I am pleased to offer this interview with Eddie Asbie, the Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
1. How did you get involved in this line of work? What do you like about MBA admissions?
During my undergraduate years, I noticed how supportive the community was as they helped guide students personally and professional towards their career goals. This is when I knew this line of work was what I wanted to do. I truly enjoy working in admissions because you have the opportunity to meet interesting candidates from all around the world. In the business world, our candidates are coming from very impressive backgrounds and it is encouraging to see what our future may look like.
2. Should an applicant bother applying if their TOEFL is only 98 or 99?
I would encourage candidates to still apply to Johnson if they have a 98 or 99 on their TOEFL. Our application process has a holistic approach but it is important to show your English is strong.
3. Do you have sub-score requirements for the TOEFL R, L, S and W sections? How about the GMAT verbal and quantitative sections?
We would like to see a candidate with a 100 TOEFL score and 25 in each subsection. As for the GMAT and GRE, we like to see candidates in the 70% or higher in both sections.
4. How important is the interview to the overall process? What are you looking for?
The interview is another important part in the application process. The majority of your application is out of your control but the interview gives you the opportunity to highlight your strengthens. Ultimately, we are looking for a candidate who is genuine and honest. Someone who knows how to articulate their goals and understands our program. I find it disappointing when a candidate sounds very rehearsed and knows nothing about our program. Please come prepared!
5. How important is it for a student to visit campus?
Visiting campus is important. If you are considering spending a year or two in another city/country and investing your money into the program you want to make sure it’s worth it. Especially if you are bring a family with you. We want you to be excited about being here and feel connected to our community. We would highly recommend visiting, no matter what school you are apply to.
The MBA Experience
6. How do MBA students benefit from other schools within the greater Cornell institution? Can you give an example of an extra-curricular event or club that involves students from many different programs, including the MBA?
One of the beneficial things about getting an MBA from Johnson is that you have the opportunity to interact with other programs in the Cornell community. We have students who are completing a dual degree, whether a JD, MD, etc. If you are interested in the dual degree, please check out this website, http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Dual-Degree-Programs.aspx. Also, we have many different clubs and organizations to choice from. Here are a list clubs that we offer at Johnson, http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/About/Life-At-Johnson/Student-Clubs-Organizations.aspx.
Life outside the Program
7. Many applicants have to consider the small town vs big city question when choosing potential destination schools. What's your take on this question, specifically related to Ithaca?
I believe this is a very important factor to consider when applying to business school. We talk about “fit” all the time and that’s important. You have to think, “Am I going to be happy in a small town vs. a big city?” Here in Ithaca you will get a very diverse and international experience. Being a smaller town, you will foster close relationships and experience a close knit community.
8. Is there anything you wish I'd asked?
No, I think these a great questions for candidates as they prepare for the applications process. As mentioned before, it is very important to come prepared during this entire process. We want applicants to feel connected to Johnson but truly understand why they need an MBA and how Johnson can help them in their future career goals.
Eddie - thanks very much for your time!