Destination Johnson welcomes admitted Two-Year MBA students and families

By: mim58
Photo of Destination Johnson t-shirts

In April, Johnson welcomed 171 admitted students to campus for its annual Destination Johnson (DJ) event. Visiting students and their families spent the weekend learning about Johnson’s Two-Year MBA program, the community both inside and outside Sage Hall, and everything there is to take advantage of as a Cornell MBA student.

Photo of two women at the Johnson welcome desk
Kaitlin Devine, MBA ’18, and Sydney Starke, MBA ’18, welcome DJ attendees

More than 230 current students and student partners worked as volunteers to host, feed, inform, and entertain future members of our Johnson community throughout the weekend. From team building to immersion information panels, and from the Club and Housing Fair to our Taste of Ithaca mixer, attendees saw our ambitious, tight-knit community come to life first hand.

Here’s a recap of some of the weekend’s events.

Campus tours

Admitted students took tours of Sage Hall, the Cornell campus, and the new Breazzano Family Center for Business Education.

Photo of admitted students listening to a tour outside Sage Hall
DJ attendees tour Sage Hall and the Cornell campus
Photo of admitted students standing in the atrium at the Breazzano Family Center
Admitted students learn about and visit the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education in Collegetown

Forté Fellows and Consortium welcome events

Jamie Joshua, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), spoke to Consortium applicants about ODI programming and initiatives. Presentations also included Tom Stokes ’04, MBA ’13, global brand manager at SC Johnson. Also on Friday afternoon, accepted Forté Fellows got to know new classmates and heard from Johnson administrators, including Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of the Career Management Center.

Photo of students listening to speaker Jamie Joshua
Jamie Joshua, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, addresses Consortium applicants
Photo of attendees talking at the Forté reception
Forté Fellows talk with each other during the welcome reception
Photo of attendees listening to Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham
Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of the CMC talks to Forté fellows
Photo of attendees talking at the Forté reception

Club and Housing Fair

Photo of the crowded Dyson Atrium from above


Current and admitted students packed the Dyson Atrium in Sage Hall for the Club and Housing Fair. Club representatives helped to show the breadth and depth of student organization options at Johnson. There are more than 70 student organizations for Johnson MBAs, each offering opportunities for leadership.

Photo of students standing behind a table with a Johnson Women in Technology banner
Representatives of the Latin American Business Association

@HannChelsea on Twitter: Full atrium for our Club & Housing fair at Destination Johnson! #CornellMBA

Students standing behind a table with a Johnson Pets Society banner
Members of the Men's Hockey Team

Official welcome and keynote

DJ attendees were officially welcome by Judi Byers, executive director of admissions and financial aid, and Mark Nelson, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean. Byers noted that 80 percent of those in attendance had already committed to Johnson, one-third of the group represented 42 foreign countries, and 12 admitted students had served in the armed forces.

Photo of DJ attendees in the audience
Photo of DJ attendees in the audience
Photo of DJ attendees in the audience

Dean Nelson expressed his excitement for the future and the next generation of Johnson students. “This is a time unlike anything I’ve ever seen before,” he said.

“Here at Johnson, red is the only color that matters—not race, not class, not creed. We’re a community and what you’re here to do is experience what we’re all about.”
—Dean Mark Nelson

Photo of speakers and administrations
Left to right: Judi Byers, executive director of admissions and financial aid; Vishal Gaur, associate dean for MBA programs; Symone Williams, MBA ’19; Dean Mark Nelson; Hernan J.F. Saenz, III, MBA/MILR ’98; Harrison Jobe, MBA ’19; Betsy Dick, Two-Year MBA program director

Hernan J.F. Saenz, III, MBA/MILR ’98, managing partner at Bain & Company and visiting senior lecturer of management and organizations, delivered the keynote address and focused on how MBAs can maximize their time at Johnson and the school’s differentiators. Having been the head of recruiting for Bain, Saenz said he has hired more than 100 Cornell MBAs.

“When I came here, I ran into things I did not expect. I did not expect to still be friends with faculty that taught me over 30 years ago. I did not expect such a selfless community.”
— Hernan Saenz

Symone Williams, MBA ’19, and Harrison Jobe, MBA ’19, both student council co-chairs, addressed DJ attendees—they will be familiar faces when the group returns to begin classes in the fall. They emphasized the importance of maximizing opportunity and minimizing regret.

Photo of Harrison and Symone
Harrison Jobe and Symone Williams, Class of 2019, Student Council co-chairs
Photo of Ingrid, Judi, and Hernan
Ingrid Jensen, executive director of student services; Judi Byers; and Hernan Saenz
Photo of Hernan delivering his address
Hernan Saenz at Destination Johnson

Taste of Ithaca!

Ithaca is home to countless restaurants, sights, and experiences—so Destination Johnson brought the City of Ithaca to Sage Hall with a sampling of local foods and beverages. Touchdown the Bear stopped by for a visit and MBAs took the opportunity to showcase Johnson’s community… even our youngest members.

Photo of toddler Abby holding a #CornellMBA sign

@c.alvitor on Instagram: 1 year ago #abby was in my wife’s belly, now she is part of a the Johnson Cornell family. Today, she welcomes her smaller sisters and brothers of the 2020 class. WELCOME CORNELLIANS MBA CLASS OF 2020 #abby #dj #destinationjohnson #baby #cornellmba #mba #mbalife #ithaca #love #smile 😊

Judi, Hernan, Touchdown, and Betsy with the #CornellMBA sign

@Judi_Byers on Twitter: A #BigRed thank you to @cornell alumnus and Visiting Sr Lecturer of #Management and #Organizations, Hernan, as well as our beloved mascot #TouchDown, and our amazing Two Year #CornellMBA Prgm Director, Betsy, and the Student Services Team for an awesome start to #DJ 2018! 🐻❤️

Photo of DJ attendees in Dyson atrium

Photo of DJ attendees talking with representatives from the Kitchen Theatre

Photo of a large group at the Taste of Ithaca
Photo of four women

Joint Ventures

Joint Ventures is a group for families, partners, and spouses of MBA students. Throughout the Destination Johnson weekend, Joint Ventures leaders spent time with incoming families by leading tours, answering questions, and providing a unique perspective.

Photo of people walking outside of Sage Hall

Faculty-led team building

Laura Georgianna, executive director of Leadership Programs, led a team-building activity with admitted students during Saturday’s sessions.

Photo of DJ attendees building with Legos

Photo of DJ attendees building with Legos

Photo of DJ attendees building with Legos

Photo of DJ attendees building with Legos

Career Management Center: Launch Your Career Search

Representatives from the Career Management Center (CMC), including Associate Director David Capaldi, presented on resources available at the CMC, an overview of employment statistics, and a selection of internships that the Class of 2019 will be participating in this summer.

Lunch with Associate Dean Vishal Gaur

Admitted students enjoyed lunch and heard remarks from Associate Dean Vishal Gaur. Tables in the Dyson Atrium were hosted by alumni, current students, and Career Management Center staff.

Photo of Vishal speaking at a podium
Vishal Gaur, associate dean for MBA programs speaks during lunch
Photo of visitors eating in Dyson Atrium
DJ attendees enjoy lunch in the Dyson Atrium at Sage Hall

Immersion showcases

One of the hallmarks of a Johnson education is our immersion curriculum. Admitted students heard from a panel of representatives from each immersion—Investment Research and Asset Management, Digital Technology, Investment Banking, Corporate Finance, Semester in Strategic Operations, Strategic Marketing, and Sustainable Global Enterprise.

Photo of a student panel

Photo of a student panel Photo of a student panel Photo of a student panel

Photo of a student panel

Photo of a student panel Photo of a student panel

Professional and industry club mixers

Cornell eHub and the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education hosted professional and industry club mixers. Admitted students learned more about club offerings and we able to jumpstart their networking with like-minded MBAs.

Clubs in attendance included BR Tech Strategy; BR Venture Fund; eClub; High Tech Club; Alternative, Private & Hedged Assets Club; Consulting Club; Energy Club; Family Business Club; General Management Association; Healthcare Club; High-Yield and Restructuring Club; Human Capital Association; Investment Management Club; Marketing Association; Old Ezra Finance Club; and Sustainable Global Enterprise Club.

Photo of people sitting at a table talking
Photo of people talking wearing a #cornellmba shirt

Student-hosted dinners

On Saturday night, current students hosted guests in their home, truly showcasing Johnson’s community and family atmosphere.

Students eating together in a current MBAs home

@c.alvitor on Instagram: Destination Johnson Dinner! 5 future cornellians enjoying dinner and pisco sour #cornellmba #cornell #pisco #mbalife #abby #cornellians #friends #destinationjohnson

Women’s Management Council brunch

The weekend concluded with a brunch hosted by the Women’s Management Council. Women in the incoming class heard from Sarah Brubacher McDonald, MBA ’99, senior director at eBay, and Risa Mish, professor of practice of management.

Photo of Sarah Brubacher McDonald and Risa Mish speaking to attendees
Photo of Sarah Brubacher McDonald and Risa Mish
Sarah Brubacher McDonald (left) and Risa Mish (right)