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

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CA: Can you tell us how the one school, two campus transformation has changed your pitch to prospective applicants, then also how it changes the possibilities open to graduates?

JB: We have and will continue to see a pretty steady flow of alumni and other corporate partners come to the Ithaca campus to recruit talent out of the MBA program. But with a second base and home in Manhattan, I do think there are different opportunities for interviews, information sessions, and other types of events to be based on our Roosevelt Island campus.

It offers a greater degree of flexibility and access for students and prospective employers to come together and connect or really identity the best potential matches and fit for hiring talent on either one of the two campuses.

It is still a little bit early to know for sure, but I do know of at least one student who was at the tech campus this spring semester as part of her final term in the two year MBA program. And because of some of the flexibility that was offered through her course schedule, she was able to pursue an internship which she then turned into a full-time offer, which is where she’s working now after graduation. I do think there will be a growing portion of opportunities like that, that might become available to more students moving forward.

CA: For your two-year MBA program, is there an area that you think maybe applicants don’t know enough about or are there misconceptions that you’d like to clear up?

JB: One of the things that I think should be clarified is really some of the perceptions and feelings around the location of Ithaca itself.

There is no hiding it, we are in a more remote location of New York. We are about four and half hours north of Manhattan. The beauty of being in a location of this sort really provides a great amount of opportunity in the sense of really focusing the attention on the residential experience. To be specific to your experience, I think of the relationships that you develop with your classmates, your faculty, and other administrators in the program. It really allows for transformative growth; the type of growth that I think students and alumni in particular talk about being distinctive about their Ithaca and their Cornell experience. I think that is sort of the misperception I would want to have clarified around what Ithaca has to offer in terms of a city and destination for MBA study.

We just spent a few minutes talking about the new levels of access that will come with the opening of our Roosevelt Island campus. But thinking about the majority of time that is invested specifically in Ithaca, it is absolutely beautiful in the summer, it is also stunning in the winter. You do want to make certain that you pack some warm gloves, maybe some mittens and boots. But all joking aside, there is a certain magic that happens in Ithaca, specifically because of its location. I would want candidates to really think about that in terms of assessing it as a location to invest two years of their time or even one year of their time. The location really focuses attention in a very profound way and leads to the type of growth that I think many MBA students are seeking from a program.

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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.