The first year of Cornell’s MBA program has a very unique structure, with six survey classes (part of the Core ) accelerated through in seven-week sprints during the first semester alone.
Without question, academics move much faster at the B-school level than when I was a full-time undergraduate, even if fundamental content in some classes (for example, microeconomics) is similar. Professors place a strong emphasis on out-of-class study, and all strive to demonstrate how their class material is applicable in a career setting. Of course, it is important to note that the MBA’s value is strongly connected to the functional skills taught, which explains this focus.
This week marked the start of my second set of Johnson Core classes – Managerial Finance, Strategy and Critical & Strategic Thinking, which replaced my first half of the semester schedule of Financial Accounting, Microeconomics for Management and, my personal favorite, Marketing Management. Immediately following Orientation, we kicked off with a rapid-fire two weeks of Leading Teams and an introduction to the Team Leadership Practicum, in which students are evaluated on their management of assigned team deliverables.
It was weird, however, to know that when most of my undergraduate compatriots were getting ready to take prelim (read: midterm) exams two weeks back, I was living in the library prepping for my finals. Unlike undergrad finals, where people generally get away from the exam room as fast as possible, Johnson surprised us with a reception – we exited the exam room into an Atrium filled with desserts, cider and champagne for everyone! Definitely a nice, unexpected treat and a fun way for the community to bond over the collective escape from the stress of testing.
The first half of the Core flew by, but it was absolutely packed – between core team meetings (more on this later – Johnson incorporates LOTS of group work), corporate briefings, homework, extracurriculars and more, it feels like I’ve been in B-school for much more than a couple months. Even with all of the activity, I’m lucky to have made many new friends at Johnson – the sense of Cornell community is consistent with that I experienced across the street in ILR, and I’m glad I’ll get to be at Cornell for three more semesters.