These new numbers about business school admissions pretty interesting, but the WSJ doesn’t really do much to explain anything about why the numbers are changing.
While much of this can probably be explained by relative size of applicant pools (Cornell gets less than 1/3 fewer applications than Columbia), I can’t help but wonder (#humblebrag?) whether the influx of application is due to some of Cornell’s strengths as a university:
- Engineering focus: It’s no secret that people who want to end up in NY tech now have even more reason to value Cornell as an engineering powerhouse (especially over NYU and Columbia, which both saw a decrease in applications). Stanford already gets a sizable portion of “tech” applicants and so does MIT. Not surprisingly, Cornell seems to have emerged as a bit of a diamond in the rough on this front because of the recent addition of the NYC tech campus (not to mention the slew of tech IPOs in the past year). My guess is there are a few MBA candidates who want to ride that train and they’ve applied to Cornell instead of NYU or Columbia.
- Flexible curriculum: Students can take other classes outside the b-school and they count toward graduation. That means if you’re interested in HCI, graph theory or even agricultural sciences (all of which could be hugely valuable in entrepreneurial business careers) you’ll get the education you want/are paying for. When it costs a bunch, that’s pretty important.
- New Dean: I haven’t gotten a huge chance to interact with our new Dean, but he’s got a pretty solid resume and clearly “gets” tech. Perhaps he’s another attracting force?
What other variables are in play here? Hard to tell without additional data, so maybe I’m just a Cornell fanboy… :)
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