It’s pretty safe to say that most students’ college years are rife with decisions. At Cornell, deciding whether to go Greek, choosing your major, and selecting which of the 800 clubs to join are merely some of the decisions that you’re faced with upon setting foot in Ithaca that first time.
As my tenure at Cornell wraps up, I’ve started to evaluate the consequences of my many decisions in college–and it’s been an interesting activity. Working in the Sun’s business department exposed me to a great group of people. Becoming a “Life on the Hill” blogger has given me incredible opportunities. Spending a summer in NYC was rewarding. The list goes on…
Want to know the best decision of my college career, though? Bar none, it was internally transferring into the Dyson School (the Applied Economics and Management major). I’ve gotten a lot of questions about AEM from prospective freshmen and transfer students, so I’m happy to go into detail.
Why was it a great move? There are a few reasons:
1) It provided me with a sense of community. As a business-minded student in another college at Cornell, I bounced around a lot of different departments, taking classes of all sizes in Economics, American Studies, Sociology, and the like. This academic diversity is great, no doubt, but I’ve found that there’s something to be said about finding a true ‘home,’ if you will. AEM majors all take a set of structured classes, know many of the same people, and the professors (mostly) all know each other; all these factors help to create a sense of community within the large university.
2) It helped me foster my passion for business and technology. Taking strategy classes like Digital Business Strategy helped to develop my passion for tech, and learning the fundamentals of finance and economics in an applied setting ignited my interest in many of the topics discussed. Cornell’s great for providing a plethora of opportunities, and nothing’s better than being engaged in a program that you know fits your interests and aspirations perfectly.
3) There’s very much a “Dyson education.” As a practical, career-oriented person (who still manages to enjoy the ride), the fact that there’s a Dyson education is very appealing. Students and alumni alike know that being a Dyson alum means you likely took accounting with Jack, enjoyed the rigor of (or suffered through) Finance, and witnessed the enthusiasm and energy that comes with taking Professor van Es’ statistics course. This creates unity among students and alumni, who recognize the quality of teaching in the School.
4) The attention. Undergrad AEM majors are literally smothered with attention if they want it–through interview preparation workshops, office hours, opportunities to network, etc. The school’s director noted that the fact that the MBA program is in a separate school makes all the difference. Plus, the tiny size of the major, for a business school, helps too (only ~200 graduate each year).
5) The building. I’ll keep this short and sweet: the newly-renovated Warren Hall is beautiful and modern. Check it out when you get a chance.
6) Collaboration and friendliness. It has consistently amazed me that, for an Ivy League business program ranked #3 in the country, everyone is so unbelievably friendly and collaborative. I’ll never forget, for example, how a classmate in managerial econ made an amazing study guide for an exam–then shared it with the entire class. Or when I first heard of groups of people getting together to study finance or accounting. The use of undergraduate TA’s, frequency of teamwork-based assignments, and grading policies that encourage students to help one another facilitate this.
7) Okay I had to add one more; it’s a business school with a conscience. As a part of a land-grant University, one of Dyson’s missions is to create and disseminate knowledge across New York State and the globe. As an undergraduate, this has meant that my courses have allowed me to work with the New York State horticulture industry in Marketing Plan Development to bolster sales, and learn about “going green” in The Economics and Psychology of Sustainable Business. How many business schools could say that they have a give-back mission in their DNA?
My satisfaction with this internal transfer decision–which was, no doubt, the best move I made at Cornell– is why I pay it forward, too, as an internal transfer mentor. I enjoy helping students find the right academic fit for them and navigate the internal transfer process. I’ve also served as a TA for a large introductory business course, which many students have taken before applying to transfer into AEM as well.
Hopefully this sheds light on Dyson’s strengths for potential applicants–or, as you’d say after AEM2601, core competencies. While this is just my opinion, I’d imagine that many of these sentiments are shared among a lot of the AEM majors!