Dyson and Hotel students experience Orientation together for the first time

By: Demola Kehinde Ogunnaike
Students with Cornell bear mascot

More than 400 freshmen and transfer students in the School of Hotel Administration and the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management have something new in common this year: they are the first undergraduates to enter after applying to the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Students of the two schools came together in Statler Hall on August 20 for the schools’ first joint Orientation session.

The formation in 2016 of Cornell SC Johnson, which also comprises the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, created one of the largest business colleges in the country, with an enrollment of 3,200 students.

Soumitra Dutta, dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, addresses the incoming class at an Orientation event
Soumitra Dutta, dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, addresses the incoming class at an Orientation event

“You are the best of your generation, and we are so lucky to have you here with us,” Soumitra Dutta, founding dean of the college, told the undergrads. “You are bright, you are enterprising, you are intelligent, you want to get things done, and you want to have a positive impact on the world. And that is so in line with what we want to do here at the college.”

The increasing interest in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business over the past year generated significant growth in applications for the freshmen class. Applications to the Dyson School, for example, jumped 131 percent, with 4,366 submitted last year for 128 places in the class.

“You have crossed a very significant barrier in being accepted into the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business,” Dutta said. “It’s one of the most competitive schools to get into at Cornell.”

Incoming students enjoy a burger buffet at an Orientation event

Angel Ding ’18, who will graduate in December from the Dyson School, advised the students at the orientation to take advantage of everything the business college has to offer. One of the highlights of her four years at Cornell, she said, was traveling to South Africa during winter break to participate in a social-impact consulting project with Dyson professor of practice Cindy van Es.

“There are so many opportunities that Dyson students can be part of,” said Ding, president of the Dyson Undergraduate Council. “Definitely take advantage of them.”

A senior in the Hotel School, Michael Lee ’18, told the students that the formation of Cornell SC Johnson has provided more opportunities for students to work with other undergraduates and professors across the college. “There’s an increased emphasis on cross-collaborations with students and on approaching different faculty, which is invaluable,” Lee said.

Beyond enrolling its first entering class, Cornell SC Johnson is celebrating another milestone this year with the opening of the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York, where the college is offering an MBA program. In addition, the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education, which houses state-of-the-art classrooms plus college administrative offices, was completed in August in Collegetown.

Students at an orientation event

Another key accomplishment this year is the addition of a student services team for the Dyson school, which planned meet-ups for students interning in New York this summer. The college also created a career management center that is working with students in both Hotel and Dyson.

“What’s different is that we’re working harder to collaborate across the two schools and have joint events like this orientation program that bring the two schools together,” said Amanda Soule Shaw ’00, MBA ’05, the college’s assistant dean of student services. “We’ll continue to do that across their academic studies so that the students in the two schools can meet each other.”

Freshman Khatrina Te ’21 of McAllen, Texas said of her decision to apply to the Dyson School,”Once I knew that Dyson was part of the college of business, I certainly felt that’s where I wanted to be. The fact that it’s been so easy for the students to get to know each other and start talking and just start our network early—to me that was why it was so important to be part of the college of business.”