After holding EMBA classes for nearly 20 years at an IBM conference center in the Palisades, Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management is moving Metro NY program to the heart of New York City. Starting in the summer of 2019, the newest cohort of students will take their classes at the university’s new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island.
The move will make the 22-month-long program more accessible to New York area professionals and likely more selective as well. What won’t change is the school’s general management curriculum or it’s alternating weekend format with four residential sessions on the university’s Ithaca, N.Y., campus. Students show up on Saturday morning and attend classes through lunchtime on Sunday.
“The Saturday-Sunday aspect of this program has been a long time draw,” explains Mark Nelson, dean of Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. “Students don’t have to miss work. There are also a few residential sessions and an offsite where they will do a week of material face to face.”
The move to Roosevelt Island, adds Nelson, “is an opportunity to capitalize on our investment in the Cornell Tech campus. The convenience of going to Cornell Tech will be higher for those in the New York metro area. We anticipate that as a result, we will have a program that is even more selective if anything.”
That could help Cornell’s EMBA in future rankings. In the 2019 composite ranking of EMBA experiences by Poets&Quants, Cornell’s program is ranked sixth best in the U.S. behind only Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan, Columbia, and UCLA (see Ranking The Top 50 EMBAs In The U.S.).
What do students like most about the experience? “First and foremost, there is this sense of community that is really integrated into the program,” says Joy LeBow Dellapina, executive director of the Metro NY program. “That is a huge differentiator because the entire cohort is together for a Saturday-Sunday format so it builds in extensive collaboration time and a strong cohort bonding.”
The program kicks off in July of each year with the first residential session on the Ithaca campus with a cohort of 70 to 75 students, mostly drawn from the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metro area. As is typical, the first year content is focused on the business basics that range from Managerial Statistics and Financial Accounting to Business Strategy and Managing Operations. The integrated curriculum takes students from those core fundamentals to advanced business synthesis. All courses are sequenced so that each class builds on the content of the previous material learned. Throughout the program, individual assignments allow students to apply course concepts and techniques to their own organizations.
In year two, students delve into advanced coursework that includes Innovation and New Venture Creation, Advanced Strategic Analysis, Designing Data Products, Product & Brand Strategies, Valuation, Investment Banking Essentials, and the Cornell Management Simulation. Cornell offers students the opportunity to complete a total of six electives during the program from a menu of 10 courses offered each year during the winter residential sessions. Only EMBA students are allowed in these courses, ensuring that students can take full advantage of the work experience each student brings to class.
Two major themes take up the second year: innovation and global business. There’s a design thinking immersion and major team-based innovation project that allows students to explore the role of innovation in both new and established organizations. It’s a full-term course taught by several faculty members from the school’s entrepreneurship initiatives. Teams of five to six students each dive into customer exploration, come up with business ideas, draft business plans, and then present them in open competition. “It culminates in a Shark Tank-like event where they pitch to angel investors and VCs,” explains Dellapina. “A lot of coaching goes on.”
Then, in the final term of the program, students embark on a faculty-led global experience allowing them to relate their MBA studies in an international environment. Students get to pick from among three options for the week-long trip taken in Trip is taken in the spring semester. This year students. In March and April of 2019, Cornell’s EMBA students are going to China, Japan, and Israel. “We focus more on giving them a broad overview of the market,” adds Dellapina. “So they will meet with business leaders from a range of industries and there are deliverables on the front and back end of the trip.”
EMBA students won’t spend their Saturday nights on Cornell Tech’s student dorm building but rather The Bentley Hotel on the Upper East Side on East 62nd St. It’s a swanky boutique place, only a short walk from Central Park and the 5th Avenue shopping district. “What’s nice about that is that it puts students in a chunk of Manhattan where there are a lot of restaurants and recreational stuff,” adds Nelson. “We’ll have group dinners and events and then students will be able to go out in small groups and enjoy the opportunities that are in that area of town.”
The program routinely draws a diverse mix of professionals from many core industries. While the largest industry represented in the class is financial services, accounting for 26% of the students, the program attracts a diverse group of execs. Some 17% hail from retail, manufacturing and consumer goods, 16% from consulting, 11% from healthcare and pharma, with 10% each from technology and real estate. About 6% of the class works in education, government or nonprofit organizations.
When it comes to leveraging your investment in the program, Cornell offers a suite of career development offerings under what the school dubs a Career Ascent Program. Among other things, there are workshops, webinars and panel discussion on everything from transitioning from one career, company, geography to another to tutorials on LinkedIn and resume development. The program’s suite of one-on-one coaching options includes executive, career and team sessions.
The Metro NY offering is one of four EMBA programs at Cornell. The school also has the $143,718 Cornell Executive MBA Americas, a partnership with Canada’s Queens University that is 17 months long with classes composed of six to eight students held every other weekend via video conferencing in ten cities in the U.S., six in Canada, two in Mexico, and two in South America. That program also includes three residential sessions on the campuses of both Cornell and Queen’s.
Cornell also offers an Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership also based on the Cornell Tech campus that is 20 months long and ends with dual degrees from Johnson and the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. The Class of 2020 includes 47 students, with an average age of 38 and 12 years of work experience. And finally, Cornell has a collaborative EMBA program with the PBC School of Finance at Tsinghua University in Beijing that is delivered in English and Chinese Mandarin.