Cornell Johnson MBA Interview Experience.
Preparing for your Cornell Johnson MBA Interview.
Cornell Johnson MBA Interview Questions.


Invitation-Only Interviews.

Interviews at Cornell Johnson are ‘by invitation only,’ meaning that the Admissions Office extends invitations to selected applicants after reading their application – and only those invited applicants can schedule interviews.

Blind Interviews.

Cornell Johnson interviews are ‘blind,’ which means that your interviewer will not have seen your entire application before the interview – just your resume and some brief notes made by the person who reviewed your written application. Your interviewer will therefore not know your GMAT score or GPA (unless this information is on your resume or in the reviewers notes) or the content of your essays. This means that referencing anecdotes or examples that you used in other parts of your application is completely acceptable. Many of our past clients report that their Tuck interviewers limited the discussion primarily to topics pulled from their resume, with some deviation to touch on other subjects. In some cases, however, your interviewer may not have taken time to review your resume before your meeting, so be prepared to adjust accordingly and to provide a brief summary of your professional experience, in case he/she asks.

Where? Usually on-campus. Optionally via Skype.

Most Cornell Johnson interviews are conducted face-to-face on the school’s campus. While on campus for interview, applicants are encouraged ‘to make the most of your visit to campus and invite you to connect with current students, faculty, and staff during your time on campus’.

Although the location of your interview has no influence on your chances for admission, in-person interviews can sometimes feel more natural, with you and your interviewer sitting down together in a quiet space at the school to have a conversation about your candidacy. On-campus interviews also allow you to interact with students and admissions representatives during your visit.

The Admissions Committee has completed a preliminary review of your application materials and is pleased to invite you to schedule an interview as the next step in the admissions process. 

Our admissions interview has been carefully designed to create the opportunity for us to get to know you better.  Admissions interviews are conducted at Cornell’s Ithaca campus Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am – 4:15 pm.  In addition to completing your interview, we encourage you to make the most of your visit to campus and invite you to connect with current students, faculty, and staff during your time on campus.  Please visit our Admissions Events page to learn more about our daily information sessions, class visit program, and weekly Sage Social gatherings. 

Cornell Johnson also offers Skype interviews via its online interview scheduling platform. These interviews generally follow the same format as the other types of interviews the school offers, but some candidates may have difficulty establishing a connection with their interviewer when they are not physically face-to-face. If you do a Skype interview, treat it exactly as you would an in-person interview. Find a quiet place with are liable connection, remove any possible distractions, and dress the part!

With Whom? Admissions officers or current students.

At Cornell Johnson you’ll either be interviewed by an admissions officer or a specially-trained second-year MBA student. These students have been selected and trained by the school’s admissions officers to interview candidates on the committee’s behalf. Occasionally clients have reported being interviewed by an admissions officer with a second-year MBA student looking on for training purposes.

Cornell Johnson MBA Interview Experience.

Clients who interviewed with Cornell Johnson in the past few years consistently described their interview experience with the school as ‘nice, ‘friendly,’ and ‘warm.’ Cornell Johnson is not interested in putting candidates on the spot or trying to stump them, but rather in making sure that applicants have a solid grasp of the ways the MBA program would benefit them and how they would fit with the school’s community. The interview is also a good opportunity for the applicant to ask questions about the program and the Cornell Johnson community. Here is a sample of what past clients have told us about their interview experience at Cornell Johnson:

The admissions officer came to the interview with a copy of my resume. Another member of the admissions committee had reviewed my application and created a short list of relevant questions or conversation points that was provided to Nichole. The interview was more straight-forward questions and answers as opposed to entirely conversational. She seemed to take more notes when I spoke about specific examples from my career. It looks like along list of questions, but we covered everything in about half an hour.

The interviewer said at the beginning that he prefers to have casual discussions more than formal interview sessions.  It is a blind interview so he has no previous knowledge of the application and only has the resume and a previous reader’s comments/questions.  He took brief notes during the interview and said he would write up a 2-3 page summary after the interview that he would use when the committee meets in a few weeks to make decisions.

The admissions officer came to the interview with my resume. She was informal and polite. The whole interview consisted of the usual questions – nothing surprising. It was a pleasant experience, but I left with no sense of whether she would recommend me or not.

Preparing for your Cornell Johnson MBA Interview.

Although the focus and style of Cornell Johnson’s admissions interviews can vary, you should expect to be asked about your personal, professional, and academic experiences and could receive questions meant to reveal your knowledge about the school.

Cornell Johnson interviews typically start with a career-oriented, open-ended question or prompt, such as ‘Tell me about your industry.’ or ‘Tell me about your current company.’ This is your chance to briefly introduce yourself, both personally and professionally.

The interviews at Cornell Johnson often include career goals questions or prompts, such as ‘What do you want to do after your MBA?’

Another constant at Cornell Johnson is school-specific questions. These could include ‘Why do you want to come to Johnson?’ or ‘What are you looking forward to at Johnson?’ If you are not ready to answer these types of questions in detail, you must invest the time necessary to get to know Cornell Johnson thoroughly and to identify the programs, centers, clubs, classes, professors, extracurricular opportunities, and other resources it offers that relate directly to your plans and your personality.

Mock interviews can be particularly helpful way to prepare for your interview. Try using a timer to get a sense of how long you typically take to answer each question, and practice in front of a mirror. Don’t want to go it alone? Learn more about my Mock Interview Service here.

Listen to an excerpt from a mock interview. Question: Why an MBA?

Cornell Johnson MBA Interview Questions.

Although you can never be certain which questions you will receive, and questions will undoubtedly vary to some degree, these samples serve to illustrate how a Cornell Johnson interview is likely to progress.

Cornell Johnson Mock Interview 1.
  1. Why an MBA?
  2. What are your career goals?
  3. Why consulting?
  4. How would Johnson help?
  5. What clubs do you see yourself getting involved in?
  6. What type of leadership roles would you want in those clubs?
  7. Tell me about a time you were a leader.
  8. What is an example of you being a team player?
  9. What is your role in your organization?
  10. What other programs are you applying to? Why?
  11. What is it about finance that you don’t like?
  12. What have you done to connect with Cornell students?
  13. Have you reached out to any current students?
Cornell Johnson Mock Interview 2.
  1. What is something you would like to share that is not already on your resume?
  2. What is your day-to-day like? How is your team made up?
  3. Have you had an opportunity to be innovative or make decisions on your own?
  4. Why not Dartmouth? I hear Hanover is also a great place to live.
  5. What do you plan to do while at Cornell? 
  6. Since you are already in a Consulting role, why do you want to come to Johnson just to do Consulting again?
  7. What other schools are you applying to? Why did you select these, other than clearly wanting to be in New York?
Cornell Johnson Mock Interview 3.
  1. Tell me about experience(s) in your career where you’ve handled responsibility
  2. How would colleagues describe your leadership approach?
  3. What job are you seeking post-MBA? Why do you need an MBA to achieve these goals?
  4. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
  5. Do you like you current job? Why do you want to leave it?
  6. Give me an example of one time when you were taken outside of your ‘comfort zone’.
  7. To which other schools are you applying?
  8. Do you have any questions for me?
Cornell Johnson Mock Interview 4.
  1. Tell me why you chose the college major you did.
  2. Why MBA? Why now?
  3. Why consulting?
  4. What’s the best part of your job?
  5. Tell me about a leadership experience.
  6. Why Johnson?
  7. What other schools did you apply to?
  8. How would your coworkers describe you?
  9. Tell me where you see your current industry in 10 years.
  10. How have you prepared for the heavy quantitative emphasis at Johnson?
  11. What would you bring to the Johnson community?
  12. How would you be involved with outside class?
  13. Is there anything you would like to add?
Cornell Johnson Mock Interview 5.
  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why an MBA now?
  3. Why Johnson?
  4. How would you define a leader?
  5. Give me an example of when you were a leader
  6. Tell me about a conflict you faced in the workplace?
  7. If I called your supervisor, what would he/she say about you professionally and personally?
  8. How would you contribute to our community? 
  9. Is there anything you would like me to tell the admissions committee?
  10. Do you have any questions for me?
Cornell Johnson Mock Interview 6.
  1. Walk me through your resume.
  2. What do you do at your work?
  3. Why an MBA?
  4. Why Now?
  5. Why Johnson?
  6. How would your friends describe you?
  7. What are your weaknesses?  What would your friends say your weaknesses are?
  8. Describe a time when you took on a leadership role at work.
  9. Describe a time when you had to influence others to do something at work.  You changed their initial thoughts or approach to a problem.
  10. If I could tell the Admissions Committee just one thing about you what would you want me to say?
  11. The admissions committee reviewed your file and commented that your GMAT score is a little low compared to our other applicants, and that you don’t show a lot of quant work at your current job position.  How will you prepare for the tough workload at Johnson?  The quant classes might be hard for you.
  12. Do you have any questions for me?

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