Cornell / Oxford

Hi Ive got admission into SBS- Oxford University and Johnson School- Cornell University. Since Ive already paid the initial deposit at Oxford and have now been admitted to Cornell I need to make a decision whether to stick to Oxford or change…


Ive got admission into SBS- Oxford University and Johnson School- Cornell University. Since Ive already paid the initial deposit at Oxford and have now been admitted to Cornell I need to make a decision whether to stick to Oxford or change my preference to Cornell. I was wondering if any of you could help me with my queries.

My Background:
Academic: B.E. (Civil) - Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, India
Work Experience: 6+ in Dubai, U.A.E.
Currently residing in Dubai

Please note that money is not a criterion for selection.

On the whole, how does the Oxford MBA compare to the Cornell MBA?

Would the Oxford one year programme teach everything that a Cornell Two-year programme would? Since I might be looking at a career change after completing the MBA programme, would a two year course be more beneficial?

Rankings (Financial Times) show that Oxford is growing very fast whereas Cornell has been consistently falling in the rankings. Is this indicative of the way the recruiters perceive the MBA programme?

What are the job opportunities available after graduating from Cornell? Location of work is not a concern, am open to working in any country. How are both the institutes viewed by corporates?

How is the Cornell MBA currently perceived in India? Oxford as a brand name is famous everywhere but how good is Cornells brand name in India or the US for that matter?

Your response would be of great help!

Thanks and Regards


Hey Lovraj,

Congrats on the admit! I thought u were waitlisted there.

Firstly are u heading back to your family business or not? Cos maybe the brand recognition in Dubai will matter more then. But if you are looking at job opportunities and good MBA and all the works, I believe Cornell is better. Check out the other rankings - Business Week : 7, Economist : 17, US News : 15. (THese are last yrs ranks, but the current ones wont change much) Cornell is definitely a top notch school.

Oxford is a brilliant brand name, but in terms of MBA it has a lot to grow. The program is not that well known. I would not depend on just one ranking (FT) to make a decision.

Regarding career shift - Personally I feel a 2 yr program is better. It'll give you depth in your MBA and also will give you a good chance to evaluate the industry best for you. This is (among others) one of the reasons I chose Yale over ISB.

I've been told that the location of Cornell is not that great. But since its among the top schools, recruitment shd not be a prob. Also, if I'm not wrong, its Ivy League!!!

These were my 2 cents.

Best of luck with the decision!



Yugita has hit the nail on the head. My vote for Cornell too


Hi Yugita

Thanks for your input. But what do you think about the fact that Oxford has consistently been growing in the rankings over the years and has reached the top 20 this year while Cornell has fallen from Rank 16 in 2004 to Rank 36 this year. Within 10 years time an MBA from Oxford has reached the top 20. This is in spite of the fact that Oxford is a one year programme while Cornell is a two year course.

Im considering the FT Rankings because most other rankings don't rank all the B Schools in one list. Even in the Forbes 2005 Rankings, Oxford is 7th in Best Non US B Schools and Cornell is 9th in the US Top 10. Business Week Rankings are 2004 rankings and between 2004 and 2006 Oxford has really grown so it could be possible that in the latest Business Week rankings Oxford could reach the top 5 or top 10.

Also what do you think about the fact that an MBA from Oxford is backed by an 800 year old university? According to me the university will ensure that the business school reaches to the level of the university.

Coming back to my family business is not mandatory and I would want to keep all options open. I know you feel a two year programme is better for a career change but do you think that one can look at a career change option with a one year programme? Or a career change is not possible after a one year programme?

Thanks for your help!



Hey Lovraj,

Firstly dont depend so much on rankings. Each ranking has its own methodology and style. What I look for is an indication. So to get an idea of the college I look at 4-5 rankings and get an indication how the college is perceived gobally. After that what I wld look at wld be -

1) Curriculum : What are u looking for in an MBA. IF you are looking at certain subjects and certain areas then u need to study the curriculum.

2) Student perception : U wld feel that students will always talk good abt the school they are in but that is not necessarily true. Its good to talk to as many students, current as well as alum to really understand the positives as well as negatives of the school. I hv spoken to few friends who are in US to understand their perception of Cornell and they hv all viewed it as a really good school. The only negative I hv heard is its location. Its bloody cold there and its an isolated place.

3) Placement options - where wld u like to work? A friend had an admit from LBS as well as Yale, but he choose the latter because he wanted to work in US and etc etc.

As such faculty is good in all the top schools so I wldnt worry much abt that.

Oxford is yes, a very old university, but Cornell too was founded in somewhere 1800. I think 2 centuries old plus a member of the Ivy League is more than sufficient to give its a strong and credible backing. After that whether the comparable school is 100 yrs old or 800, it dsnt matter. Additionally, Said was founded in 1996 while Johnson in 1946 (plus or minus 1-2 yrs) So the MBA school of Cornell is already well established vis-a-vis Oxford.

Cornell might hv slipped in FT rankings, but its held its ground in economist, Business week and US news. Duke was few yrs back among the top 5 but it slipped in rankings after that. But that dsnt change the fact that it is a really good school. Yale is ranked abysmally low in Business week (22), but its ranked amazingly high in the other rankings,

Career change can of course happen in a 1 yr program. It all depends on you and your skills of networking.

Finally, both are good schools. But Cornell is considered a better MBA school over Oxford. BUT, in the end, it depends on what your parameters of judging are. IF Oxford is making very conscious efforts to improve its rankings and grow as an MBA school, it wld be interesting to be part of that process and witness the change first hand.

Its a good position to be in. Enjoy!!!!!!!

I completely agree with Yugita.
And also if we observe the no:of MBA graduates from Cornell since its inception is quite large than from Said.This increases the no:of alumni and also improves your network(which is quite important in MBA).
And also one can loans and other things very easily from Cornell compared to that of Said.Oxford university might have a great name,but that doesnt necessiate that the MBA education is so well structured and has improved to great standards.

Hi Lovraj

I believe that you can only get opinions from us, But end of the day you have decide since its your call. I believe you should ask yourself some basic questions that would help in deciding.

Why MBA in the first place ?

What kind of career shift you are looking at after the MBA? Which business function do you intend to specialise in ? you need to be very clear on what sort of career move you are looking at. Ambivalence in this are could be detrimental in decision making. Review both the programs in detail, including the courses offered, program structure, faculty etc and then decide which program is more aligned to your goals and aspirations.
Europe or US ?

One year or Two year ? Are you looking at coming back to working faster ? If time is not constraint then perhaps both programs would weigh equally. Although I feel it is not fare to compare a one year program with a two year program.
Try to get in touch with alumni and current students at both universities. They would be in a better position to answer your questions.

Are you looking at Joining you family business ? You should have a Yes or No as an answer to this. Once you have an answer to this you can check out the kind of companies that hire from these programs and then decide what companies you are looking at ?

An MBA abroad is a huge invstement of both time and money. So my friend you need to decide which program suits you better, because its only you who know what exactly you are looking to draw from an MBA.

All the best !!



Hi All,

I have a different opinion from others on this thread (consensus is to choose blindly choose Cornell). I disagree.

There are several advantages of Oxford over Cornell
1) HSMP . Getting work visa in UK is MUCH MUCH easier after HSMP. I know that even a MBA from Cornell would give you HSMP in UK. But a MBA from Oxford would obviously be much prestigious than Cornell in UK.
The HSMP is a huge boon. You can stay and get PR in UK (possibly even citizenship). This is a huge advantage over US where even if you manage an H1 there is no guanrantee getting a PR (heard of people working in US for 9 years and still not getting PR). In UK through HSMP PR is guaranteed if you get the job.
2) Oxford brand: This brand is huge all over the world. I would say unless you wannawork in NYC/Boston then Cornell anywhere else Oxford.
The brand of Oxford is much stronger in places like S'pore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Africa, Europe than brand of Cornell. Plus even if your main goal is Investment banking, the Oxford degree will really help you out. You'll get job in London rather than NYC. So the same i-bank will offer you a job in NYC if you are from Cornell and in London if you are from Oxford. Keep in mind Oxford degree will be cheaper than Cornell as it is 1 year.
The Oxford brand is huge and you can certainly use that brand to change jobs. The MBA program may not be good, but then recruiters think very highly ok Said MBA.
3) After 9/11 US not so welcoming as before. This could be a factor.
4) UK has better public transportation, so lesser need to buy a car. Factor this in your costs.
5) Oxfordshire is >>> Ithica. Oxford much more diverse. More desis/desi restaurants than Ithica.

I'm sure there are other advantages / plus a few disadvantages (lack of loan etc).
But certainly Cornell is not a hands down winner. On the other hand Oxford could well be the better alternative.
On a side note, in US (at least in Texas where I have quite a few acquantances) when I ask what's the best b-school outside US, uniformly they say Oxford/Cambridge rather than INSEAD/IMD. So Oxford brand is quite strong in US too.

Anyway make your decision. Just getting my point of view