Cornell Reaches Out

A revamping of the admissions office means, among other things, finding more ways to connect with prospective students

Like every top B-school, Cornell's Johnson School certainly has its fair share of consultants and investment bankers, but director of admissions Randall Sawyer also has a soft spot for nontraditional candidates or those looking to make a career transition. In fact, as a 15-year public relations practitioner who only this year switched over to the admissions office, Sawyer fits that profile himself.

And while the Johnson School's reputation as "the friendly school" is well-deserved, says Sawyer, potential MBAs should note that "friendly" doesn't mean "easy." Standards are set high, in class and out, and Sawyer says he's not looking for ticket-punchers who attend classes and then go straight home without participating in any of the school's many groups and clubs. (The school's tight-knit culture, after all, is no accident.)

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