From the 2010-11 to the 2011-12 school year, international student enrollment at the Johnson Graduate School of Management rose from 22 percent to 34 percent, signaling a return to pre-recession levels. The increase is consistent with a trend at peer institutions nationwide, according to Christine Sneva, director of admissions and financial aid for the Johnson School.
Brendan O’Brien, director of the International Students and Scholars Office, said that the increase of international business students at Cornell is a “reflection of the fact that students realize they will have to compete in a global society.”
Recruitment of international students to the Johnson School has also become increasingly important to the University, O’Brien said.
“The business world is becoming so much more global,” he said. “There’s so much more trade between nations than there ever has been.”
Though the University only offers need-blind admissions for American students, the amount of financial aid available for international students is also on the rise, according to O’Brien.
Sneva said that the Johnson also offers a competitive loan program that doesn’t need to be co-signed and can cover the full tuition.
“With the rising cost of tuition, it is very important to have a loan program in place that is fair and competitive for our international students,” she said.
Sneva said there are many benefits available to international students who attend the Johnson School, such as access to an extensive alumni network.
“Students looking to work abroad use the Johnson alumni network, Career Management Center knowledge and experiences, as well as additional connections through other Cornellians,” Sneva said. “It is a huge advantage to be a part of such a vast and inclusive community that is responsive. It doesn’t matter how big the alumni network is at a school if no one is willing to return your call.”
Sneva said that the Johnson seeks a diverse class of students, recruiting in approximately 100 cities worldwide.
“I believe all business schools are offering a more globalized programming focus and Johnson is obviously doing the same,” Sneva said. “International students greatly add to the diversity at Johnson through their professional and personal life experiences. The dialogue and team dynamics would not have the type of peer-to-peer influences and cultural awareness without a diverse student body.”
Roberto Cusato grad said the Johnson has given him experiences unlike any he would have had encountered at an institution abroad.
“I am learning a different way to do business, and I am learning a lot about different cultures based on the many nationalities represented at Johnson,” he said.
Alessandro Anzani grad, who earned two master’s degrees in Italy before enrolling at the Johnson School, echoed this sentiment, saying that the school “exposed [him] to another environment.”
“The American classmates learn the subjects in class,” Anzani said. “I learn everything every second of my experience.”
Anzani credited the favorable Euro-to-U.S. Dollar exchange rate and Europe’s economic crisis as factors that helped draw international students to American business schools. He said that he plans to start his career in the U.S. “just to prove that I can make it here,” but then move on to “developing countries where my money is worth more and the quality of life is higher.”
Cusato said the Johnson’s “Ivy League status and global reputation” influenced his decision to attend the school. He also said that U.S. business schools typically offer an internship to help students gain work experience, whereas European business schools “cater more toward people with a lot of work experience.”
Both Anzani and Cusato said that international students sometimes find it challenging to find jobs in the U.S.
However, Sneva said that the Johnson School’s career service programs are “the same for every student, regardless of citizenship” and offer international students access to a lawyer to “help work through visa and immigration issues.”
Though the Johnson School is currently focusing on a more international curriculum, Cusato said that many international students still intend to begin their careers in the U.S. before returning abroad.
“I believe the U.S. is the perfect place to start a post-MBA career, given the higher salaries and the innovative mentality of the country,” he said. “I am sure that I will learn a lot and I am sure that I will be able to translate my future knowledge to other companies worldwide.”
Original Author: Sarah Meyers