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Real Humans of the Cornell Johnson MBA Class of 2025

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Chloe Matthea Ocampo, Cornell Johnson MBA Class of 2025

Age: 32
Hometown: Quezon City, Philippines 
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of the Philippines Diliman, Business Administration
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): Brand manager for consumer goods (snack food at Universal Robina Corp.; personal care in Beiersdorf Philippines Inc.) for nine years; consumer insights consultant for Nielsen IQ, just under a year.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I spent most of my 12-year career in marketing and consumer insights, contributing to the growth of startup and challenger brands and providing strategic recommendations addressing clients’ business needs in various industries. I served as a group facilitator and retreat moderator for a faith community called Life’s Directions, supporting participants’ personal development. The pandemic helped me take a step back and look at these experiences and how they impact people and organizations, which is what I intend to focus on post-MBA through human capital consulting. Pursuing an MBA and a Master of Industrial and Labor Relations degree will help equip me for this pivot. 

Why did you choose Cornell Johnson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The wealth of resources that Cornell Johnson and the ILR School offer in soft skills is unparalleled, and being able to leverage the best of both worlds was my top consideration. I also liked the idea of being with a relatively small class in a college town setting that is conducive to building meaningful relationships. Being surrounded by Ithaca’s natural beauty is a big bonus! 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
In class, I will be able to share my perspective on expanding consumer markets and categories in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, working with cross-functional and cross-cultural teams and often limited resources. Beyond academics, my faith community experience will help me contribute to fostering belonging and a sense of community amid our diverse personalities, experiences, and aspirations.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
When I was an undergrad, I explored taking up psychology and going the HR route, as I have always been energized by people and curious about what drives them and brings them to life. Now, I’m coming full circle with my target pivot into human capital consulting, with the hopes of contributing to the development of people and organizations. 

Post-MBA career interests:
Consulting in human capital and people and organization strategy 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Reach out to and build relationships with current students and alumni. The benefits are two-fold: you learn more about Cornell Johnson and how it fits with your goals while gaining a friend or two along the way. 

What is one thing you would change or do differently?cornell johnson mba students
As an international student, applying during Round 1 in September would have allowed me more time for preparations (e.g., housing), exploring the campus and going to in-person coffee chats and Sage Socials, as well as given me an early heads-up for Destination Johnson, which I heard was a great way to get to know Johnson more intimately and connect with potential classmates.

What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Taking the GRE! It was quite a challenge preparing for it after being away from school for a while and given schedule limitations with my full-time job. It took a couple of attempts to secure a good spot. I would not have been able to make it without a lot of practice, my partner’s coaching, my loved ones’ moral support, and all the review recommendations and best practices from online channels like Reddit.  

What is your initial impression of the Cornell Johnson MBA students/culture/community?
I have always heard about Cornell Johnson students as being open and collaborative, and I was happy to have experienced it during my coffee chat with students who were warm and eager to help. When I arrived on campus, the caring and supportive atmosphere was present — from the admissions committee, student services, the career management center, and all the support groups to the second years holding space for us and leading the club meetings. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community.

What is one thing you have learned about Cornell Johnson that has surprised you?
I learned through my research that Johnson has been focusing on leadership. During my first week, I realized the level of dedication to the development of students’ leadership competencies through its 4 C’s leadership framework (competency, character, compassion, courage). In addition, they provide leadership coaching from second-year students and executive coaches. I am very much looking forward to furthering my leadership skills. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Recruitment! There is a lot of uncertainty, especially given my international status, but the best I can do is to focus on what I can control (i.e., my recruitment plan, personal brand, resume, behavioral interviews, casing, etc.) and do the best I can with the wealth of resources available at Johnson, like the guidance, support and connections through the CMC, as well as the second-years and Johnson alumni who are very willing to help. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Apart from making the most of the full MBA experience with my classmates, I’m looking forward to exploring the wonders of Ithaca one trail at a time! I have only been to Ithaca Falls back in the dead of winter, so I cannot wait to visit spots like Buttermilk Falls and Cayuga Lake while we still have beautiful weather. 

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.