For 2017 graduates, Johnson Cornell Tech MBA launches bright futures
By Doug Stayman, associate dean at Cornell Tech
Johnson Cornell Tech’s third class celebrated graduation in May. This cohort accomplished much during its year in New York City, and the future looks bright.
Take Tosin Adeniji, MBA ’17, for example. A native of London, Adeniji came to Cornell with a law degree and experience in the entertainment industry. At the record label EMI she worked with artists like Katy Perry and Coldplay, before moving on to major streaming players like Apple’s iTunes and Spotify. Adeniji decided to pursue an MBA to gain business skills and further explore technology. But finding a program that catered to non-traditional candidates proved to be a challenge.
Eventually, Adeniji discovered the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA after attending an event in London. Although it was late in the application process, she decided to pursue the program.
“I knew Cornell Tech’s mixture of practical projects, cross functional team building, and a forward-thinking way of teaching business students made it the ideal program for me,” Adeniji says.
She did not regret her decision. At Cornell, Adeniji joined the Emerging Markets Institute and was exposed to business practices in developing countries like Mexico, Kenya, and Turkey. Adeniji also took an international trek to Colombia over spring break. She appreciated Johnson’s openness to offering new and unique experiences for students.
“When I researched other business schools, it seemed like many clubs, programs, and traditions were firmly fixed in place and it may have been difficult to suggest or implement new things,” Adeniji says. “At Cornell Tech it was the complete opposite. Cornell Tech and Johnson were open to trying new things and listening to the cohort’s needs.”
After her team won Verizon’s innovation lab challenge this spring, Adeniji joined the company as a product manager, based in New York.
For Anna McGovern, MBA ’17, the most valuable aspect of the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA experience “was the exposure that we got to real startups across various industries. Between the iTrek consultancy projects and Startup Studio, I learned so much about a world I knew nothing about before this year.”
McGovern came to Cornell Tech seeking “a non-traditional MBA that bridges the gap between product development and entrepreneurship. As someone with a computer science background, I loved the idea of getting my hands dirty and working on real technical projects throughout the year.”
McGovern is now chief of staff to the CTO at Oscar Health. “I think my CS background and Cornell Tech experience positions me perfectly for this role,” she adds.
Some members of this year’s graduating class have chosen to pursue their startup dreams. Pranav Sachdev, MBA ’17, is a member of one of the four winning teams at this May’s third annual Cornell Tech Startup Awards. As a Startup Award winner, SageLink, “the first advertising marketplace for voice applications,” received $80,000 in pre-seed financing along with one year of free co-working space at The Bridge, located on the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island.
With a background in management consulting, economics, and finance, Sachdev chose the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program over more traditional business programs.
“I wanted to do an MBA but had already done a lot of traditional business work, so I felt that in most programs the work would be redundant,” Sachdev says. “I knew I wanted to go into tech, and was specifically interested in working with engineers and being trained as a product manager.”
Yet Cornell Tech surprised Sachdev with the depth of tech expertise among faculty and classmates.
“The most valuable component has been the network I have built among a lot of really ambitious and smart people who are going to have successful careers in the tech world.”
Sachdev has some words of advice for prospective applicants to the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program:
“I’d say go for it, as long as you can go into the program with focus. It goes by quickly, so it’s helpful to have a specific endgame in mind that you can execute on during the year.”
His former classmate Adeniji agrees.
“Cornell Tech is a great place to learn core business skills, explore new interests, and meet great friends, all whilst in the heart of New York City.
“What could be a better way to spend a year?”