TL;DR: As a Cornell Tech (CT) MBA alum, I get a ton of requests by prospective candidates or simply curious people to share some information and help them decide if CT MBA is the right program for them. In this article, I will answer critical FAQs that can hopefully clarify some unknowns about CT MBA. Opinions are my own.
Published on LinkedIn
How is CT MBA different than other MBA programs?
I can think of four main differentiators for CT MBA:
- Closer to tech industry. You will learn and apply tools and methodologies as part of your deliverables. Faculty members came from top tech companies. You will meet dozens if not hundreds of industry professionals and executives. You will get feedback on your work from these people and listen to their real life experiences.
- Learning by doing. You will conduct user research, design UI mocks, implement proof of concept prototypes, develop financial models, present to (real) venture capitalists, and explore a ton of product ideas through group and individual work.
- Cross-disciplinary collaborations. You will form cross-discipline groups with students from multiple graduate programs, such as MBA, Computer Science, and LLM. This environment generates a ton of learning because of the different approaches all students take when solving problems.
- Focused on entrepreneurial skills. CT MBA does a great job at making sure you are outside of your comfort zone. Public speaking, product ideation, and customer empathy are some of the entrepreneurial skills you will learn at CT MBA. Whether you start a company or innovate within a company, CT gives you the framework and support network to bring ideas from conception to reality.
Where do most CT MBA alumni work and in what positions?
Based on 200+ alumni so far, CT MBA is excellent for people who want to do the following:
- Become a product manager
- Product Management
- Managing Products
If you look at CT MBA alumni, most of us are product managers in startups or big companies, such as Amazon, BlackRock, eBay, Enigma, FuboTV, Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, Oscar Health, Jet, Pinterest, Twitter, Verizon, Wall Street Journal, Walmart, ZocDoc, and more.
Why? I believe that CT MBA curriculum helped us develop a very diverse skill set based on traditional courses, such as Finance, Marketing, and Strategy, and modern courses, such as Product Management, Design Thinking, and Digital Marketing. Product managers need to work with multiple stakeholders and having such a diverse skill set really helps to get things done.
It does not mean you can’t pursue other post-MBA positions in Consulting, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Business Development, or Finance. But be aware that CT MBA is heavily focused on product management.
How do I land a post-MBA job?
In terms of post-MBA recruiting, CT MBA is really effective because of three reasons:
- Campus is located in New York City which means you will have physical access to thousands of startups and some of the biggest tech companies. You can actually get to know people from those companies, grab coffee with them, and hopefully establish a broader professional network.
- CT MBA is part of Cornell University Johnson School of Business. Being part of this massive Cornell network is super important when you need help. For example, I’ve sent a cold-email to a Cornell alumni who is a complete stranger. Since I’ve sent that email using my @cornell.edu account, that stranger recognized me as Cornell alumni and immediately offered help. He ended up submitting a referral for me at Facebook.
- CT Career Management is well connected. Many students get on-campus interviews with all kinds of companies, including big ones like Amazon and Google.
What are some risks of pursuing a one year MBA?
In case you don’t know, CT MBA is a one year full-time program. There are three main risks involved with a one year MBA:
- No summer internship. Based on my conversations with non-CT MBAs who have been through summer internships, it helped them reject or approve some career paths, get real professional experience in a big tech company, and understand if they want to live in certain locations (Silicon Valley, Seattle, NYC, etc). Personally, I think that summer internships are really effective for people who either 1) Never worked in the tech industry, 2) Unsure about their post-MBA career path (Product? Marketing? Finance? Consulting?), or 3) Have weak/average pre-MBA experience that can be significantly improved through a summer internship in a top tech company.
- Not enough time to clarify your post-MBA career. If your post-MBA career path is unclear, one year might not be enough time for you to clarify. People with unclear post-MBA career path are better off pursuing a two years MBA because it offers more than enough time (and summer internship) to understand what is best for you after the MBA.
- It is stressful. Think studying full-time, partying full-time, and recruiting full-time all at once for 12 months. That is not easy at all and involve a lot of stress due to assignment deadlines, interview preparation, and hangovers (kidding). If you have very clear post-MBA career path (I wanna be a product manager in a big tech company) and good time management skills, you will be just fine. Besides, you are not alone in this program. Your classmates and faculty members will be there for you during this entire time.
International students: What about work authorization / immigration visas?
The situation is no different than in any other US business school. It sucks. You will receive an OPT work authorization as graduate student which is valid for one year. As an international student, you are way more limited in terms of job opportunities. You need to land post-MBA jobs in companies that typically sponsor H-1B visas and hopefully Green Cards as well. Most small/medium startups would not accept internationals with no work authorization.
I hope my opinionated answers are helpful. Three years later, I’m very happy about my decision to study in CT. I think it’s an amazing MBA program offering a modern and unique way of mixing business and tech courses. To be honest, I did not even think about applying to any other program.
I’d be happy to address more FAQs in this article. Feel free to reach out.