Success Stories: Admitted to Cornell EMBA + M7
Updated: Apr 12
When you’ve been in the workforce for over a decade, getting back into academia can be daunting.
For Scott, this journey began 2 years ago when he decided to pursue an EMBA. With 17 years of experience in business analytics and marketing, Scott knew the timing was right when his family had settled down and he was able to take on the time commitment that the degree would involve.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. After being in the workplace for so long, Scott didn’t know where to start. That’s when we met. Finally, Scott received offers from two top business schools - Cornell and one of the M7 business schools. He chose Cornell, and is all set to join the EMBA class this summer.
We got in touch for a quick chat to discuss the major challenges he faced as an EMBA applicant, and why he chose Cornell over an M7 school.
Gaining Confidence to Apply
Scott began his application journey like most other people - scanning business schools. Uncertain about his chances, he connected with Admissions Committee staff to assess his profile. It was only when he started to get encouraging feedback on his resume and work experience that he began exploring further options, including reaching out to admissions consultants.
Scott started by looking through top consultants on Poets & Quants. He had been progressing steadily in his career, felt challenged with good opportunities, and worked on several projects that leveraged his leadership capabilities. Naturally, he wanted to work with someone who would help him put forward an application that reflected what he was capable of. But there were mixed opinions about which schools he should apply to, and Scott began losing confidence again. Surprisingly, taking the Executive Assessment test helped him better understand his own strengths, and he scored well with a 153. For EMBA applicants who are worried about test-taking, Scott recommends taking the EA, which wasn't as stressful as the GMAT/GRE.
Finding the Right Consultant
Scott had many one-to-one calls with admissions consultants to see if they’d be a good fit for him. Eventually, he landed on an admissions consulting firm (not us) and got the ball rolling. But things didn’t go as planned with them. Despite hearing positive feedback from the admissions committee staff he had spoken to about his profile, they told him to lower his targets.
Scott wasn’t convinced and that’s when Scott reached out to me. Through our conversations, I could see that he was capable of reaching a top school. He had come in with enough time to set himself up for success. His career, moreover, attested to his skills and strengths. What he needed now was honest dialogue and discussion to understand which schools he could realistically apply to and where he would thrive. This vetting process involved thorough school research, which helped Scott set the foundation for his application. So when it came to writing essays, we used the stories from this conversation and the essays reflected him profoundly.
If you’re pursuing an EMBA, you have to remember that there’s a lot in your work experience that you may overlook. Scott was focused on the here and now of his job and the programs he was supervising, and wasn’t sure how to revisit what he did 10-15 years ago that shaped him and his career. This led to a nagging feeling that he wasn’t as prepared as other applicants were.
Scott’s imposter syndrome isn’t uncommon for EMBA applicants. What helped him overcome it was doing the legwork to research and understand his fit with different schools, deeply personal discussions to extract 17 years worth of stories and ideas, and a straightforward approach to his accomplishments and challenges.
Talking through these experiences and putting them on paper helped Scott stay focused. He built an authentic narrative that blended his professional and personal story to tap into the parts of himself he previously overlooked.
Scott received offers from an M7 business school and Cornell, but ultimately felt like he belonged at Cornell. One of the main drivers behind his decision is the diversity of the cohort - both personally and professionally. He wants to study alongside a well-rounded group of people across a spectrum of professions. Scott also appreciates the humble and attentive approach of the Admissions team, who added to the school’s “family feel”.
Another reason for choosing Cornell is the program format, which fits his busy schedule. Located in the Cornell Tech Manhattan campus, the program’s tech focus also aligns with his experience in business analytics and will help him stay ahead of the curve in his field.
As Scott gears up for his EMBA at Cornell, he can’t wait to interact with the faculty, take the program’s advanced leadership courses, and learn how to apply these insights to his organization.
Watch the interview:
“Sam made me feel like I was his only client from the get-go; he was honest, and realistic, and encouraged me to aim higher than the targets I had set for myself. His approach helped me understand what made me unique and why I was a good fit for each program…you made my application honest”.
If you are applying to EMBA programs at top business schools but don’t know where to start, let’s talk.