Two-Year MBA Leadership Opportunities

A crucial part of our leadership development program involves putting principles into practice. Opportunities include:

three students at table with laptop and coffee

Johnson Core Team Practicum

It All Begins Here

The Core Team Practicum gives Johnson students a structured opportunity to lead—and contribute to—high-performing teams as soon as they arrive in Ithaca. The practicum places every incoming student on a core team, with whom they complete every group assignment across Johnson’s initial core curriculum. Each team member leads at least one major assignment, and receives feedback from the team afterwards on his/her leadership efforts.  There are then opportunities for the team leader to receive coaching on that feedback, allowing the team leader to reflect on how to use that feedback to further develop as a leader.

Group of students blind folded standing on two boards holding ropes.

Johnson Outdoor Experience (J.O.E.)

Orientation Retreat

The Johnson Outdoor Experience (J.O.E.) is an orientation retreat in the beautiful Finger Lakes region, held each year for new first-year students in the residential two-year MBA program. The retreat is a chance for your class to come together as a community, and features hands-on leadership training. This includes team-building challenges that you and your core team members will take turns leading. Second-year MBA students have the opportunity to serve as J.O.E. facilitators.

Instructor writing list on large notepad

Leadership Skills Program

Real, Hands-On Learning

We offer supplemental half-day and whole-day workshops throughout the academic year to enhance and accelerate your leadership development. The sessions complement our leadership curriculum and offer you practical tools and hands-on, interactive training in core leadership competencies.

Leadership Skills Program
Students on an expedition to Patagonia posing in front of mountains and a lake

Leadership Expeditions and Excursions

Leadership Expeditions and excursions are a chance for students to focus full-time on their leadership development off-campus. Expeditions are longer trips, such as hiking and backpacking in Patagonia and scuba diving in the Bahamas, while excursions are shorter, and include a weekend canoeing trip in the Adirondacks and military training at the United States Marine Corps Base Quantico. These experiences are designed to give students the opportunity to go through the Johnson leadership learning cycle of instruction, experience, and review multiple times in an intensive, condensed time frame.

Leadership Expeditions and Excursions
Leading a Student Organization

Leading a Student Organization

Your Chance to Make a Difference

There is a remarkable range of leadership opportunities available on campus—students can lead one or more of Johnson’s 70+ student organizations. These positions give students the chance to explore different leadership styles and strategies and the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the school.

Johnson Leadership Fellows group photo

Johnson Leadership Fellows

Coach and Mentor First-Year Students

The Johnson Leadership Fellows program is an experiential leadership opportunity for second-year MBA students in the full-time program. Leadership Fellows are nominated by the faculty and are selected based on an application and interview process, as well as academic and leadership performance. Each Leadership Fellow is assigned a Core Team of first-year MBA students whom they coach, mentor, and advise throughout the fall core curriculum.


Johnson Board Fellowship

Intensive Nonprofit Leadership Experience

The Johnson Board Fellowship program places second-year Johnson MBA students on Ithaca-area nonprofit boards for one-year appointments. Johnson Board Fellows gain board leadership experience, serve the local community, and execute projects for the organizations they serve. The program is entirely student-run, and Fellows are selected in the spring of their first year. The Johnson Board Fellowship has been featured in US News and World Report  and has been honored with the prestigious Town-Gown (TOGO) Award by the Cornell University President for its outstanding contributions to the relationship between Cornell and the broader Ithaca community.

Park Leadership Fellows

Park Leadership Fellows

Full-tuition Fellowships

The Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program was established in 1997 and is funded by the Triad Foundation (Roy H. Park and the Triad Foundation). The Program was founded on a leadership theme that emphasizes the development of leadership skills and offers up to 25 Johnson students a two-year, full-tuition fellowship award (you must be a U.S. citizen to apply).

Park Leadership Fellows
Student competition winners posing with a check

Leadership Crisis Challenge

The annual Leadership Crisis Challenge is an intensive, two-day case competition that tests students’ ability to lead during an escalating corporate crisis. Students compete in teams of their choosing and face emerging information, plot twists, concerned board members, and a sometimes hostile press in this extremely popular immersive experience. This competition prepares students to think on their feet in a world of ever increasing change.

Participants of Leading Teams Case Competition 2014

Leading Teams Case Competition

A capstone event for the Leading Teams core course

Core Teams are put to the test in this time-pressured competition that serves as the capstone for the Leading Teams core curriculum course during pre-term. The competition and class are designed to provide students with training and experience in leading and contributing to high-performing teams. Teams that make it to the finals vie for first place answering rigorous questions from a mock company board before an audience of approximately 275 people.

Nikhil Nair, MBA ’16

"My core team journey informed my Johnson experience in a big way. My team members inspired me to be a better leader and a better human being. I can split my leadership development in life into 'before core team' and 'after core team."

Nikhil Nair, MBA ’16
Safiya Miller

"One of the most rewarding and challenging leadership development experiences I've had at Johnson was being the Chair of the Student Council. As Chair I've seen how challenging peer leadership is when you lack any true 'authority' to galvanize a team of volunteers. Over time, I've learned that when you identify what motivates individual members of a team and align expectations, the sky is the limit."

Safiya Miller, MBA ’15
Jose Gaztambide

"Johnson has been a transformative leadership experience for me. Students should take advantage of the school’s leadership opportunities because they’re a chance to push yourself out of your comfort zone and turn your time at Johnson into an empowering experience."

Jose Gaztambide, MBA ’13
Liz Riley

"When I went on the Leadership Expedition to Patagonia, the most rewarding aspect of the trip was discovering capabilities we didn’t even realize we had. We were all pushed to new limits and it was amazing to see what people were able to do."

Liz Riley, MBA ‘13