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Real Humans of the Cornell Johnson MBA Class of 2025

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James Scaglione, Cornell Johnson MBA Class of 2025

Age: 30
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of South Florida, double major in management and marketing
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): Eight years in Supply Chain Management across Consumer and Healthcare Industries

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
After eight years of working in supply chain, I felt my interests become more and more aligned to areas outside my function and industry. I became curious about the problems my cross-functional business partners faced and why those problems were problems in the first place. I viewed Cornell Johnson’s immersion and leadership programming as a compelling opportunity to rapidly expand my business knowledge and build upon my existing notions of leadership so that I may drive change in the future. I see the next two years as an investment for the following 30, and I’m happy with my decision to come to Ithaca. 

Why did you choose Cornell Johnson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
It was all about outcomes and people. Cornell Johnson has a solid track record of placements in my desired industry and my interactions with current students were nothing but genuine. Everything else was just icing on the cake. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
I think my experience working for a few big names gives me some unique insight into how larger enterprises function and how those types of workplace cultures operate. I used to think that all big organizations generally were run similarly, but the reality could not be more different. That was a real shock to me, and I think sharing this experience will be beneficial for those in my class who only have experience with their original employer.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I like to do a little bit of photography on the side. My goal is to get featured on the Cornell Instagram this year.

Post-MBA career interests:

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would get feedback from others on my essays. It’s impossible to objectively critique your own writing, so having that outside perspective is key. It’s also a great opportunity for someone else to pressure test your reasons for joining and what you offer as a future student.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?cornell johnson mba students
I would have started the process a bit earlier. It’s important to recognize that everyone moves at a different pace, and you really won’t know what yours is until the process is well underway.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The GMAT. I spent many long months split between my full-time job and studying late into the night to receive my desired score. I think sticking to a disciplined plan that works best for you, even if others have different opinions, can be a very powerful thing. Though you might have to buy a few “apology” rounds for your friends when it’s finally over. 

What is your initial impression of the Cornell Johnson MBA students/culture/community?
Very positive. Everyone I’ve met brings a healthy dose of fun mixed with ambition. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next two years have in store for us and the memories we’ll make along the way.

What is one thing you have learned about Cornell Johnson that has surprised you?
Ithaca has a lot going for it despite its size. There’s enough to do a little bit of most things while still enjoying the benefits of a smaller, tight-knit community. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Prioritizing where and how I spend my time. There’s so much to get involved with!

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Building friendships with so many new people. We’re all newbies to the program and to our new home in Ithaca. That creates an exciting opportunity to get to know others on a level playing field.

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.