The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management was proud and excited to mark a major milestone in its history on Sept. 13, 2017, at the official dedication of the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. The new campus is now the hub for all Johnson programs in New York City in addition to being the home of the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA (formerly housed in Google’s Chelsea office in Manhattan). Soumitra Dutta, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business Dean, and Mark Nelson, Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean, joined Doug Stayman, Cornell Tech associate dean and associate professor of marketing, and Mukti Khaire, Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice and new faculty director for the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program, along with other Johnson Cornell Tech faculty and the entire Cornell Tech community, to mark the occasion.
“Expanding our presence in New York City is of strategic importance to Johnson, providing geographic proximity to our alumni and corporate partners, and immersion in the business capital of the world,” says Dutta. “Johnson now has a significant presence in The Bridge on Cornell’s new campus on Roosevelt Island, where we are leasing 20,000 square feet of space, including two tiered classrooms, eight breakout rooms, and work space for over 20 faculty and staff.”
The Cornell Tech campus brings to life Johnson’s “one college, two campuses” model that seeks to integrate the best of both worlds among the school’s programs in Ithaca and in New York City.
“Johnson already has benefited in many ways from our involvement in Cornell Tech,” says Nelson. “Our Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program is in its fourth year of growth and set to flourish on Roosevelt Island. That program has sparked innovation in Ithaca, with our Ithaca-based students able to take a Digital Tech Immersion inspired by Cornell Tech’s Studio Curriculum. Now, our Ithaca-based students can take courses in Johnson’s Bridge space on the new campus, including seven-week intensives in Digital Marketing and FinTech this coming spring. The synergy between these two campuses creates tremendously exciting opportunities.”
“It’s amazing to be here, on a campus right in the middle of New York,” says Stayman, who has played a key role in developing the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program from the outset, serving as faculty director for the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA, 2014-17. “You’re in these beautiful buildings — each one unique and exciting in its own way — but you also have big, open green space, plus beautiful views of New York.” And it’s very accessible, he adds: “Just take the F train.”
“As someone who focuses her research and teaching on entrepreneurship, especially in creative and cultural industries, it has been exciting to be part of a campus focused on digital entrepreneurial leadership — especially in New York City, which is a hub for the creative industries,” says Khaire. “Taking over as program director for the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA while we set foot on this brand new campus has been particularly gratifying – it’s so rare to be starting off on two things at the same time!”
All Johnson faculty in New York City, including those who teach in the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA and in the Cornell Executive MBA Metro NY, are housed in the Bloomberg Center along with all Cornell Tech faculty. Johnson faculty and staff moved into the new campus in early August — at about the same time Cornell faculty and students who opted to rent apartments at The House at Cornell Tech took up residence. All Cornell Tech students joined them there when classes began on Aug. 22.
Johnson in NYC
The New York City metro area is home to more than 3,000 Johnson alumni and an active alumni club that hosts up to seven events each year. Johnson has hosted myriadconferences, guest speakers, and other events in New York City over the years, and has been steadily growing its programs in New York City. The school launched its first program in New York City in 1999 with its Cornell Executive MBA Metro NY (CEMBA) at the IBM Palisades Executive Conference Center in Palisades, N.Y. In 2005, when Johnson launched its Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA program (now the Cornell Executive MBA Americas), it began to broadcast instruction from Sage Hall to students in New York City as well as other cities across the Americas via multi-point, interactive videoconferencing. In 2014, Johnson launched the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA, focused on developing leaders in the digital economy. And in August of this year, Johnson and Weill Cornell Medicine launched the Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership, which includes residential sessions in Ithaca and in New York City in addition to weekend classes held at the Weill Cornell Medicine campus in New York City.
New opportunities for Ithaca-based MBA programs
As Nelson mentions above, the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island is opening up New York City’s rich tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem for Johnson’s Ithaca-based students, faculty, and programs. Beginning this fall, Johnson is offering Ithaca-based MBA students four new weekend courses at Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island campus: Digital Leadership in Cultural Markets, Designing Data Products, Design Thinking, and Leading Agile Innovation. Ithaca-based MBAs may also apply to spend either half or all of the spring 2018 semester in residence at Cornell Tech, where they can take intensive courses in Digital Marketing and FinTech.
Johnson will also host many events and gatherings at the Cornell Tech campus beginning this fall. “The amount of requests we’re getting for Johnson uses is fantastic,” says Stayman, who now chairs Johnson’s New York space usage committee. The Emerging Markets Institute will host a conference, Emerging Multinationals in a Changing World, at the Bloomberg Center on Nov. 10, 2017; the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise plans to hold a conference there in the spring; and the Parker Center for Investment Research is planning to host a stock pitch competition there, as well. And that’s just a fraction of what’s in the works. “I have a Google doc a mile long of Johnson people outside of Cornell Tech who want to use The Bridge for research, for classes, and for institute and center conferences,” says Stayman. “They want to do these things in New York, and now there’s this fantastic place for them to do it in.”
A campus built to foster interaction, spark ideas, and facilitate collaboration
The Cornell Tech campus was specifically designed and custom-built to kindle interdisciplinary interaction among students and faculty, generating a free flow of ideas and possibilities, and facilitate collaboration with industry — all this in a vibrant tech ecosystem that fuses business, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in a fast-paced, hands-on learning environment. That’s why The Bridge has faculty research labs, a state-of-the-art computing lab, and a design lab where student can build prototypes.
“Everyone is very eager to start something on the new campus — to contribute to what is shaping into an already life-changing experience,” says Julia Hawkins, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA ’18. “People are organizing across disciplines to form clubs, athletic teams, game nights and startups. There are few physical barriers between students and faculty — when there are walls or doors, they are often made of glass or movable.” Moreover, she adds, “most of us live 100 feet away and can run up to our apartments in five minutes or less.”
“It’s incredibly exciting and humbling to be a part of the inaugural class on the new campus,” says Khemi Cooper, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA ’18. “We’re all eager to help shape what the future looks like for Cornell Tech.” Asked about how the new space feels in terms of facilitating interdisciplinary interaction among students, faculty, and industry, she adds: “The studio space at The Bridge feels particularly collaborative in design. From walls you can write on to moveable boards and work spaces, you quickly get the sense that the space was not meant for a standard curriculum. It feels more like a startup environment.”
“The campus is simply fantastic,” says Maximillain Kaye, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA ’17, citing the building designs, scenic views, and park-like atmosphere. With the addition of chocolate manufacturer Ferrero International as the newest corporate tenant on the new campus, he says, “you can begin to see the types of partners Cornell Tech attracts: those that are disrupting big industries but need the help of young innovators and developers on the ground developing solutions to their biggest business and technology needs. This is exactly how Cornell Tech adds value to the entrepreneurship community.”
MBA faculty in New York City
“We’re really building an exciting faculty who live in New York City,” says Stayman. “Last year we hired Mukti Khaire, Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice, and Michelle Duguid, associate professor of management and organizations. This year we added Gautam Ahuja, professor of management operations, Karan Girotra, professor of operations, technology and information management, and Garrett van Ryzin, professor of operations, technology and information management — all senior academics, full professors, really exciting people for us to have on board.” Roni Michaely, Rudd Family Professor of Finance, who first came to Johnson as a faculty member in 1990, joined the Cornell Tech faculty in 2015. And Clarence Lee, assistant professor of marketing and Breazzano Family Sesquicentennial Fellow, who joined Johnson in 2014, is now based in New York City and housed on the Cornell Tech campus.
In addition, many other Johnson faculty teach both in Ithaca and in New York City, but are not resident at Cornell Tech, including Wes Sine, professor of management and organizations; Steven Gal, senior lecturer of management; Jason Hogg, senior lecturer of management; Lutz Finger, data scientist in residence; Toddi Gutner, lecturer; and Marc Brudsinski, lecturer.