Cornell Class of 2024 Essay Analysis

Cornell has released its essays for the 2021-22 application cycle. While they kept their goals statement and impact essay, they have removed their second essay prompt.

2021/22 essay questions

Goals statement: 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:

  • Industry:

  • 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:

  • Industry:

  • How has your experience prepared and encouraged you to pursue these goals?

Essay 1: At Cornell, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. Taking into consideration your background, how do you intend to make a meaningful impact on an elite MBA community? (350 words maximum)

Optional essay (required for reapplicants): 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).

2021/22 essay question analysis

Goals statement

The statement of your goals will be straightforward, and will mirror what you write for other schools. Keep in mind to signal some broadness to your goal. For example, you may want to be Commissioner of the NBA, but there is only one job in the world, and setting that as your goal risks positioning you as a potential disappointed alumni if you don’t succeed.

Most of your goals statement should explain how your experience and background positions you to succeed at your stated goal. Aim for unique experiences that align to important skills needed to succeed. For instance, a passion for personal investing often drives people to want to join buy-side investing firms, but it is something many people do, and the skills needed at an institutional level are often different than your personal trading. While word limits are tight, also try to weave in what motivates you to pursue this goal, especially since you will no longer have the opportunity to do so in Cornell’s essay 2 that they dropped this year.

Essay 1

Similar to last year, aim to articulate a compelling contribution, especially one that drives more collaboration and community. The more specific and tangible you can make the contribution, the better. Organizing seminars tied to your unique experiences or creating new partnerships between disparate clubs are great starting points, whereas committing to passionately contribute in class won’t differentiate you sufficiently.

Some clients are wary of specialized contributions, for fear of appearing elitist and/or exclusionary. However centering a contribution around a specialized activity (i.e. fencing, football, Middle Eastern cuisine) can be powerful if you structure it to be inclusive. For instance, starting a fencing club doesn’t have to involve including only (or even, mainly) people who already know how to fence. If you’re good at fencing, you can offer to teach, or find another teacher. Organize socializing around the event (i.e. a potluck meal after practice), and soon the event will be about bringing diverse people together around a common interest and passion for self-improvement!

Optional essays

Similar to other schools, the optional and reapplicant questions are available for you to explain any additional information that you may not have had the space to clarify in other parts of your application.

2021/22 deadlines

Round 1: Application deadline October 12, 2021, Decision date: December 16, 2021

Round 2: Application deadline: January 5, 2022, Decision date: April 8, 2022

Round 3: Application deadline: April 12, 2022, Decision date: June 1, 2022

Other application details

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School resources

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