The Cornell EMBA Blew Us Away—Catch The Interview

by , Jan 23, 2023

cornell image

Beat the GMAT recently had the opportunity to connect with Dean Mark W. Nelson and Dr. Manoj Thomas from Ivy League Cornell SC Johnson School of Business.

We dove into the surprisingly diverse Cornell EMBA programs, and we're extremely impressed by its innovative Distributed Classroom EMBA concept with satellite micro-campuses all over the US.

The Cornell EMBA might just be the perfect fit for you. Read on, or listen to the full interview below.

Links Mentioned

Cornell Johnson Graduate School Management

Queens University

Tsinghua University

Weill Cornell Medicine

Cornell Tech

Intermediate Accounting

E. Cornell Certificate Program

Why People (Don’t) Buy: The Go and Stop Signals

Transcript

Beat the GMAT

All right, welcome everyone. And to those listening to this podcast interview, we're in for a real treat today. We're gonna have a chance to discuss an increasingly more important degree in the business world, the EMBA, with two heavyweights at Cornell SC Johnson and Ivy League MBA program, and one of the leading programs in the world and first, I'd like to introduce you to Mark W. Nelson who is the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean at Cornell Johnson Graduate School Management in Cornell's SC Johnson College of Business and a professor of accounting. Dean Nelson is responsible for not just one of Cornell Johnson's MBA programs, but three residential MBA programs four executive MBA programs, and two master of professional studies programs. In that role, he oversees the research and teaching of Johnson's faculty and the activities of Johnson staff in both Ithaca and New York City, as well as partnerships with Queens University, Tsinghua University, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Cornell Tech. Dean Nelson has responsibilities relative to the overall activities of the college as well, as to various research centers and institutes. And as a professor Dean Nelson's teaching is focused on intermediate financial accounting and financial reporting as well as judgment and decision-making in accounting. He's received 10 teaching awards at Cornell and Ohio State including the American Accounting Associations Inaugural Cook Prize for Graduate Teaching Excellence. He's also a co-author of a textbook published by McGraw-Hill found in syllabi and universities across the United States Intermediate Accounting and that's in addition to the extensive list of publications, he can be found in and the countless number of conferences and discussion panels he's participated in. Dean Nelson. Thank you for joining us today.

Mark

Thanks for letting me be here, Justin. And thanks for saying all those very nice things.

Beat the GMAT

It's impressive. I'm glad I had the opportunity to share it and thank you for your time today as well. And if that weren't enough, we're also joined by Dr. Manoj Thomas, the Nakashimato Professor of Marketing and the Senior Director of Executive MBA, and Master of Science, and Business Analytics Programs. Specifically, Dr. Thomas is a behavioral scientist who trains MBA students and executives to be customer-centric leaders and encourages them to build meaningful and purposeful connections with customers. Something that strikes me as particularly relevant today. Thomas has received the Apple Award and the Stephen Russell Family Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching. His lectures on consumer insights are available online through E. Cornell Certificate Program and Consumer Behavior and we can provide a link to those in the event notes today. So for any of our attendees who would like to listen, they can have an opportunity to listen to Dr. Thomas in action. Dr. Thomas has published several research papers on the psychology of price evaluations and has documented fascinating irrational human behaviors such as the left-digit effect, the price precision effect, and the mode of payment effect. Dr. Thomas is also demonstrated the pervasive influence on heuristics and biases in human price evaluations and I actually plan to dig into those consumer behavior reports myself after this pane so I'll be checking those out. He's also studied how political identity and moral beliefs can influence consumer behavior, and as research explains why some consumers consider conspicuous consumption amoral while others happily engage in such consumption. Dr. Thomas is also the co-author of the book Why People (Don’t) Buy: The Go and Stop Signals and will provide a link to that book in the event notes as well. He's also an associate editor for the Journal of Marketing Research and the Journal of Consumer Research, Dr. Thomas, thank you so much for joining us today as well.

Manoj 

Thank you, Justin delighted to be here.

Beat the GMAT

And with that, let's go ahead and get started, Nelson and Dr. Thomas really is a treat and an honor to meet with both of you today and to discuss Cornell's the EMBA and the EMBA in general. I like to focus our discussion on the EMBA and really specifically Cornell's impressive and increasingly important place within the EMBA landscape. So first, let's introduce our listeners to the current scale and scope of the Cornell EMBA program. Dean Nelson, if I may begin with you and Dr. Thomas if you'd like to follow up, please do. Can you give us a sense of the size of Cornell’s EMBA program?

Mark

I'm happy to Justin. It's it's actually quite impressive. So there's an entity called EMBAC, the Executive MBA Council. That's an independent body that regularly surveys, EMBA programs around the world and that provides some good insight into the role of size of what different universities are offering. In the 2022 EMBAC survey, around 125 US schools reported details of class size and program features and in that survey, there were actually seven business schools in the United States that admitted more than 200 students in 2021 and they’re Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke Sloan, UCLA, and Wharton, alphabetized, and among them with around 430 new enrollments in across the four different versions of our EMBA program, Cornell had the largest EMBA cohort in 2021. 

Beat the GMAT

Wow.

Mark

So yeah, I mean, in addition to what we have going on from our residential MBA perspective and the executive MBA space, we're really quite a large player.

Beat the GMAT

Wow, that's impressive. And Dr. Thomas if you from your perspective as well, you know the sense of the the scale is probably about profound I would imagine

Manoj

Yes, it is Justin. I just want to add to what Mark said that I was presenting this to a group of our executive MBA student the other day, and they wanted me to clarify that. It's not that. we admit 430 students in any one program where we accept all students is that, because we have four programs therefore, we have the scale. And I think the scale is meaningful in a couple of ways. One, as Mark like emphasize we have the bench strength. So, we are learning each program, each new program and the advantage of learning from the previous program, learning from a mistakes learning, learning the things that work and therefore, kind of making each program perfect, as we launch a new program. So I think that's what size comes into play. And helps us create new better programs.

Beat the GMAT

That's pretty remarkable. So it's not just a static program. It's a dynamic and evolving program as a whole and see and let's sort of introduce our listeners to those programs. You mentioned that there are four programs. So first, let me confirm how many programs Cornell currently offers, and then also specifically what are those programs?

Manoj

Yeah, I'm happy to take that. We currently have four programs. We began in 1999 with an executive MBA program based in New York City. It currently operates out of our state-of-the-art, Cornell Tech Campus. I'm sure my colleague Mark would have to say a lot of good things about Cornell Tech. And so this is if you are based in the Tri-State area, and if you really care about being part of the New York City network, then this is a program for you. It's an in-person program, it meets weekend and it's operates out of our New York City campus. In 2005, we introduced a new program which I think was way ahead of it's time at that point. So today many peer schools are talking about online executive MBA program. But we offered our first, we wouldn't, we don't call it online because it's not a purely, an online program. We referred to as the Distributed Classroom EMBA Program. So, the motivation for the second program was to take our well received EMBA curriculum to people in Bay Area in Seattle and Texas. People in Canada and to folks in Mexico and Peru, and Chile. So we created this new innovative program where we have this small distributed classrooms. In 26 cities around North and South America. And students go into these classrooms every alternate weekends. And they are in person. They are learning from each other. It's a it's a very interactive program but the faculty is interacting with them from a studio. 

Beat the GMAT

Wow.

Manoj

Essentially, look at the studio, which is either here at Cornell or at our partner university in Kingston in Queens, in Canada. So that's the second program which I think was way ahead of its time and I think I'm very very happy and proud that we've kind of perfected the technology before the popularity of distance education that's happened in the recent past, both the pandemic.

Beat the GMAT

Without question, that's astounding.

Manoj

Thank you. The third program that we introduced was in 2017 and that, again, I think was somewhat foresight for, and we were trying to stay ahead of the curve, keeping in mind, the needs of the population. As you all know, one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, where there is a lot of demand for professional management and leadership skills is the healthcare industry. So we decided to offer an executive MBA program that is targeted for people who are in the health care industry. And we partnered with our sister institution, the Weill Medical School, which is one of as you might know, is one of the most reputed medical institutions and we offer an executive MBA/Masters in Science degree. The MBA come from our business school and the Masters in Science degree come from faculty from the Weill Cornell College of Medicine. And so this program is jointly taught by business school faculty and medical school faculty to professionals, who are both, you know, clinicians, physicians, surgeons as well as people working in the healthcare industry. As far as I know, this is the only program which is jointly taught by faculty from business school and medical school. Many other peer schools do have healthcare specialization but the program typically is taught by the business school faculty. So that's kind of the unique aspect of our healthcare program. We also have another program which primarily is based for people who are based in Asia in China. We have a partnership with the Tsinghua University and for people interested in majoring in Finance MBA, we have a Cornell Tsinghua at World Degree Program. They can an MBA from the Tsinghua University, and they also get an MBA from from Cornell University and it's a dual, it's offered in Mandarin and English, it's a bilingual program. Again another unique feature of that MBA program. So these are the four EMBA programs that we offer. And each of them is tailored for a specific population of a specific segment of people who want to do an MBA.

Beat the GMAT

That’s really impressive. I mean, it's such a wide array of programs that covers the the full spectrum from the traditional EMBA, to specific programs in healthcare. And really, it's international finance. I want to circle back to the distributed MBA classroom concept, which really is a I mean, the COVID pandemic clearly put in an emphasis on the need for institutions to develop such programs, but you were ahead of the time by developing one years before the pandemic. What particularly caught my attention is it's not just a Zoom, you know, school as you pointed out. But a really what's it's a sort of a hybrid. Almost you can think of it as a satellite micro-campus program that has digital class, you know, teaching class instructional content. And I'd like to actually learn a little bit more from your perspective about that program specifically, so if you could both Dean Nelson and Dr. Thomas if you could tell us a little bit more about Cornell's role in creating that program and what it would be like or what the program is like for students in that program.

Mark

Sure, Justin, I can go ahead and start and then and then Manoj can jump in. So, first off, this is a program that we began as a partnership with Queen's University in Canada and I have to give credit where credit's due. They had started a program there where they were taking advantage of technology that that frankly you know, they had to create themselves. We're you go back to 2005 and Zoom had been created yet, right? 

Beat the GMAT

Right.

Mark

I mean people were used to, I mean people were used to synchronously interacting across distance and teaching and the brilliant insight here and my colleague mentioned to this briefly, but let me just really highlight. It was that you don't lose the magic of face-to-face interaction and having colleagues in the same room being able to work together that way, while still being able to get an Ivy League EMBA. In on a 20 cities throughout the Americas. And the way that happens is, so first off, we have facilities that we and our partner have invested in in all of these cities we call them Boardrooms, where groups of students go to attend class, and they are synchronously live interacting with a faculty member in Ithaca, or in Kingston. Now, the faculty member, imagine a state of the art production studio where the faculty member is behind the, they have a desk but it's a pretty high tech desk and they are looking at a huge screen in front of them up on the wall in that screen, are all the students in all of these boardrooms that they're that they're teaching at that time. And the actually have a controller in a control room, there's someone else. Who is helping the faculty member handle all the resources available to the faculty member. So, if I want to have someone in Lima, speak with someone in Monterey Mexico and have them debate a topic, right? I can do that. If I want to ask Toronto, to comment on what the Bay Area boardroom has has just produced as a group, a result, I can do that. And when I want to call in an individual, the controller can pop up on my screen, everything that individuals involved in and sort of their, you know, you're always threatened with your permanent record right there.

Beat the GMAT

Right.

Mark

You get to see bio and background of that particular student. So it isn't only replicating, the the face-to-face aspect or the live interactive aspect that a professor has it's actually augmenting what the professor has available. Another aspect of it that I think is pretty unique is is something that is is somewhat applicable to EMBAs in general. But in this program even more so. An amazing aspect of an EMBA is that what you're learning on Saturday or Sunday, you're then turning around and applying in your job on Monday. And it stress tests what's happening in the classroom on an ongoing basis and and it enables the faculty member to draw on the particular challenges that students are facing and then students to come back and and report on how concepts are actually being applied in practice. It's a very live and and applicable approach. What's amazing about it, this distributed model, is that I can have students who are in a whole bunch of different contexts right now, and they can be applying the same ideas in different circumstances and it turns out that how something is operationalized in Santiago Chile might be fairly different from how it is operationalized in Washington DC or Dallas Texas, or Seattle, and people can be talking about what's they're facing in their industry as well as their region and they're able to to bring that diversity to bear once again live now and it's tremendously powerful. Something related to this that I'd like to circle back to was Justin, you started off sort of talking about the bredth and the size of our program and why that might be valuable. To me at least one of the things that's key in the EMBA program is that you learn to draw out of the audience, what they're working on now because these people have an average of 15 years of work experience. They're already leaders.

Beat the GMAT

Right.

Mark

They're already strong. And you're just accelerating their career and steepening their trajectory, but you have a huge amount to draw on. And that's something really special about an EMBA program. But frankly, it's it takes work to learn how to do. So, if an institution has invested significantly in their EMBA, programming they've invested in faculty who are really good, and

Beat the GMAT

Mm-hmm.

Mark

helping these seasoned executives learn and learn from each other. And with the distributed model, you've got that much more to work with, because you've got that much more context to draw upon. Sorry for a long winded answer, but I hope.

Beat the GMAT

No, I'm glad you did because it's it really strikes me as such a profoundly important new modality of learning, that it deserves that that added sort of color. And you know, I am actually just sort of personally curious how significant a role you think the distributed MBA classroom concept plays, not just a Cornell, but in the future of higher education,

Mark

Well, I'll start, but I'll turn to Manoj too because I'm sure he has a perspective. I feel like more and more schools are recognizing post-COVID that there are ways to interact with people over distance that we didn't appreciate previously. We previously thought of a premier program, is something that was defined geographically. In very, very specific sort of, you had to be at your campus right now to be in that program and what the last few years have taught us is that we can accomplish a lot over distance and what we found is that people around the country around the world would love an Ivy League, Cornell degree but but they can't bridge that distance physically. So the distributed model allows you to do that. At the same time what it does is it addresses a huge weakness that we've all experienced over the past few years, which is that you can fill isolated if you're only interacting with people on Zoom,

Beat the GMAT

Right.

Mark

And so people want to have that human contact, but they also want to to gain access to expertise, that might be far away from where they are physically and the distributed model, it recognizes that balance. I think there's going to be more of this, but frankly, I think many of our competitors are still trying to catch up to this because it requires that you've made the investment in these physical locations. And, and the pedagogy, that allows you to take advantage of the of the whole system.

Beat the GMAT

Right. Yeah, and Dr. Thomas as well, if you have any thoughts or insights on the on the the implications of the distributed MBA classroom concept or just the distributed model as a whole, I'm curious as well.

Manoj

I'm happy to add to what Mark said. I in fact, today morning, I was teaching a group of EMBA students and the topic I was discussing was how important the environment or the, the ecology plays an important role in either facilitating or inhibiting innovations, and what we all saw was a big shock in our ecology with the pandemic. If you had talked to somebody in 2016 and if an employee had gone and told the employer that I'd like to work from home and most of us would like to work from home. The employers respond, what I did. No, I don't think you can work from home because it's probably going to adversely affect productivity. But we were also, many of us, like big chunk of the economy where forced to work from home because of the pandemic. And when that happened, the employer is realized that actually productivity productively instead going down has either remained the same or gone up but cost definitely have gone down. And now people have gotten used to working from home and it's becoming norm in many industries. And when that happens, the inevitable question is, What else can we do with this modality being at home? And obviously the quite  it asks the question, can we study from home? So that's what the ecological environment is signaling that. Okay, the market is kind of ready, the people are now ready to study from home. But those of us who've been in this business of MBA education, we know that it's challenging to just create a pure online MBA. Because MBA is not like a Masters in Engineering or Masters in Computer Science. You can't just read the book or take notes from a lecture and learn. The learning, it's a transformative experience. You transform yourself as an individual and that transformation experience happens when you engage with peers and there's a lot of learning from engaging with peers. So you have these two things. One is the market is kind of tilting or the ecology and the environment is tilting towards online or distance delivery. Whereas the MBA curriculum, is in a sense and highly interactive curriculum. So, how do you bring these two things together and deliver an innovation? And I think that's where we were fortunate thanks to our partners, Queens, to start this in 2005 where we said look, we can actually keep and not only keep we can augment the interactive nature of the curriculum and yet deliver our education using across long distances, right? So I think many of our peers now are responding to the market need. I'm not quite sure whether they understand or appreciate how difficult it is to teach without creating these distributed classrooms and without creating specific pedagogical tools to maintain and augment the interactive nature of the MBA classroom.

Beat the GMAT

It's yeah, thank you for both for for adding to our understanding of the concept. It's an area that fascinates me. The need is obvious and not only is this an area that is likely to continue to be more important to higher education, but just the fact that you and Queens were looking at this as early as 2005 is just truly astounding. So, thank you both for adding that clarity. Dean Nelson and Dr. Thomas, I'm also curious shifting back to Cornell specific information for listeners. Can you each, please tell us a little bit more about what makes the Cornell Executive MBA program different from other EMBA programs?

Mark

Hmm, I can go ahead and start. There are a few aspects that I just think are fundamental. We talked about the portfolio of these four programs already and how how they're capturing distinctive features. I think it's important to understand that it's evolving over time right? So the idea of a distributed learning pedagogy taking advantage of technology in an early time. The idea of having a program that is at the intersection of business and healthcare at a time when the importance of of efficient and effective health care has never been clearer to the world. So that sort of evolution programmatically I think is key. And of course, the programs are evolving in and of themselves, you know we the involvement of students in ESG related content, right? Where we're thinking about social responsibility. We're thinking about environment, thinking about governance in viewing that sort of really important current topical information is key. The idea of bringing in technology of, I’ll mention in a sec, a particular way to do that but making sure that we're providing our students with tools that they need as business leaders, as people who are commanding organizations, I think that's key. But something that I think is is maybe really unique is, is the team-based pedagogy that we have in place. We've hinted at that when we've talked about the importance of groups and boardrooms in the Americas program. But more generally something that we realized pretty early on was that we have executives in these programs that are managing teams, managing groups and they need to be able to operate extremely effectively in that format that, you know, business is a team sport. You don't really do things in isolation typically in any organization of any size. So that means that you need to have your program first off, doing a very careful assessment of your capabilities. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? second off, have you doing a variety of team-based work in addition to individual work, and working with professional coaches, professional individuals who understand team dynamics and understand what makes an individual capable in that format. And then are providing you with feedback and giving the opportunities to grow. Too often what programs will do is to say, well, we work on teamwork. How do you do that? We put people in teams and then we say, give us an answer. And that's having people working teams. That's not developing them intentionally individually developing their ability. And so that hallmark of each of these programs in there, in, on particular way, addressing that, that sort of capability. And I think, you know, I guess one other thing that I'll mention, that's that's pretty unique. We've talked about the importance of people being able to interact face-to-face as well as potentially over distance. One thing, that all these programs do is they have residential sessions where they come to Ithaca, or they come to the Cornell Tech campus and in the context, of those rest sessions, they're taking advantage of everything that Cornell has to offer. Something that's truly unique that no other university has is the Cornell Tech campus. And, and let me just give you just Little bit of background on that. It it turns out that in 2008, I believe it was then Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, created a competition. He had seen that on the West Coast there was some economic development that was emerging out of the partnership of universities with local economies. And he was looking at New York City and wanting to diversify the economy there. And so he said, Listen, I'm gonna invite all the universities in the world to compete, to create a brand new campus in the heart of New York City. And I'm going to give the land and give some money, but you have to come forward with proposals and compete for this, right? And it was hard fought, but in the end, Cornell won the competition. And what we did was to create on Roosevelt Island. So we're talking in Manhattan to create a new university campus that was specifically constructed for the digital economy. That was focused on technology, on idea generation, on business generation, but that's all digital in nature. And so we did we built a campus that has its own residence hall, its own hotel exit conference center and something called the Todd Innovation Center, which has classrooms and co-location space with businesses. And we are our college has space in the Todd Innovation Center. We have two of our programs, our Health Care Leadership program and our Metro EMBA program, both of those are actually based in the Todd Innovation Center. And all of our students, and all of our EMBA programs have residential experiences where they're at the Cornell Tech campus. So not only are they at, you know, the Ithica campus, which is an amazing intellectual powerhouse but they're also at this brand new, stunningly beautiful, and forward looking campus in the heart, in New York City,

Beat the GMAT

Wow.

Mark

And that's unique. I mean, it's wonderful, that Cornell has the rich history that it has. But imagine just start with a blanks piece of paper and say, build a new campus, the future. That's what Cornell tech is. And our students, get the best of both worlds.

Beat the GMAT

Well, it's amazing. I'm curious to learn a little bit more about that myself and we'll provide links for those who are curious to learn a little bit more about the campus in our meeting notes as well. Dr. Thomas, if you have anything to add to that specific question, which was in your in your view, what makes the Cornell Executive MBA program different from other EMBA programs?

Manoj

Yeah, I'm happy to. I think Mark covered a lot of those issues. I'm happy to reiterate. So. if you ask, which is the most innovative executive MBA program, I'm, of course biased but if I look around, I would say probably the Cornell EMBA program is the most innovative, amongst at least the most innovative ones. Why? Because we started the distributed education program, distributed, EMBA concept In 2005. We were the first to offer, we are the first to offer a joint degree in Masters in Science and MBA for healthcare professionals. And I think very recently this year, I'll just add to this list. We are now started, we have now started offering asynchronous certificates to our EMBA students to specialize in specific areas. So if you are graduating with the Cornell EMBA, and let's say you want to have a certificate in data science, we are offering them the opportunity partnering with E-Cornell, who is part of the Cornell University, we offer them six courses that they can take in addition to their MBA curriculum so they can graduate with an MBA from Cornell plus a Certificate in data science. It could be it's certificate in hospitality, or a certificate and leadership or a certificate in behavioral science, depending on what they want to specialize in. So, in doing so we're basically responding to the need for greater specialization in the EMBA space. If you put all of these things together, I think we can, it's safe to claim that we are one of the most innovative programs in the country. The second thing that makes us unique, as Mark against pointed out is our team-based learning. Almost all MBAs and almost all executive MBAs, have team-based learning. But we have been fine tuning and making changes and learning with a lot of bruises and pains, mistakes, we have learned how to optimize team-based learning, it's not just having a team assignment. We've invested in the infrastructure, we have adapted our pedagogy and it's based on the fundamental premise that when executives with 15 years of experience enroll for an MBA program, they are looking for more than specific skills to read the P&L statements or how to market a product or or how to run a regression. All of those are important but they're looking for a transformative experience. And one of the ways to create this transformative experience is through a very rich integrated team-based program and I think we've been pretty good at doing that. I would say again that's one thing that makes us unique.

Beat the GMAT

Yeah, as you mentioned, the list is extensive and I think any program would be hard-pressed to match the totality of all the different points you've made, you mentioned that that separate Cornell from other programs currently it's really impressive. I'm also curious and this is, we've sort of hinted at this a few times in our discussion already, but let's give this some some time in the spotlight. Clearly we're in some evolving times, since the Covid-19 pandemic, began and the associated ongoing economic impact from Covid-19. The MBA landscape is evolving the EMBA landscape is evolving, Dr. Thomas Dean Nelson. Can you please tell us how the Cornell EMBA program curriculum and the program itself is continuing to evolve and what the future might look like.

Mark

Hmm, I'm happy to speak first and I guess let me talk about two aspects, and one I mentioned briefly is the idea of socially responsible and ethical leadership. It's pretty clear to most people now that businesses sole objective isn't to simply improve the bottom line and focus on your term price. It's important to be profitable so that you can achieve your mission and grow and sustain.  I say this as a proud accounting professor as well but that's not all. We have this broader idea of what a business's role is in society, and in the world and the many stakeholders that are involved. And when we look around and see problems of climate and social justice and income inequality, it's tempting to blame business. And my personal perspective is that business is actually the way most things get done, and therefore if you want to do is affect the world, a great way to do that is via business. And so if you have business leaders who know that they're joining a program and that program (Everybody's alarms are going off.) You're going to be joining a program that explicitly is saying we were about sustainable shared prosperity. We're about doing good in the world as well as as doing well individually. Those people know you're signing up for that experience. Then, they are going to be demanding coursework addressing topics like how to protect natural resources while pursuing growth, how to address societal concerns, how to build an inclusive, diverse workforce, and how to harness the power of diversity in a team and in a business who actually achieve out, you couldn't achieve if you weren't harvesting the power. All of that's just critically important now in the future and you have to as a business program, you have to be taking that perspective. And so we are looking to constantly improve our curriculum and what we're doing now more than ever before is is interjecting these asks of ESG into our curriculum broadly defined and I think that's just really, really key. Another aspect, I guess relates to the the changing landscape of business education more broadly. And that is that there are people that might be going on say a technical route early on in their career. Maybe they are working for a large tech company and based on their engineering skills or their coding skills. And a couple things happen with people like that. Number one, they get promoted to a point where they're not actually coding, they're running a business and they're managing people and they have budget responsibility and investment responsibility and marketing responsibility and they need those skill. So they're older than a traditional MBA student. They're very successful but now they really know what they don't know. They know, they have to get an EMBA credential to be able to continue along their route within organization. But others reach that point, and either of their own volition because the contraction in the economy, like we're experiencing now, they want to pivot, they want to go in. And they see an EMBA program as a way to change direction and to develop both the skills but also the certificate the acknowledgment of those skills. And also the network, the incredible network that Cornell brings to the table, to be able to enable them to make that change. And so when we're looking, you know, if we're looking near-term looking forward, we're seeing a contraction in the tech industry right now and those professionals frankly are looking to upskill and up credential, and to find new opportunities and the EMBA program is incredible way to do that. So I see this kind of program, if anything becoming more relevant, not less relevant in the future as the pattern of people's work life makes getting this kind of an update and increase in education and say their mid-thirties that much more attractive than it was five/ten years ago.

Beat the GMAT

Hmm. That's pretty, that's a really broad question that you answered so well, thank you for providing that insight on where we are in these times and the importance of degree going forward and how Cornell is evolving with that need. And Dr. Thomas as well, I'd like to give you the opportunity to touch on that as well.

Manoj

Thank you, Justin. I'll actually reiterate what Mark just said and actually possibly amplify and reiterate that if you look at the MBA Landscape and Executive MBA landscape, what are the two broad reactions that we are seeing. One is the societal response that A myopic profit-making attitude is looked down upon, right? So if an organization is considering is myopically seeking only profit then those such organizations are being looked down upon broadly in society. So that's putting pressure to groom business leaders who have broader societal responsibilities. So that's the first part. And the second part is I think organizations are realizing that we just, we need more than general management or overall broad leadership skills because the world has become more complex. So we need specific skills and data science, or specific skills and social media, etc. Right? Artificial intelligence. So I think the MBA world in general has to respond to both of these societal changes and we have to adapt curriculum. So in response to the first one as Mark just said we've integrating more curriculum on diversity, equity inclusion, and more generally how to make people more thoughtful leaders. So they can think of shared sustained prosperity, rather than myopic organizational profits. On the second front, well we need to hardness the leadership skills, we need to groom them as business leaders, but we also need to equip them with specific skills that are required either in their industry or in that particular role. So depending and this varies a lot. So this is a question of customizing, their education path for each individual. And again, we've been fortunate enough to work with partners who have been able to give us access to resources, that enables this. And this is a very attractive and unique feature where, you know, we have I believe 15 to 20 certificates so you get a Cornell EMBA, but you have a very wide choice of certificate that you want to specialize in. And you can specialize in that too. So it's kind of on the one it's almost kind of sounds opposing polls on the one hand being broader and thinking about society, more broadly and understanding a societal responsibilities more broadly. On the other hand, making your skills more applicable and more concrete so that we can bring about concrete changes.

Beat the GMAT

Thank you both. And before we wrap up our discussion today, I'm curious if either of you have any other points or thoughts that you'd like to share with our listeners before we conclude.

Mark

One thing I’d highlight that sometimes people don't realize about an executive MBA program is that it's an investment in the present as well as the future. When we have an executive MBA student and they’re bringing their specific challenges to the program and they're sort of getting our consulting session, not only with a faculty expert, but with the rest of their cohort or that can help them deal with with the challenges that they're facing. And that is tremendously powerful. It's sort of like having a consultant and a coach meeting with you every other weekend and you having the the space in your life to really focus on some of these some of these issues there are assignments, there are big projects in in these programs that students spend time on, and they can spend time they can turn those projects towards the specific things that they want to work on. And I think aspect is just really, really important. It's this opportunity for for current personal growth and personal investment. And, you know, you don't, you don't get that opportunity in life very often because we're also busy and so challenged.

Beat the GMAT

Yeah, right.

Mark

The other point that I've made is, is something we've talked about it at different times in this session, but it's the power of the people that you're in a program with and the community that you're joining And the Cornell Network has well over 250,000 graduates in it across all the programs at the university and they all signed up for a university that has as its motto. “Any person, Any Study” that has at its core, the idea that we want to be welcoming to everyone and we want to honor every pursuit while pursuing excellence and while supporting each other. And having that large alumni community and probably defined as well as the individuals that your interacting within your cohort. Having all those people in your corner is once again that's really valuable now as well as really valuable in the future. As Dean, I interact with a lot of alumni and they'll just map out their career putting in push pins in the air where we're Cornellian made the difference and enabled them to level up and take that next step forward. And so that's part of what this is. That's part of what people are gaining when they're, when they're jumping into the EMBA program. That currency of pay off as well as that joining of a very large and very passionate and supportive family. So I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to just highlight, yeah, because it's it's a pretty powerful aspect of the EMBA program.

Beat the GMAT

That's amazing. I mean it is that sort of, it's not just an investment in the future. There is that immediate growth and enhancement of professional skill. Thank you for sharing that as well. Dr. Thomas it sounds like there's something you'd like to add as well, please?

Manoj

Yeah, and I want to reiterate what Mark just said and add one more concrete point. Reiterating, what Mark said, I always kind of invite people to reflect on this for a moment. I think it takes a while for people to really comprehend the significant of this. So people know that Cornell and Ivy League University, And usually Ivy League University is associated with exclusivity. And you know, it's some kind of an elitism. But, look at what our motto is and this was started in 1886. It's not something it's not an instrumental or it's not an expedient model that we just created for the last five years. It been there for over 150 years. Our motto is “Any Person, Any Study”. Any person from anywhere in the world and and no studies beneath us, right? Whatever you want to study professional studies, or understanding philosophy, or you want to grow an apple or you want to make an ice cream, all of those, we provide.So it's an Ivy League university, which is taken a very, very broad perspective to education. And I believe it's probably the most inclusive of all Ivy Leagues.  And I think our MBA programs and our executive MBA programs, reflect these ethos, that's the first thing I think with Mark said, I just want to reiterate. The second thing I'd like to use Justin, if I may, I would like to use this forum to reach out to prospective EMBA applicants and bust a myth that we often encounter. So when they hear of Cornell executive MBA, they assume it's in Ithaca New York, and I just want to point out. That is not true. We are in New York City. So if you're in New York City, Tri-State area, and if you want to have a New York City based EMBA, you can get it there. But we also in Seattle. We are in Los Angeles. We are in San Jose, we are in Dallas. We are in Houston. We are in Washington DC. We are in 20 cities across the Americas. So, if you are thinking of doing an EMBA, just know that you have access to our EMBA in across the Americas, just reach out to us.

Mark

Can I jump on there too Justin? Because I think Manoj is making incredibly important point. The other thing that people sometimes think is they psych themselves out and they don't even dream of applying because they don't think they can get in. Believe me, we have a process where our enrollment specialists work with a candidate and wehave a pre-qualification process. We don't want to waste anybody's time, but oftentimes, there will be people who will make an outstanding EMBA student, and they hadn't thought maybe that they'd be able to do this. So the thing to do is to reach out to start that application process and and we'll help someone decide whether or not it's the right thing for them. Don't assume you can't do it assume you can and if there's some reason to devote your energies elsewhere will definitely let people know, but we’ve had some incredibly strong people that didn't realize how strong they were until they actually application process.

Beat the GMAT

That’s interesting. The admissions committee will actually work with the particular applicants to, in sort of a consultative process. Is that right?

Mark

Very much. And it's  a little bit different from programs with less experienced people. I mean, you're in an EMBA program, you're dealing with people who are in their 30s, they're in their 40s, they're in and their career now, they're very busy, they're people who want to waste their time or anyone else's time and so, what you do is you have a professional that just starts interacting with them on the phone, by Zoom, online and and we can tell someone pretty quickly whether or not this is a path that makes sense for them and again, we realize these people's time is valuable and we don't want to waste their time and we don't want to have this big long delayed process where they send in an application and wait for months to hear from anybody, we can work with someone right now to help them decide whether or not this is right for them now or later or maybe not and it just don't if you're listening to this, don't sell yourself short. Have that conversation and you might find that you've got a tremendous opportunity ahead of yourself.

Beat the GMAT

That's a really fascinating point. I'm glad you made that as well. I'm sure many would sort of fall into that description and I think we might actually put that in the sort of headline or h2 for the event just to make sure that those who are seeing it know that they might be party to a discussion that they otherwise would not have imagined. So thank you for adding that really important point.

Mark

Certainly.

Beat the GMAT

And, you know, this, I want to really thank the both of you Dean Nelson and Dr. Thomas has been extremely illuminating. I've learned a lot about Cornell. Things that and in a cohesive sort of summary are truly astounding, the work that you and your institution are doing. It's amazing and I've really just enjoyed spending this time with you here. Thank you so much for your time and for taking your time, to share your insight on the various array of EMBA offerings and how applicants can apply and get involved and upgrade their futures, and their careers. And to our listeners, I want to thank you for joining us. We'll provide a transcript of this discussion today, along with a wide array of relevant links throughout the discussion. How to apply to or initiate that application process to Cornell. And Dean Nelson and Dr. Thomas, thank you again, for joining us today. It's been a real delight.

Mark

Thank you. Justin our pleasure.

Manoj

Thank you, Justin. I really enjoyed talking to you.

Beat the GMAT

Likewise, thank you again.