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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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Interviews at Johnson are by invitation only; they can be conducted in a variety of formats. Often times they are done here in Ithaca, on campus. Sometimes they are also undertaken via Skype. If we are travelling and there is an opportunity to do in-city interviews, we will reach out to candidates to let them know that we are visiting a particular city and would love the opportunity to connect with them and help them complete their interview in their local hometown. So those are the different interview formats that we offer.

Interviews are typically done by either one of our admissions officers, or we also have a team of about 20 trained student interviewers that work very closely with us throughout the season to help interview candidates.

One of the things candidates want to keep in mind is that regardless of who is conducting your interview, and particularly if it is going to be a student, really put your best foot forward. Treat the interview no differently than you would if you were interviewing with a member of the admissions committee. Make certain that you are presenting your best self in the interview process.

After the interview, the file then returns back to the individual that conducted the initial review of the application file, who then, in light of the comments and the insights that were gleaned through the admissions interview, will re-review the file, and make a final assessment, and make a decision recommendation for the admissions committee to review further.

Oftentimes, one of the things that is of particular interest to candidates is, what is the timeline between interviewing as well as decision notification? Depending on where we are in the admissions cycle, there are peaks and valleys in terms of the volume of activity, the time frame is somewhere between two to four weeks, from interview to final decision.

When we release a final decision notification, there are one of three decision outcomes that can transpire. The first is an offer of admission. For some candidates that will include an offer of admission with merit scholarship support. The second would be an invitation to join our waitlist. The third decision would be the notice that potentially another program would be a better fit.

One of the changes that we have made for this season is making certain that at the close of every round of admission there is a final date by which a candidate will receive one of these three decisions. Johnson is a program that, coming off of the admissions interview, releases decisions on a rolling basis. But one of the areas of feedback that we saw from candidates is wanting to have a little bit more clarity and transparency connected to the notification deadline relative to the round in which they applied. So for this season, again, on our important dates section of the website, candidates can now see when the submission deadlines are, when the initial notification deadlines are, and then when the final date is by which they can expect to receive one of the three decision notifications, if they are a candidate that is invited to complete their admissions interview.

Read on for information about Johnson’s deadlines and their application essays, specifically.

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.