August 17, 2019

Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management MBA Park Fellowship Essay

Cornell Johnson

Cornell Johnson MBA Park Fellowship Essay

What is your greatest example of leadership and what personal qualities helped you succeed in that role? Please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer.

The Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program is a two-year full tuition fellowship award for Two-Year MBA candidates in Ithaca who have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential and who are committed to making an impact within their communities. Each year it is awarded to up to 25 incoming students, with the expectation that they will participate in additional leadership and personal development activities outside of our regular curriculum, serve in leadership roles within the school, and complete a public service project by the time they graduate. The Park Fellowship is only available to U.S. citizens applying for the Two-Year MBA program.

Honestly, this seems like it might require something special, but at the end of the day, for those who qualify (U.S. citizens, etc.), this is just about being as convincing as you can that you not only (1) have OODLES of leadership experience emanating from every pore in your background, and (2) OODLES of leadership plans in life AND during the MBA program (both on campus and OUTSIDE the program, engagement with the community, etc.), but also (3) that you have a particular affinity for Cornell… because of this opportunity.

Now, the trick is, all of that needs to be the vapor that comes off of an essay that deals with “none of that directly.” Instead, your task is to convey these ideas THROUGH your recounting of the “greatest” leadership example in your past, and what PERSONAL qualities of yours led to your success. But –– while you’re doing that –– you will also be HINTING AT the fact that your reason for telling this story isn’t to impress on the merits of that specific leadership tale or achievement. Rather, the story’s power is what it IMPLIES about how dedicated you are to leveraging those skills, and your impulses, toward OTHER, FUTURE… stuff. It has to be clear what the value of this story will be to future applications of that leadership DNA.

Don’t go too deep into it, perhaps just devote a few sentences toward the end to give the reader a sense that you’re not just proud of this achievement for what it was, but for what it implies. Give us that sense. What does this hint at about your future? Where does it go from here? Thinking about it in this way SHOULD help you frame your story in ways that highlight “scalable” leadership traits.


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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