We called out a few things recently about Kellogg that have got us excited about possible changes underfoot.
Another school that popped up on our radar recently was Cornell.
Specifically, Cornell is embracing change. That alone is a very good sign. Not every change will end up being positive – as you know from your own life – but the fact that they’re EMBRACING it, and pursuing it so actively, is refreshing to see. It’s shockingly unusual, as far as many top bschools go. When bschools today talk about busting the status quo and being innovative as part of their value systems, well, academia has not traditionally been known for any of that. Bschools are typically better than many other grad schools on campus, since they tend to cater to industry much more closely (whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is a post for another day).
The big shift going on at Cornell is that they recently announced the merger of three of their professional schools under one umbrella. The new Cornell College of Business will serve as the aegis under which you will find Cornell Johnson (business), School of Hotel Administration (hospitality), and the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.
Betchya didn’t know they had a separate school for econ, didjya? Makes sense to be putting these resources together under one roof.
As far as we can tell, this consolidation will not impact any current or future BSers interested in the Johnson MBA. You’ve always been able to take classes at the Hotel School as part of your business studies if you wanted to. Admissions processes will stay separate, at least that’s what they’re saying for now. This is mostly a merger of resources, and presumably there will be less overlap and duplication in certain areas. It’s also going to help them to brand and market their professional offerings a bit differently. We suspect that it may have more impact on the hotel side, but that’s just a guess. The reason we point this out, since we’re saying it is unlikely to affect many of you, is that it shows that the school is willing to act.
Having three separate schools means that there were three separate power structures – and likely, there are a lot of politics going on behind the scenes. That’s what happens when any organization is competing with itself.
It also means that the school leadership is trying to put their money where their mouth is. When a business school professes how important collaboration is to its culture, then it’s refreshing to see that they’re actually trying to implement some of that collaboration at Ground Zero of their own operation.
As much as universities like to say that they promote teamwork, academics aren’t necessarily all that good at it — especially not when they’re asked to work outside their own school. A former president of Stanford University even claims that cross-school partnerships are unworkable. For Cornell to be willing to work through the organizational resistance to such a merger (and fight the turf battles that undoubtedly arose/are arising) then that shows that they’re interested in taking on the tough decisions to improve the whole.
In addition, Cornell Johnson appears to be staking a claim in the business + tech space. The first move they made was several years ago by announcing the Johnson Tech MBA . It’s a partnership with Google and is very smartly based in New York City instead of Ithaca. They also made it a concentrated program, so you can get in, and get out fast (which is a good thing given how high the cost of living is in NYC!).
The other tech-focused change is a new emphasis on big data and analytics, and these initiatives are also in conjunction with major tech companies including LinkedIn and Twitter. There are a few other top bschools who’ve been focusing on big data for longer (notably NYU Stern and also Wharton) however as a rule, bschools are laggards. It’s not like big data is new, but it’s also not something that has been fully embraced by every MBA program.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything happening at The Johnson School, but it’s enough for us to say, “Hmmm, maybe they’re ones to watch in the future!”
As always, any firsthand reports from the field – current students, new admits, recent grads – we’d love to learn what you know and any impressions about Cornell and the changes underway there!