August 17, 2019

Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management MBA Goals Statement

Cornell Johnson

Cornell Johnson MBA Goals Statement

Use this short answer question to succinctly share your short and long-term goals. If invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further and should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.

“Connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.” It’s as though this was written by a former Admissionado client. (Was it, Cornell? We salute you either way, and couldn’t have said it better ourselves!)

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 (250 words maximum):

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.
Targeted Job Role:
Target Job Company:

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:

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

Now it’s getting a little creepy. It’s one thing to be our fan, Cornell, but now you’re making us BLUSH. We kid, but what the minds at Cornell have done this year is to almost force-feed PRECISION into your answers, and steer you away from veering off into the “woops how’d I get here” abyss. This first “just fill in exactly what we tell you to fill in” section is the equivalent of the lawyer in a courtroom drama interrupting a loquacious witness with “please just answer with a simple ‘yes or no.'” Translation: “that’s all we need to know at this time.”

Fill out the top section, exactly as they ask. Don’t elaborate, nuts and bolts folks. For the 250-word follow-up, they’re FOCUSING you again. So, follow their lead, and commit your response to proving the following TWO things:

  1. That your background (key career experience to-date) has made you CREDIBLE in whatever it is you’re pursuing. That is, your prior experiences provide a logical basis to assume success in achieving your future goals. It’s all about “where in your background can we see that you’ve learned/earned/developed/mastered the necessary skills?”
  2. That your prior experiences COMPELLED you toward these goals. It’s one thing to have mastery in something—that convinces us you can THEORETICALLY succeed. But, do you even WANT to? Cuz if you don’t, none of it matters. It’s like the dancing frog from the WB. Is that too old a reference? Must be. Damnit. The point is, the second KEY component to all this is proof that your engine is revved, that you plan to devote your career to this stuff, with or without Cornell, with or without an MBA, with or without… anything that could stand in your way. Convince us you want it. Show us when you went from either NOT being passionate about this thing to SUPER passionate. Or the time you almost lost heart, but episode X breathed NEW LIFE into your commitment. Or the things that simply INSPIRED you and fortified your resolve in an additive kinda way along your journey. It’s always helpful to consider all of this in terms of “where is my passion today, where was it X years ago, and assuming my passion is STRONGER today than before, when and how did that happen?” Try to pin the evolution to some key moments, even if it’s been gradual.

Two paragraphs here, you can even split em cleanly into:

  • Paragraph 1 = Here’s why I’m credible with respect to my goals, proof that I CAN succeed at em.
  • Paragraph 2 = Here’s why I WANT to.

One last tip. Try to frame the “want” in terms of something more root-level than mere success at the specific idea you talk about in your ST and LT goals. The assumption is you might change your idea, so it’s useful to see what makes you tick on a level that encompasses these specific goals, but also speaks to a broader aspiration. For example, if someone is passionate about “improving healthcare in rural India,” and their current plan to start a health tech startup falls through, there are still a lot of ways they can succeed (product management at an established company, investing in health startups, etc.).

One way to test that, imagine yourself navigating through the Johnson MBA program and … changing industries altogether, and pursuing an entirely different track. Reread your “how have your experiences motivated you to achieve your goals” response… it should still mostly hold up. (Neat, right?)

[Cornell, we’re warning you, if that shows up in next year’s essays…]


Read more and explore each step of the Cornell Johnson application process here

You can also read through our team’s analysis of the rest of Johnson’s application essays.

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