Admitted students receive a warm welcome at Destination Johnson

Johnson’s dean, students, and alumnus pinpoint hallmarks of the Johnson experience

Admitted students receive a warm welcome at Destination Johnson
On April 12, Johnson welcomed prospective students who gathered on campus for Destination Johnson, a weekend designed to enable admitted students to meet future classmates as well as Johnson faculty and staff; explore Sage Hall, the Cornell campus, and Ithaca; and experience the Johnson culture. During the welcome address held Friday evening, Dean Soumitra Dutta, Jose Gaztambide, MBA ’13, Siobhan King, MBA ’13 (A), and Felix A. Rouse, MBA ’03, shared their stories about Johnson.

Three common themes emerged as each speaker told his stories: Johnson’s close-knit community; the expertise of Johnson faculty, and the wonderful relationships students form with them; and the transformative experiences the school offers.

Speaking of the Johnson community, Gaztambide said: “Here, your academic, professional, and social lifeare one; you will get to know everyone.” In reference to his story about two Johnson students who helped each other when they were both targeting jobs with same function in the same company, he said, “We define our success not just internally, but also on the people around us.”

The warmth and collaborative quality of the Johnson community also came through in Dutta’s remarks when he recounted some of his interactions with Johnson alumni, many of whom found their best friends at Johnson, and some of whom even named their children after their Johnson peers. “These one or two years here will both redefine your professional life and your personal life,” said Dutta.

Rouse, now brand manager at Valvoline, highlighted the openness and expertise of Johnson’s faculty as another hallmark of the Johnson experience. He told an anecdote about Angela Noble-Grange, senior lecturer of management communication. Just a week into his first semester at Johnson, she challenged him to take on a leadership role at Johnson. “She said to me: ‘You have something you don’t even see. … You need to run for student council,’” recalled Rouse. He did. “And that was the best thing I could have ever done,” he said. Rouse went on to hold a variety of leadership roles within the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark and America before joining Valvoline.

Highlighting the outstanding quality of Johnson’s faculty members, Dutta quoted from the Bloomberg BusinessWeek Business School rankings: “If you look at the number of publications in top-tier research journals and divide it by the size of faculty, Johnson is ranked number two in the country.”

The wonderful, transformative opportunities Johnson offers its students was another theme that kept popping up. King told of her career segue from management consulting to impact investing. At Johnson, she had the opportunity to gain direct investment experience through performance learning with the Big Red Venture Fund, a 1.6 million-dollar, student-run venture fund.

The new Cornell NYC Tech campus further broadens opportunities at Johnson, Dutta noted. Johnson students will have the chance to work together with Cornell’s engineering and computer science faculty and students “to create an innovation ecosystem of tomorrow, thereby transforming the economy of one of the world’s most important cities.”

In concluding, Dutta offered students a word of advice: “The secret of leadership is to know yourself. The better you know yourself, the more authentic you can be.” He urged students to use feedback from their peers and the support of Johnson’s tight-knit community during their time here to “understand who you are as a person” and thereby “reach your full potential.”

— Yuezhou Huo ’15
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