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MBA Admissions Process & Application Guide
Are you considering applying to one of Johnson’s full-time residential MBA programs? Below you’ll find action items related to the admissions process and learn what to expect before, during, and after you apply.
Note that the information below applies to the Two-Year and One-Year MBA programs in Ithaca. Candidates applying for the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program should refer to the Cornell Tech website for application and admissions process information. Contact email@example.com with questions.
NOTE: Johnson has temporarily adjusted admissions requirements to accommodate applicants who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Please refer to our COVID-19 admissions update site for the latest information.
Before you apply
Applicants are permitted to apply to only one of Johnson’s full-time MBA programs. Make sure to research each program and choose carefully. We encourage you to engage with us in one or more of the ways listed below before you begin MBA the application process. This will help you determine if Johnson’s MBA programs are a good fit for you. It’s also important to be sure you are financially prepared for your MBA journey.
Note that Johnson does not offer candidates pre-assessments. All aspects of your application must be reviewed in full to determine whether or not you are qualified for admission.
To apply for Johnson’s One-Year MBA program in Ithaca, you must meet certain requirements for admission. This is a fast-paced, intense program, so checking your eligibility is the best first step you can take. You can also opt to sign up for a One -Year Ithaca MBA admissions consultation.
The Two-Year MBA and One-Year programs in Ithaca host several different types of on-campus events. You can connect with students, sit in on a class, attend an in-person information session, and meet with the admissions team.
Prospective students interested in the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program should check Cornell Tech’s website for up-to-date campus opportunities. Due to the high volume of requests, Cornell Tech Admissions cannot provide consultations for applicants or schedule class visits.
Johnson hosts weekend-long events for diverse candidates, women, and military veterans interested in the Two-Year MBA and One-Year MBA programs based in Ithaca. During these premier admissions events and symposiums, prospective MBAs can connect with admissions officers, meet with students, and listen to a series of panels and speakers discuss topics relevant to their MBA journeys.
When deciding to apply for a One-Year or Two-Year MBA in Ithaca, be aware of application deadlines and other important dates for each of Johnson’s full-time residential programs. Applications must be completed and submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on the indicated MBA application round deadline.
MBA Application Checklist
Refer to this list to be sure your application to the Two-Year MBA program or One-Year MBA program includes the following:
Goals Statement and two required essays (a third essay is optional)
Academic records and transcripts for all post-secondary coursework and degrees*
GMAT or GRE score report*
TOEFL or IELTS score report (for applicants whose first language is not English)*
One letter of professional recommendation (a second letter is optional)
Non-refundable $200 USD application fee
*You may submit unofficial copies of your transcripts and test scores for your application; however, if you are admitted and enroll, you will be required to submit official copies of these documents by the required deadline. Offers of admission are not binding until we verify your official academic records and test scores.
Female Two-Year MBA applicants in the United States;
Two-Year MBA applicants from Latin America, Central America, Asia, India, the Middle East, Africa, and Canada
We encourage candidates to apply during the Early Action round if you are committed to earning your MBA with the One-Year program at Johnson. This is a particularly attractive option for prospective students who are reapplicants, international students who need F1 visa sponsorship, and for those who are seeking an early decision on their application. If you submit a complete application by the Early Action deadline, it is guaranteed priority review and an invitation to interview. Offers of admission rendered via the Early Action round are non-binding; however, all incoming MBA students are required to pay a $3,000 tuition deposit by the stated deadline.
Applications for dual-degree programs at Cornell must be filed separately with Johnson and the co-sponsoring school. Often, the co-sponsoring school has different application deadlines and procedures than Johnson does. Applicants to dual-degree programs should make sure to follow the individual school’s instructions carefully. More information can be found on our dual degree Applications and Requirements page.
Reapplicants to the Two-Year and One-Year MBA programs are required to complete the third essay. Use this essay to explain how you have improved your candidacy. You are also required to submit a new letter of recommendation (though, it can be from the same person), and new test scores if you previous scores have expired.
Is there a format to follow when uploading documents into my application?
When uploading Word documents or PDFs into your application, check that the “Title” of the docu
ment matches your name listed on your application.
Word document example:
Why is my Rich Text Area field stating I am over the allotted limit?
When cutting/copying and pasting text from any product that uses an HTML editor (including Salesforce and Microsoft Word), the hidden HTML is included in the character count. To minimize character count, we recommend that you copy and paste your text to a neutral editor like Notepad before entering it into your online application.
When completing my declaration of finance form, what constitutes an “asset?”
You must include documentation for assets equal to educational and living expenses for one year of the MBA program when completing your declaration of finance form. Acceptable assets include:
Bank certification letters
Bank statements for checking accounts, savings accounts, or certificates of deposit
Statements of stock accounts or mutual funds (NOT retirement funds)
Do not include loans, property deeds, property assessments, gold, or jewelry.
You will receive one of three initial notifications following a preliminary review of your application materials:
An invitation to interview,
An invitation to join our waitlist without an interview, or
A denial of admission
2. MBA admissions interviews
Interviews will be conducted for candidates invited to continue in the admissions process.
3. Final notification
Following the admissions interview, you will receive one of three decision outcomes:
An offer of admission,
An invitation to join our waitlist, or
A denial of admission.
Updates to the status of your application are officially communicated via our online application portal. Throughout the admissions cycle, you will receive emails indicating that there has been a change to your application status and that you should login to the online portal for updated information. However, the Admissions Committee loves to communicate offers of admission by phone so we can share the good news directly—make sure you answer your phone!
Applications are reviewed and decisions are rendered regularly throughout the application cycle. We release decisions on a rolling basis and will post decision outcomes by the initial and final notification dates for each round of admission. Please review our application deadlines for specific dates. We do not offer early decision notifications.
Your admissions interview allows the Admissions Committee to get to know you, and you’ll have the opportunity to assess whether our program and community are a good fit. Interviews are available by invitation only. Invitations will be sent via email following a preliminary review of your application materials. Candidates must complete an admissions interview in order to be offered admission to either the Two-Year or One-Year MBA program in Ithaca.
Interviews may be conducted in person in Ithaca, New York, or via Skype. On occasion, we may also conduct in-person interviews in your local city. While we encourage you to visit us in Ithaca, we understand that making a trip is not always possible, especially for international applicants. Please know that the Admissions Committee does not have a preference in terms of interview format and that interviewing via Skype will not have a negative impact on your presentation as a candidate.
Interview scheduling and completion
We encourage you to schedule your admissions interview within seven days of receiving your interview invitation. Interviews must be scheduled and completed by the interview completion deadline that corresponds to the round in which you have applied. Please note: Admissions interviews are scheduled by invitation only. If invited to interview, you will be notified via email following a preliminary review of your application materials.
Admissions interviews are conducted by admissions and MBA programs professional staff and/or trained second-year MBA students known as members of our Johnson Admissions Group (JAG). All interviews are evaluated equally, regardless of the interviewer.
While we do not offer alumni-conducted interviews, we do offer a limited number of in-person interviews to be conducted off campus. If you are to be invited to complete an off-campus interview, we will notify you by email of our plans to travel to your city.
Group MBA interview days
Admissions interviews may be conducted at several admissions events throughout the admissions cycle, including our Johnson Leadership Exploration and Assessment Day (LEAD), Consortium Super Day, Johnson Women in Business (JWiB), Johnson Means Business (JMB), and Johnson Military Preview (JMP) events. Interviews to be completed during these events are scheduled by invitation only.
Following your interview, final decisions, including invitations to join the waitlist, will be released on a rolling basis and posted no later than the date noted for the round in which you submitted your application. Your decision will be posted to your Johnson Application page and you will receive an email message indicating that your decision is available.
Scholarships are awarded based on merit, regardless of citizenship, and recipients are selected once an offer of admission is made. If you are awarded a scholarship, this information will be included in your official offer letter at the time of your admission decision. All admitted students are considered for merit-based funding/scholarships—no additional application is needed.
Two-Year MBA students who enroll without scholarship funding during their first year should not expect to receive scholarship support in their second year.
Requests to defer admission should be submitted in writing by 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, July 16, 2020, to Stephan Douglas-Allen, Admissions & Application Coordinator. Please include a detailed explanation of your request and appropriate supporting documentation, if applicable.
Deferral requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and typically granted for reasons of health and/or medical emergency, military service, or enrollment in a Cornell dual degree program with a defined (delayed MBA program start) degree sequence. Deferral requests are typically not granted for financial reasons (i.e., needing more time to secure funding), educational reasons (i.e., studying elsewhere), or work obligations and/or changes to employment status.
As Cornell University is providing hybrid instruction with options for delayed arrival to accommodate all incoming students, we will conclude our review of deferral requests for the 2019-20 admissions season with the July 16, 2020 deferral request submission deadline.
Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we are unable to provide feedback to candidates who are not admitted.
Information for waitlisted candidates
If you have been invited to join our waitlist with or without an interview, it means that you show potential as an applicant but may have one or more areas in which you can strengthen your candidacy. While a visit to campus can be very helpful in understanding the culture and community here at Johnson, it does not have a direct impact on your candidacy. If you voluntarily choose to visit us on campus, we encourage you to make the most of your experience by reaching out to current students and clubs that you are interested in or attending a class, information session, or Coffee and Convos session with our current students.
We reserve our admissions interviews for candidates invited to complete this step in the admissions process. Candidates may be invited to join Johnson’s waitlist without an interview or after their interview takes place. Due to the volume of requests that we receive throughout the admissions cycle, we are not able to provide individual feedback sessions for waitlisted candidates.
We encourage you to engage in self-assessment and review your application to determine where there may be possible areas for improvement. When reviewing your application, you may consider our Two-Year MBA class profile and One-Year MBA class profile to gain a better understanding of the general profile of students who were successfully admitted to the program.
If you were waitlisted following your admissions interview, you may also want to reflect on your interview experience and determine whether you sufficiently addressed any potential areas for concern with the interviewer.
Candidates can attend one of our Waitlist Webinars hosted throughout the admissions cycle, which will provide feedback and tips. We also ask that you review your application, identify potential areas for improvement, and create an action plan. Once you have done this, please send your action plan to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your action plan will be reviewed, and we will be in touch should we identify any additional areas for you to consider or address.
If you have identified that your GMAT/GRE score is a potential outlier within your application, then we encourage you to consider a retake of the exam, especially if you have only taken the exam once. While not required, having two or more scores gives us a more informed understanding of your performance relative to this admissions requirement. Please also note—while your average score may be at or above the posted class average, the average score of this year’s applicant pool may be higher, and therefore, your application may not be as competitive.
If you have taken a standardized test multiple times and have received consistent scores that you believe do not reflect your capabilities, consider taking an alternate test (GMAT or GRE). Both exams are accepted for admission to our full-time MBA programs, and while one exam format is not easier than the other is, some candidates indicate that the change in format results in better test performance.
Consider taking courses to demonstrate your academic aptitude and capabilities in the classroom. MBA Math online, or an accounting or finance course can help the admissions committee better understand your capabilities as well as introducing or re-introducing you to business math skills and concepts.
You are welcome to submit an additional letter of recommendation if you believe the recommender can add new information to your application. Please send no more than two additional letters. Additional letters of recommendation should be emailed to the attention of our MBA admissions team at email@example.com. There is no specific format for additional letters of recommendation, though please make sure that your recommender can highlight the accomplishments and/or details that you would like to have conveyed on your behalf.
If your work experience has changed following your application to the program, please send us a copy of your updated resume and call attention to the areas that have changed.
Waitlisted candidates are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the admissions cycle. While it is possible to receive a final admissions decision during the admissions cycle, it is also possible to remain on the waitlist through, and following, our final deposit deadline in June and until our entering class is finalized.
We understand and appreciate that you may have alternate offers to consider, and likewise, appreciate you for being in touch to let us know of your considerations and decision timelines. As our review of waitlisted candidates is driven by our own entering class composition and priorities, please understand that sharing an update about your decision timeline is unlikely to result in an immediate decision or change of status.
If you choose to withdraw yourself from the waitlist you may do so at any time, though we do ask that you notify us of your decision to do so.
Enrollment steps for admitted MBA candidates
If you are offered admission to one of Johnson’s full-time residential programs, you must meet deposit and documentation deadlines (corresponding to the round in which you applied) to reserve your place in the entering class.
Candidates who accept an offer of admission must submit an enrollment agreement, as well as a non-refundable initial enrollment deposit, by 12:00 PM ET on the date that corresponds with the round in which you submitted your application. Enrollment deposits are non-refundable. If you feel that a refund is due, or you made a payment in error, please contact the Admissions Office to discuss the correction.
If you applied with unofficial documentation, please refer to our application requirements for official transcript and standardized test submission procedures. You must submit official copies of your materials with your enrollment agreement and deposit. As a policy, we do not offer deposit extensions.
Two-Year MBA program
The initial enrollment deposit for Two-Year MBAs is $1,500. A second and final deposit of $1,500 should be made by June 1 before matriculation.
The initial enrollment deposit for Park Fellowship Recipients (including Consortium candidates selected for Park Fellowships) is $3,000. A second and final deposit of $1,500 should be made by June 1 before matriculation.
One-Year MBA program in Ithaca
The enrollment deposit for One-Year MBAs is $3,000.
As a final step in the enrollment process, all matriculating students are asked to complete a background check to confirm that the information provided in their application is accurate and reflective of their own experience and accomplishments. To assist us with this process, we have chosen Re Vera Services, a company specializing in academic verifications, to be the third-party provider of these services for our MBA programs. As ethics are a critical component of our programs and in the business world, the completion of the background check helps to ensure that Johnson’s learning environment and community maintains its integrity.
Please note that your admission may be rescinded should you elect not to initiate and complete this required review or if the background check should produce an ethical violation.
Within 72 hours of submission, Re Vera Services will provide you with written confirmation of payment as well as your release. If you do not receive this confirmation, please contact Re Vera Services directly at 1-888-408-4384 or firstname.lastname@example.org and provide them with your contact information (name, email address, and telephone number).
On average, the Re Vera review process will take approximately two weeks, but can take up to 30 days, from the point you receive confirmation of payment and release, which must be submitted by your Deposit, Official Documentation, & Re Vera Initiation Deadline. We encourage you to initiate this process as soon as possible so that you do not run into any delays that could negatively affect your program start.
All programs begin with a pre-term orientation. The One-Year accelerated MBA and Johnson Cornell Tech MBA programs begin in May. The Two-Year MBA program begins in August.
Register for admitted student events
Admitted and incoming Two-Year MBA students should register to attend Destination Johnson, and One-Year MBA students should register for Accelerate Johnson. These events will welcome you to the Johnson community and give you the opportunity to interact with current students and faculty and learn more about how you’ll fit into our full-time programs.
Review the New Student Website and Guide
All students enrolled in Johnson’s full-time MBA programs should review the information on our New Student Website. You should also look for and read the New Student Guide, which will be sent to you in the weeks leading into the start of each program.