Starting this year, Cornell has given you the option of prefilling your education and employment history and with your LinkedIn profile. The other option of-course is uploading a neatly formatted resume. A change in the traditional way of doing things, it does reaffirm our belief that in the following years, schools are going to increasingly take to social media and new technology for the purpose of applications.
Following are the essays for 2014-15, with our frameworks:
Essay 1: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 2000 characters (including formatting characters) or less, please write the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. Note: approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity.
This has been a Cornell favorite for many years, and we must admit we quite love it for the varied responses this essay throws up. Applicants belonging to the same industry may have similar work experiences (think “X” number of banker candidates conducting due diligence for M&A deals or “Y” number of software engineer candidates developing software solutions for the retail industry), but the stories of their lives would still be different. There could be early life influences through a role model, adolescence problems that taught you a life-long lesson or adult choices of selecting one career path over the other, traveling 20 kms every weekend to volunteer at a rehabilitation center, and so on. All of these are likely to leave some mark on a candidate in shaping her/his personality. This is the kind of stuff one would write in her/his book and this is what Cornell wants to know. The b-school is known for its superbly tight knit community and for the school, this essay is a great way to know about an applicant- the various aspects that have shaped her/his personality and how she/he will be a good fit with the rest of the Cornell community.
How do you begin writing this essay? Making an extensive list of all the defining influences, events, turning points, decisions in your life will help you collate all the information that matters. Not all of it will be worth telling the adcom, so get your filters started. Which of this stuff has means a lot to you? Which instances have motivated you to achieve something challenging or what are the milestones in your life? What are your most significant personality attributes and how have they influenced you? The purpose here is to not just rattle off a list of everything big and small in your life but say something that will make the admissions committee interested enough in you to put you in that MBA class.
2000 characters is roughly 300 words, so keep the editing tight.
Spending a day at the bookstore will be a good investment in getting your creative juices flowing for the formatting of your table of content.
Essay 2: What is the job that you would like to have immediately upon graduating with your MBA? (2000 character limit, including formatting characters).
We are still old fashioned and love to see the career goals essay feature in the application. This one asks for your short term career goals. What would you like to do immediately after Cornell MBA? Now, what does “immediately” mean? Say 0-3 years, depending upon how far your career vision for the short term takes you.
But this career vision can not stand in isolation. It has to balance upon the skills and knowledge you have built thus far. Therefore it will be relevant to briefly discuss your career upto this stage. Show the adcom that you have navigated through your career path and given it direction. That you were the sailor who decided which way to go whenever you had to make the choice. And now, you next choice is the post MBA job, which makes logical sense for you considering this past journey.
The next important element in this essay would be, how has the Cornell MBA equipped you to get that first post MBA job. This is a short essay, roughly about 300 words, so every word counts! Talk about specific elements of the Cornell MBA that are likely to help you with the job; any platitudes like “world class faculty”, “diverse student body” will only waste precious space. Moreover the question is a little deviation from the typical career goals question that asks “Why Cornell?” Rather this question asks how Cornell has made you job ready. So focus upon features of the program that have made you job ready- these could be related to leadership enhancement, academics, experiential learning, career support activities of specific clubs or anything else.
1. List community activities (clubs, church, civic, etc.) and professional associations you contributed to since graduation from college. (2000 character limit, including formatting characters).
2. List your extracurricular activities while in college in order of importance to you. The list may also include part-time and summer employment held while in college.(2000 character limit, including formatting characters).
3. Please describe any hobbies or activities that hold special significance for you (2000 character limit, including formatting characters).
Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School. (2000 character limit, including formatting characters).