Admissions Consulting
Admissions Consulting

Insights: Application

Insights: Application


Interview: Johnson MBA

Image source: Johnson College of Business

Image source: Johnson College of Business

Cornell University's SC Johnson Graduate School of Management offers master's programs that empower students across full-time and executive MBA’s.  Intentionally small and highly selective, Johnson prides itself on creating an invigorating learning culture much like a high-performance workplace.


With one year, two year and executive programs, Johnson offers a flexible and customizable MBA experience designed to address increasingly complex challenges in the workplace.  The coursework takes place at the Cornell campus in Ithaca, NY, a small city setting that reinforces the tight knight community Johnson is proud of.

We recently had the pleasure of helping a client successfully apply to the Johnson Graduate School MBA program and thought it may be helpful to share their debrief.


I arrived early as it was easier to get to Ithaka than expected. I spent a lot of time talking to the receptionist. After some time, the admissions coordinator arrived, who walked me to the interviewer’s office. While we waited for the interviewer to arrive, we talked about the JV Club and the community at Johnson.

When the interviewer arrived, we made small talk, jokes about the weather, etc. The entire interview kept that warm tone. The conversation was formal, but she was very relaxed in her approach.   Many of the questions I was asked were the same ones we had prepped for in our mock interviews, so I was prepared. I simplified my very technical responsibilities and she did not find it confusing. There were some random topics but we spent a decent amount of time talking about my role and responsibilities. She had only seen my job titles, which do not encompass what I do.  I walked her through my promotion, and the increased responsibilities.  She asked questions and guided the conversations but I spoke most of the time.

Next we spoke about Johnson. She asked how I connected with the school and the community. The interviewer was curious about my personal interest and asked about the three (3) elements of my leadership style and what would I want the admissions committee to know.  The questions were very warm and only seemed probing as far as how things related to my background.  I connected much of my answers to my values. She seemed happy with my response.

The interview seemed to be among my easiest. Probably due to the warmth from the get go, and also because I was prepared.  The interview was held in their office so it was beneficial to be early. I thanked the receptionist and also sent a follow up email.

  • Interview location: in person, campus

  • Interviewer: Admissions Team

  • Interview type: Semi-formal, but still friendly 

  • Types of question: Focus questions geared toward detailed understanding job function. Leadership style and personal interest questions and they specifically asked what I wanted the admissions team to know about me.

  • Takeaways: Go in prepared to be asked questions related to your work. There are no tricky questions, but deep thoughtful answers are expected.  Be prepared to bring your job to life. Be ready to articulate why you were drawn to Cornell and add color to the application.


Need help preparing for your interview? Reach out to Sia Admissions.


Sia Admissions Consulting is a boutique firm based in New York City. We specialize in coaching students of diverse background navigate university admissions process. Our goal is to partner with students to help them characterize and reflect their individuality in all areas of the admissions application. 

At Sia, we firmly believe that “one-size” does not fit all—each student has his or her story that, if communicated properly, a university admissions committee is eager to hear; therefore, we coach each student in originally telling his or her story. Our partnership with each student consists of  – (i) recognizing the student’s story by asking poignant questions which help us (ii) identify the quintessence of his or her strengths and aspirations, so we may (iii) build an idiosyncratic strategy that helps the student distinctively present his or her story. Our aim is to coach student in showcasing a unique application that communicates their individuality as an ideal candidate for the field and institution of choice.