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Real Humans of Cornell Johnson’s MBA Class of 2022

Dimakatso “Demi” Hayes, Johnson MBA Class of 2022

Age: 32
Hometown: Houston, TX
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Spelman College, Economics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 8.5 years in healthcare

Why business school? Why now? 
I was at a place in my career where I could no longer advance without a degree. I also noticed a specific set of skills and qualities that C-Suite managers possessed, and they all had an MBA. I spoke to my previous manager, and she helped me identify areas of growth and implied that an MBA was the best path to take

Why Cornell Johnson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I absolutely loved the Johnson Community. The Consulting Program and the small-town feel. I really wanted to go somewhere that would allow me to build a strong relationship with my classmates and living in Ithaca fosters that. I did a lot of research and tried to connect with current students. The students who I met were genuine and enthusiastic in making sure that I made the right decision. I knew then that I wanted to be around open and collaborative people.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
Given my extensive experience in healthcare, I think it allows me to offer a unique perspective to the cases and team projects. I am also considered an older student and believe that my long-view perspective is different.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? 
I am an enormous skincare enthusiast. I struggled with acne growing up, and the early habits I formed have grown into adulthood. This skill has helped me combat any skin irritations or issues that can develop as a result of wearing a mask.

Post-MBA career interests? 
Strategy Consulting

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Talk to as many current students and alumni as possible. They are truly the differentiating factor, and they make the community. Also, pay attention to how the curriculum is structured. Johnson emphasizes data analytics, which is also what recruiters emphasize is in demand.

–One thing you would change or do differently?       
This is difficult because I am so happy with my decision but spend more time getting to know other prospective applicants and talking to professors. Johnson has impressive professors, and I absolutely want to connect more with them. Sitting in on their lectures allowed me to get a feel for the school’s teaching culture.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
 The GMAT, but I will say that the study skills I learned have translated over to the business school. I wish I hadn’t placed as much of an emphasis on achieving a specific score and focused more on the skills I was building through the process.

What is your initial impression of Cornell Johnson’s students/culture/community?
The Cornell Johnson community is so resilient, creative, and adaptive. COVID has forced us to come up with safe ways to socialize and meet each other. Over the summer, we had weekly calls with a random group of classmates, which allowed us to get to know each other. They are also extremely smart and kind.

One thing you have learned about Cornell Johnson that has surprised you? 
Because of COVID-19, networking with my classmates has been difficult. Students have planned smaller meetups with 10 or fewer people. Because the groups are small, we have been able to really get to know each other and have more in-depth conversations.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? 
Finance! I don’t have a strong finance background. Johnson has a Math Camp that reviews Accounting, Economics, and Finance, which has been an enormous help.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
The Immersions. There are so many skills that I want to improve upon before starting my internship in the summer, and I have a list of classes that I am excited to take.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2022, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Cornell / Johnson

About the Author


Christina Griffith  

Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.

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