehension and critical reasoning
2 sections (12 questions in 18 minutes and 15 questions in 23 minutes)
Question types: Reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence
14 questions, 30 minutes
Question types: Reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction
Data Insights or Integrated Reasoning Section Details20 questions, 45 minutes
Question types: Data sufficiency, multi-source reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation, and two-part analysis
N/A12 questions, 30 minutes
Question types: Multi-source reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation, and two-part analysis
Analytical Writing Section DetailsN/A1 question, Analyze an Issue, 30 minutesN/A
Calculator UsageAvailable on-screen for Data Insights section onlyAvailable on-screen for Quantitative sectionAvailable on-screen for Integrated Reasoning section only
Flexibility within SectionsReview and edit up to three questions per section, if time allowsSkip, go back, and review any questions within active sectionLimited ability to review and change answers at specific points within each section
Exam AttemptsFive attempts permitted in a rolling 12-month period; eight attempts in a lifetimeFive attempts permitted in a rolling 12-month period; no lifetime limitFour attempts in a lifetime; two maximum attempts at a test center, and two maximum attempts online

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Georgetown McDonough School of Business Essay Tips and Examples

Georgetown McDonough Essay Analysis, - mbaMission

We are updating our analysis of the Georgetown McDonough 2024-2025 essay prompts. Please check back soon.

Candidates for Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business must provide just one written essay (of a somewhat succinct 500 words) in response to their choice of three question options. Applicants can discuss how their personal attributes and experiences can add to the school’s community, what they envision as their lasting impression or influence as a Georgetown MBA, or a particularly significant “win” from their professional life. McDonough also requires a short video essay in which candidates reveal up to ten facts about themselves that help illustrate who they are as a professional and/or leader. The school’s optional essay gives applicants the leeway to discuss anything they feel is necessary, so it should be sufficient to meet everyone’s needs. Our full analysis of McDonough’s essay prompts for 2024–2025 follows.

Georgetown McDonough 2024–2025 Essay Tips

We want to hear your story. When responding to our required essays, be authentic and take time to reflect on your goals and past experiences. Craft a response that explains how these experiences led you to pursue an MBA.

Our goal at Georgetown McDonough is to craft a diverse class with people who have had varying personal and professional life experiences. As such, we want to give our applicants the opportunity to select one essay (from a list of three) that allows them the ability to best highlight their experiences, characteristics, and values that showcase the value proposition that they can bring to the McDonough community. Please select one of the following three essays to complete in 500 words (approximately two pages, double spaced) and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.

Essay Option One – Georgetown Community

Our mission is rooted in Jesuit principles of equality and respect for everyone and an ethos of caring for the whole person. Inclusivity and diversity are core to supporting a community of people with an intersectional understanding of themselves and the world around them. Share how your educational, familial, cultural, economic, social, and/or other individual life experiences will contribute to the diversity of perspectives and ideas at Georgetown University. 

This essay is a great opportunity to provide the McDonough admissions committee with a better understanding of you as a unique individual. Start by thinking about the aspects of your personality that you believe truly define you—not just what you do and have done, but who you are—and fully explore your background, hobbies, talents, values, motivations, and quirks. You want to provide a well-rounded picture of yourself that draws from multiple areas and shows that you possess characteristics and/or knowledge that would make you a positive addition to the school’s diverse community. In addition, you will need to describe the situations and circumstances that have helped you develop these qualities and understandings. Although your personal background, strengths, and abilities might overlap with those of other McDonough applicants in some way, you can differentiate yourself here via the stories you choose to illustrate them.

A good way to start identifying your best options for this essay is by making a list of things you believe are notable about you and that would be helpful to have in an MBA environment. Then, pinpoint the experiences you have had that engendered these qualities. Especially consider situations from your past that both allow you to discuss your strengths and standout characteristics and in which you worked with or alongside individuals who were different from you. Instances when you helped create an inclusive atmosphere for others would also, understandably, be great fodder for this essay. If you can show the admissions committee concrete evidence that you know how to collaborate and communicate effectively with others who have disparate backgrounds, mind-sets, and/or styles, your essay will be even more powerful. 

You will then need to demonstrate both self-awareness and a thorough understanding of McDonough by drawing connections between (1) what you have done and who you are and (2) what you can subsequently provide at the school as a member of its community. To do this effectively, you will need to truly familiarize yourself in depth with what the McDonough MBA experience is like. Go beyond the school’s website and published materials and connect directly with students, alumni, and other people who can provide firsthand, insider knowledge. Absolutely visit campus if at all possible, and sit in on a class. Read news articles about the school as well as student blogs, check out McDonough’s YouTube channel, and, if offered, attend admissions events in your area. As you do all this research, look for places where your skills, strengths, and personality would not just fit but also contribute in some way. You want to make sure that in your essay, you are not merely showcasing traits, events, and achievements that you think are interesting or singular. They also need to clearly fit with McDonough specifically.

The broad scope of this essay prompt allows you a great amount of freedom to choose and share the information you believe is most important for the admissions committee to know about you, but you have only 500 words for this submission, so focus on conveying your core message(s) clearly and directly. Concentrate on the elements of your identify that you feel are most significant and position you to make a meaningful contribution, explain for the admissions committee how those elements developed or were obtained, and show a connection between them and specific aspects of the program.

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: If I Do Not Get Accepted in R1, I Will Just Apply in R2

As you consider the next application season, what kind of strategy do you have in mind? More than a few candidates, having likely read about the supposed advantages of applying in Round 1 on various Web sites and discussion boards, plan to submit all their applications in that first round—with the idea that if no acceptances are forthcoming, they will just submit another set of applications in Round 2. If this is your plan, we would like to explain why it is probably not your best course of action.

Most Round 1 deadlines are in October, and even though often applicants may receive a kind of “progress report” in the form of an interview invitation in November, this is no guarantee of eventual acceptance. Ultimately, then, applicants will not know for sure whether they have won a spot at any of their target schools until mid- to late December. So let us imagine the worst-case scenario: you submit all your applications in Round 1 but are not accepted at any of your target schools. Now, feeling discouraged and unsure of your application strategy—not to mention dealing with the hustle and bustle of the holidays—you must quickly research and select new schools, rethink your approach, and crank out still more applications in the space of just a few weeks to be able to submit in Round 2—to schools that you may not even be that enthusiastic about. And do not forget that you will also need to pressure your recommenders during this busy time of year to produce more documents on your behalf on a very tight deadline! Are you rethinking your strategy yet?

We recommend that instead, you change your mind-set from “If I do not get accepted in R1, I will apply in R2” to “I am applying to some schools in R1 and some in R2, and hopefully I will not have to finish my R2 applications.” With luck, you will not need to complete the applications you have slated for Round 2. But if you plan ahead, do not overload yourself with too many applications in the first round, and work steadily on your applications over several months, you will be in a much better place both mentally and with your required workload should you have to move ahead with your Round 2 submissions. And if, in the end, you get accepted early or receive multiple offers of admission from your first-round applications, you will have lost nothing more than a little time!

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2024–2025 MBA Essay Tips

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