Derek Ju, MBA ’24, Reflects on His Cornell Experience

By: Staff
students studying in sage library.

Students study at Sage Hall.

Derek Ju, MBA ’24

Derek Ju Headshot.
Derek Ju, MBA ’24

What will you always remember about your time at Cornell? 

I genuinely appreciated how much the program allowed us as students to shape the experience we wanted to see, while creating a community that truly cares for each other. It’s rare to see other programs really give its students power and build an environment where people are willing to really get to know each other. One of my all time favorite moments is having the opportunity to create dumpling nights for the entire Johnson community in order to promote my Asian American heritage, and seeing the overwhelming support from administration and the diverse attendance of my peers. I was so happy to see people of so many backgrounds and experiences coming together and partake in the simple act of making food and conversing.

Doing the greatest good is a big part of being a Cornellian. How will you carry this into your career and life after Cornell?

Cornell has given me the tools and most importantly the confidence to be brave and stand up for what I believe in – empathetic leadership that supports diverse voices and puts people first. I’m excited to go back into tech, push for change (even if it’s slow), and help those around me understand why all of our voices matter and the impact that has on innovation, sustainability, and creating a more equitable world.

What is the most valuable thing you learned in your time at Cornell? 

We should be optimistic. Yes, things are really tough right now, we’re at a crossroads in climate change, it feels like so much of what’s going on in the world is out of our control, and so many people are fighting against us. But, seeing the people who are here, the things they care about and fight for, the amazing ideas and collaboration from so many different kinds of people, reminds me of the hope that we should all have. I choose to have tough conversations, create bridges for different groups of people through events, and create equity in our program because I know that so many people here at Cornell and throughout the world care just as much as I do, if not so much more. That’s what gives me hope about things changing in the future.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

Being able to go back into the real world (it’ll be nice to make money again haha) but also working and living in a totally new part of the US. I’m from Texas and have never lived outside of the state until being in Ithaca. I can’t wait for the new experiences, the new people, and the lifelong friends I’ve made at Cornell.