Cornell Johnson’s 2020-2021 application essays:
Impact Essay: This essay is designed to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff before submitting your application. You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on-campus or off-campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.
At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. How do you intend to make an impact during the next several years of your education/career? (350 words maximum)
Back of Resume Essay: This essay gives you the opportunity to present yourself as an individual. We encourage you to think about your proudest accomplishments, interests and passions, and personal highlights that will help us to get to know you as a person and potential community member. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style.
Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions. Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written essay, please limit your submission to 350 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under three minutes.
The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing ONE example of a life experience, achievement, or passion that will give us a sense of who you are as a potential community member.
1. Be as interesting as Cornell is:
With the recent opening of its Cornell Tech campus in NYC, and the opportunity for MBAs to spend a weekend, quarter or semester there, Johnson has become one of the most cutting-edge, innovative MBA programs out there. Let Cornell know that you know and appreciate how innovative they are, and how you are going to take advantage of all of the unique opportunities they offer. Of course to do this, you really have to know what’s happening on both campuses, and that will take some time and conversations to figure out. This research will also help you with your impact essay.
2. Share your impact:
Cornell Johnson wants to know what imprint you will leave on the Johnson community and your classmates, and for good reason – Johnson is an extremely supportive environment, a place where everyone chips in to create a dynamic culture of inclusion. How you will do this is the focus of the “Impact” essay.
To write a successful “Impact Essay,” you have to do your research; reach out to a few club officers of professional or shared interest groups at Cornell that are relevant to your background or goals. Identify ways you can get involved and feel free to name drop your contacts in the essay. Touch base with alumni. Determine the volunteering or mentorship opportunities of which you will take advantage. Participate in virtual or in-person information sessions. What are the strengths that you will bring to those groups and how will you use your strengths to support your peers, members of the broader Ithaca community, and future generations of Cornellians?
3. Stay in balance:
Cornell is known as a culture that works, learns, and plays hard. Does this represent your life? If it does, share the details with Johnson. Investment banker and whiskey connoisseur, that’s what we are talking about. Being the social catalyst for your group counts at Cornell. After all, Ithaca winters are cold and dark.
4. Be creative … up to a point:
The second essay prompt encourages “alternative submission formats,” which can include videos, PowerPoint presentations, personal websites, digital portfolios, and even a written essay (less than 500 words). While this may play to the strengths of some candidates, it can also get you into a lot of trouble. Burning hours on something spectacular takes away from the making real connections to the school in terms of visits, going to events, and talking to current students, which are all things that are going to have a greater impact on your chances.