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Home » Blog » Feature Main » Admissions Director Q&A: Judi Byers of Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management

Admissions Director Q&A: Judi Byers of Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management

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Clear Admit is delighted to share admissions insights from Judi Byers, the Executive Director of Admissions & Financial Aid at Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

This past summer, Clear Admit’s Jeanette Brown had an enlightening conversation with Byers.  Read on for more about the ins and outs of admissions at Johnson, the application and interview processes, and more.

CA: Can you tell us when you came to Johnson, where you have been before, and how you got into the career of MBA Admissions?

JB: I have been with Cornell Johnson now for about three and a half years. Prior to Johnson, I was in Washington, D.C., with American University’s Kogod School, which is where I started my admissions career, following my undergraduate studies at the university.

As an undergrad, I was a very engaged student ambassador and really resonated with the work that was done in admissions. I never envisioned myself getting on this path, but I did. I worked, at American, initially with undergraduate business students. By the time I left the Kogod School in 2014, I had responsibilities for admissions for their full-time and part-time MBA programs, as well as a portfolio of specialized masters.

I have had a phenomenal career, and experience, so far in admissions. I was excited that I was able to bring some of my experiences that I have had, to the Johnson school here in Ithaca.

judi byers
Judi Byers, Cornell Johnson executive director of admissions and financial aid

CA: You started at Johnson a few years ago, midway through the admissions cycle. What is it like to start two days after the Round two deadline?

JB: It is definitely one of the more interesting times of year to be jumping into things. There is nothing quite like trial by fire. It was a great season that particular year. We had a lot of interest in the program. It was an interesting time to hop into the admissions cycle.

CA: What do you like most about your job?

JB: The people that I have a chance to work with and meet, and I mean that in terms of the professional staff and faculty at Johnson, and our students and alumni.  I also like being in the stage of individuals’ lives where they come to the MBA programs seeking growth, seeking development, and really wanting to become the best versions of themselves. To be a part of a process that is designed to identify talent and potential, and helping individuals actualize on that, is something that I really love most about my work in admissions, and my role within the student experience.

CA: You are from Hawaii. Can you just tell us a little bit about what the transition from Hawaii, with a stop in D.C. and maybe elsewhere, to Ithaca, New York is like? Do you miss the beaches?

JB: I definitely miss the beaches. I try to get back as often as I can, though.  I’ve certainly gotten very accustomed to the snow. But I grew up in a military household. I started off in Honolulu. My dad was active duty army for his career, so we hopped around a little bit and moved our way out east. We eventually landed in Washington, D.C., where he worked out of the Pentagon for a number of years. I have since moved my way up the coast to Ithaca. It has been a really interesting transition. I think you learn a lot in terms of being in different climates and in different environments. And certainly in extremes like the two cities that we are talking about. But I’ve certainly developed a fair amount of resilience in colder climates, to say the least.

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Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.