Big Curriculum Changes at Cornell’s Johnson School

by on May 10th, 2014

For the first time in ten years, Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management has completely revamped the core MBA curriculum in order to better prepare students for the challenges of today’s business landscape.

According to a recent article in the Cornell Business Journal, a three-year survey of students, alumni, and employers has lead to the development of a new core that will place greater emphasis on leadership, modeling and analytics, and better preparation for internship interviews. The program will also adjust the timing of certain courses to help alleviate the load on students during the intense recruiting period.

Starting this fall, the way Johnson teaches leadership will change significantly. The school will now have a solid two-year plan for leadership development that begins with Leading Teams in August prior to the first year, Critical and Strategic Thinking in the second half of fall semester, and Principled Leadership in the first half of fall in each student’s second year at Johnson, the school reveals.

Meanwhile, professor Bill Schmidt will led a course tentatively titled Data Analytics and Modeling, which emphasizes the modeling skills that alumni and recruiters consistently ask for.

Students and alumni surveyed complained about the course load during the heavy internship recruiting season, the Cornell Business Journal reports, and many recruiters noted that Johnson students were under-prepared for their interviews.

Because business school recruiting has changed quite a bit over the last decade, and now takes place much closer to the beginning of the year, Johnson “acknowledges that the core has to work alongside recruiting,” says executive director of student services Amanda Shaw.

Credit hours in the fall semester will therefore drop from 7.5 to 6.5, and the Critical and Strategic Thinking course will take place in the fall semester so that students have the qualitative thinking skills they need for interviews.

Meanwhile, the length of core courses in the spring semester will shorten, and core classes won’t take place the first two or last two weeks of the semester to provide more time for recruiting and end of semester projects, Johnson explains.

On the admissions front, director of admissions and financial aid Christine Sneva promises a new experience with this year’s application for the two-year and one-year Ithaca MBA program. The new application, Sneva says, will focus on your professional profile with capability to sync to your LinkedIn account, and allow more innovation in telling your own story. The launch date is a few months out, but we’ll share the details here as soon as they become available.


If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more.

Ask a Question or Leave a Reply

The author Stacy Blackman gets email notifications for all questions or replies to this post.

Some HTML allowed. Keep your comments above the belt or risk having them deleted. Signup for a Gravatar to have your pictures show up by your comment.