Note that the application requirements below apply 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 requirements. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
* Johnson has temporarily adjusted admissions requirements to accommodate applicants who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Johnson is offering candidates of the Full-Time MBA 2020-2021 application cycle the ability to request a GMAT/GRE test waiver, without negative bias. Please refer to the Test scores and GMAT/GRE requirements below for additional information.
Work experience requirements
Full-time work experience is not required to apply, but on average, students have completed two to five years of full-time work prior to enrolling. We accept a small number of outstanding applicants with less than one year of full-time experience.
Academic transcripts and official documentation requirements
Candidates who are accepted to and enrolled in Johnson’s MBA programs must hold a bachelor’s degree. Transcripts should be provided for all completed coursework along with proof of graduation from a bachelor’s degree program. One-Year Ithaca MBA students must also hold a professional certification or advanced degree (see below).
If you are currently enrolled in a degree program (bachelor’s or other advanced degree) when you apply to Johnson, you’ll need to provide your most recent transcript. Once your degree is conferred, an official copy of the transcript will be required.
Applicants to the One-Year accelerated MBA program in Ithaca must hold a professional certification or advanced degree. Eligible certifications and advanced degrees include, but are not limited to: chartered financial analyst, certified public accountant (CPA), Institute of Chartered Financial Accountants (UK and India), Society of Actuaries, project management (PMP), JD, MD, MEng, MHA, MPA, MEd, MA, MS, or PhD.
You may apply for admission using unofficial or official documentation. If you are offered admission and choose to enroll at Johnson, you will be required to submit official copies of all transcript(s) to accompany the submission of your enrollment agreement and deposit fee by the Deposit & Official Documentation Deadline for the round in which you applied. Offers of admission are not binding until we verify your official academic records and test scores.
Students reporting grades from institutions that do not evaluate academic performance on a 4.0 GPA scale should NOT convert their scores to a GPA. Report your scores or grades as your university lists them in your official transcripts.
Transcript(s) must include all semesters of study and show proof of degree conferral (from the degree granting institution only).
For academic records that are not in English, applicants must also provide a certified English translation. We recommend that you contact World Education Services for assistance with international credential translation.
Official transcripts may be submitted electronically or by mail. Transcripts sent by mail must be received in a sealed envelope and include the school’s official seal and/or signature. Mail hard copies to:
Johnson at Cornell University
Office of Admissions & Financial Aid
Attention: Application Coordinators
114 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Official transcript(s) submitted electronically must be sent from the institution directly to our main inbox: email@example.com.
If you received a grade of A–F for the coursework:
You are required to submit unofficial copies of transcripts for these courses when submitting your application materials. If offered admission, you will be asked to provide an official copy of the transcript(s) to accompany the submission of your enrollment agreement and deposit fee.
If you did not receive a grade of A–F for the coursework:
For the purposes of evaluation, please submit an unofficial copy of your transcript so that we have an accurate understanding of the non-degree coursework completed.
Candidates with a previous MBA degree are eligible to apply. Please use the optional essay to explain your reasons for pursuing a second MBA.
A separate transcript for coursework completed abroad is not required so long as the courses of study and grades received are listed on the transcript(s) from your degree-granting institution.
If the courses and grades received are not listed on your degree-granting institution’s records, please submit an unofficial copy of the transcript(s) for these courses when submitting your application. If offered admission, you will be asked to provide an official copy of the transcript(s) to accompany the submission of your enrollment agreement and deposit fee.
We do not accept transfer credits. An important aspect of Johnson’s MBA programs is the camaraderie that comes from shared experiences and team building activities, which can only be leveraged by completing the programs in their entirety. In most cases, exemptions to this transfer credit policy are only provided when students pass exemption examinations. Some students also qualify for an exemption by providing certificates from professional designations (such as the CPA or CFA).
2020-2021 MBA admissions essay prompts
Applicants to the Two-Year and One-Year Ithaca MBA programs must complete a Goals Statement as well as two essays. Applicants to the Two-Year MBA program may complete an additional essay to be considered for the Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program full-tuition fellowship award.
Use this short-answer section to succinctly share your short- and long-term goals. If you’re invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate on your statement further, and you should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.
Goals Statement Prompt:
A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout the admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences and answering the enclosed short answer question (350 words maximum):
Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) [Role] at [Company] within [Industry].
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
In 5–10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) [Role] at [Company] within [Industry].
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:
How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?
This essay is designed to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff before submitting your application. You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on-campus or off-campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.
Impact Essay Prompt:
At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. How do you intend to make an impact during the next several years of your education and/or career? (350 words maximum)
This essay gives you the opportunity to present yourself as an individual. We encourage you to think about your proudest accomplishments, interests and passions, and personal highlights that will help us to get to know you as a person and potential community member. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style.
Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions. Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written essay, please limit your submission to 350 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under three minutes.
Back of Your Resume Essay Prompt:
The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing ONE example of a life experience, achievement, or passion that will give us a sense of who you are as a potential community member.
You may use this essay to call attention to items needing clarification and to add additional details to any aspects of your application that do not accurately reflect your potential for success at Johnson (350 words maximum).
If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application and candidacy since the last time you applied for admission. Please also review our Application Guide for additional information about reapplying (350 words maximum).
The Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program is a two-year, full-tuition fellowship award for Two-Year MBA candidates in Ithaca who have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential and who are committed to making an impact within their communities. Each year, fellowships are awarded to up to 25 incoming students with the expectation that they will participate in additional leadership and personal development activities outside of our regular curriculum, serve in leadership roles within the school, and complete a public service project by the time they graduate. The Park Fellowship is only available to U.S. citizens applying for the Two-Year MBA program.
Park Leadership Fellows Program Essay Prompt:
To apply for the Park Fellowship, please complete this essay (500-word limit).
Describe a past formal or informal leadership experience and how it informs your goals for growth as a leader. How would the Park Leadership Fellowship assist with these goals?
Test scores and GMAT/GRE requirements
In response to continued hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we continue to debate the value of a GMAT/GRE score as a predictor of future academic and career success, Cornell Johnson is offering candidates of the Full-Time MBA 2020-2021 application cycle the ability to request a GMAT/GRE test waiver, without negative bias. Prepare a short statement for why you will flourish in our rigorous academic environment (100 words) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details outlined below.
MBA applicants who prefer to provide a valid GMAT or GRE score can upload a score report as part of their application. Johnson accepts both GMAT or GRE scores. Candidates seeking dual-degree admission will often submit a GRE score, as this is typically the requirement for non-MBA program applications.
There is no minimum GMAT or GRE score requirement for either of Johnson’s residential MBA programs. However, the middle 80% of our applicants submit GMAT scores between 650 and 740. GRE equivalencies are comparable.
You may submit an unofficial score report for your application review; however, if you are accepted and enroll in any of Johnson’s residential MBA programs, Admissions must receive an official score report by the stated Deposit and Official Documentation Deadline for the round in which you applied. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the testing service directly and authorize the release of your official score report. Offers of admission are not binding until we verify your official academic records and test scores.
Keep in mind that GMAT and GRE scores remain valid for five years from the date the exam was taken. Your official score report must be valid at the time it is sent to Admissions as part of your application package prior to the posted application submission deadline. If your score is approaching expiration, be sure to submit your official report before it expires. Expired score reports (unofficial or official) received on or following the application submission deadline will require the submission of a valid score by retaking the exam.
If you completed the GMAT or GRE exam more than once, we will use and evaluate the exam with the highest total score. Please list this score in your application, but know that we may also review scores from other exams completed. The lifetime maximum number of times the GMAT exam can be taken is eight. The GRE can be taken up to five times within a rolling 12-month period.
GMAT scores should be sent electronically using www.mba.com and the following codes:
Two-Year MBA program: 5JW-BM-96
One-Year MBA program: 5JW-BM-11
GRE scores should be mailed by ETS (www.ets.org) to the address below. The GRE code for all MBA programs is 8296.
Johnson at Cornell University
Office of Admissions & Financial Aid
114 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
We continue to debate the value of a standardized test score, including GMAT or GRE, as a predictor of future academic and career success. We prefer to take a holistic approach to our application process, reviewing and assessing a wide array of quantitative and qualitative application data, to ensure that each admitted student is fully prepared for our rigorous Full-Time MBA programs. Last year, Johnson added a GMAT/GRE-optional June admissions round in the 2-year MBA program. Students from the June round, many admitted without GMAT/GRE scores, are performing just as well as students admitted before a waiver was granted.
We realize that the impact of COVID-19 extends to standardized tests, including an applicant’s ability to prepare to take the exam. Please prepare a short statement that describes your personal circumstance and provide a clear and compelling argument for why you will flourish in our rigorous academic environment (100 words). Test waiver requests should be emailed to email@example.com.
All applicants for the Full-Time MBA programs can request a GMAT/GRE waiver. In order to submit an application to our Full-Time MBA program, you must either have an approved waiver OR submit a GMAT or GRE score.
We suggest that you submit your GMAT/GRE waiver as soon as possible. Depending on volume, it can take up to 7-10 business days to return your request decision.
We recommend that you submit your GMAT/GRE test waiver request at least 7-10 business days before the final application deadline.
GMAT/GRE waiver deadline: February 25, 2021 for March 8, 2021 deadline
GMAT/GRE waiver deadline: March 29, 2021 for April 8. 2021 deadline
You may continue working on the rest of your application as we process your decision, so we encourage you to request a waiver as one of the first steps in the application process. Should you have any questions about your waiver, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. All applications will be considered holistically, and you will not be at a disadvantage without a standardized test score. However, depending on your future goals, our admissions team may advise you to take the GMAT/GRE to strengthen your application for internship and full-time recruiting processes.
Yes. The GMAT/GRE test is a helpful data point for the admissions committee, but we review each application holistically and the waiver will not negatively bias your consideration for scholarships.
If you receive a testing waiver, but elect to take the GMAT/GRE and receive a score that you would like to highlight to our admissions committee, we encourage you to submit your score.
Yes, applicants who provide test scores may elect to request a test waiver. Your statement should call attention to this and if the waiver is granted, the admissions team will review your application without your submitted scores.
Each application undergoes a thorough, comprehensive review as part of our holistic application process. Standardized test scores are only one indicator of a student’s potential ability, and many other data points are considered to ultimately gain a complete understanding of your potential for success at Cornell Johnson. The Admissions Committee will thoughtfully consider all materials provided in your application to determine the final outcome of your application for admission.
Yes, all testing waivers and applications are only valid for the MBA format applied (Full-Time Two-Year MBA, Full-Time One-Year MBA, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA). You may use materials (resume, transcript) from a different MBA format request, but all applicants must formally request a testing waiver specific to the program they are applying.
No. The waiver is only valid for this 2020-2021 application cycle. We reevaluate application requirements annually and will announce any changes to our 2021-2022 application on August 1, 2021.
Letters of recommendation
One letter of recommendation is required, but you may submit up to two for review by the committee. You should seek recommendations from people capable of commenting on your professional, leadership, and intellectual capabilities. The most useful evaluations are from people who are able to speak with certainty about your leadership, maturity, team orientation, analytical skills, and interpersonal skills. Examples include a current supervisor, colleague, client, or former supervisor.
When completing your online application, you will be prompted to provide contact information for at least one reference. He or she will be contacted via email and invited to complete the letter of recommendation online. The Common Letter of Recommendation is designed to save you and your referee’s time, as the questions and written prompts will remain constant for all participating schools.
Please connect with your recommender and share these directions:
Download a template of the Common LoR and save it to your computer. To ensure that you do not accidentally lose any entered form data, please save the template to your computer first and avoid completing the template online within your browser.
Complete the template offline and save a final version of the file to your computer.
When you are ready to submit your recommendation, open the link from the institution’s invitation email and use the Common LoR template to copy and paste responses to complete and submit your recommendation.
Johnson delivers a highly collaborative academic experience, which requires mastery of the English Language. All applicants to the Two-Year and One-Year MBA programs must demonstrate proficiency of the English language and can do so via citizenship, prior academic degree conferral, and/or an English language proficiency exam.
If English is not your native language, and you have not earned a university degree in an English-speaking country, you are required to submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Candidates who elect to take and submit an IELTS score when applying to Johnson may submit scores from either the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training exams.
For entry into a residential MBA program at Johnson, the admissions committee seeks applicants who report one of the following minimum scores:
100 Internet-based TOEFL (with a minimum score of 25 in each section)
7.0 band score IELTS (with a minimum score of 7.0 in the speaking and writing modules)
Applicants who meet or exceed the minimum TOEFL score requirement but have scores of 25 or less in one or more sections may submit their score for admissions consideration; candidates offered admission may be required to complete the English for International Students and Scholars (EISS) summer program prior to enrolling in the MBA program.
The TOEFL program is launching the addition of MyBest scores to TOEFL iBT score reports beginning in August 2019. MyBest scores—sometimes generically called superscores—are the combination of an applicant’s best scores for each test section from all of their valid TOEFL scores in the last two years.
Johnson will not accept MyBest scores, as we do not superscore bands within the TOEFL.
All English language exam results remain valid for two years from the date they were taken. Your official score report must be valid at the time it is sent to Admissions as part of your application package prior to the posted application submission deadline. If your score is approaching expiration, be sure to submit your official report before it expires. Expired score reports (unofficial or official) received on or following the application submission deadline will require the submission of a valid score by retaking the exam.
An official copy of your score report must be sent to Admissions. You may submit an unofficial score report for review; however, before matriculating at Johnson we must have an official score report by the stated Deposit and Official Documentation Deadline for the round in which you applied. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the testing service directly and authorize the release of your official score report.
Use TOEFL institution code: 2098 and department code: 02
Score reports must be mailed by the testing agency directly to Admissions at the address below. Our IELTS account name is Cornell University Two-Year and One-Year Ithaca MBA.
Johnson at Cornell University
Office of Admissions & Financial Aid
114 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
A candidate may be considered exempt from submitting English language proficiency exam scores if one or more of the following criteria is met:
You are a native citizen of a country where English is the primary language—this includes citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or Canada. Applicants who are citizens of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, or Singapore, are not eligible for exemption.
You have earned a university degree from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or Canada.
You have earned a university degree from a non-English-speaking country and can provide official documentation that states the sole language of educational instruction was English. Documentation must be provided when submitting your application and should be uploaded in the transcript section.
Please note that residency and/or work experience does not constitute eligibility for English Language proficiency exam waiver.
In an effort to be fair and equitable to all candidates, requests for exceptions to the above waiver policy are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and infrequently approved. If you believe that there is an extenuating circumstance related to your eligibility for an English language proficiency exam waiver, email: email@example.com.
A nonrefundable $200 application fee is required in order to submit your application for any of Johnson’s residential MBA programs.
Application fees are non-refundable and all application fee waiver requests must be submitted no later than 12pm EST on the day of an application deadline. If requests are not made by the above timeline there is no guarantee the Admissions Office will be able to successfully process and apply the waiver to your application.
However, special circumstances may arise whereby an applicant will make a payment that should have been waived based on certain eligibility. If you feel that a refund is due, or you made a payment in error, please contact the Admissions Office to discuss the correction.
Application fee waivers are provided to candidates who meet the following criteria:
United States military service members and veterans