Cornell johnson shares class of 2020 stats

As 280 first-year MBAs arrived for the first day of school on Cornell’s Ithaca, New York campus, the class contained 6% more women than the previous year — up to 33% from 27%, an achievement the school attributes to a laundry list of initiatives, including increased scholarships for women who enroll, better conversions among those who participate in the annual Johnson Women in Business event, and an all-around rally by the Johnson community to strengthen and improve the experience of women at the school.

“The year-over-year change in our international student enrollment looks more pronounced than it is,” Judi Byers , executive director of admissions & financial aid, tells P&Q. “While we saw a slight decline in the overall number of international submissions made during the 2017-18 season, we offered admission to several more international candidates and were consciously selective to enroll the candidates for which the school is in the best position to support with regard to their career goals and objectives.”


Byers alludes to the strenuous climate facing many internationals, saying, “The challenges impacting international students right now are not unique nor specific to any one program in the U.S.; our approach with regard to international student enrollment is to maintain the global diversity that our community values while also maintaining a high level of support throughout the entirety of the MBA experience.”

The executive director reports that there were a handful of international students who were set to join the latest incoming class, but were granted deferrals to due to visa complications or delays. “In these instances, I want to ensure that the candidates we’ve selected to join our program and community are given the full support they need to successfully enroll,” Byers says.

Whether a decline in international student enrollment is the continuation of a trend among top full-time MBA programs remains to be seen, as we await the release of more Class of 2020 profiles. Nevertheless, falling below 30% in international students appears to be a deviation compared to such peer schools as Columbia Business School, Yale School of Management, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and New York University’s Stern School of Business, the latter of which is the only school to have released 2018 incoming class stats thus far.

This fall, Stern increased international students from 37% to 39%. In 2016, the incoming class had 31% international students. Women in the class, however, dropped from 38% last year to 35% this year — a stat that’s divergent in its own right compared to top other B-schools that are currently increasing the number of women in their full-time MBA programs.

While Class of 2020 intakes haven’t yet been released by Columbia and Duke, a glance at where they stood a year ago shows that 30% international students or higher seems to be a norm for this peer group. Columbia’s 2017 entering class of full-time MBAs consisted of 43% international citizens and 41% women. In 2016, 48% were international students, 38% were women. In the case of Duke, last year’s incoming class was 39% international students, down just 1 percentage point from 2016. Yale maintained 45% international students in its 2017 incoming class.

“Our acceptance rate for this year was 33%, up from 30% the year prior, and reflective of our decision to emphasize class composition as a school priority, value, and enrollment objective,” she says. “The overall professional experience and academic profile of candidates who enrolled this year remained strong and our community is more diverse — with more women and students from underrepresented backgrounds (including LGBTQ) — now too, which is already shifting the experience to be richer and more inclusive than it was previously.”