News, Advice and Resources for Columbia Business School Applicants

 


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COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL 

 
 
~72.2% yield
 
also known as 
  • The Columbia Business School MBA Program
  • CBS

 


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Vince tips and analysis ▸ Columbia Business School MBA Class of 2016 Essays

Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.

Class Profile

Short Answer Question: post-MBA goal in 100 characters

Essay 1: why MBA, why now, why CBS?

Essay 2: how NYC will impact your CBS experience?

Essay 3: surprise your Cluster peers

Optional Essay: explain areas of concern (academic or personal)

Reapplication Essay: how you have enhanced your candidacy

Recommendations



 

 


 

 

Class Profile

 

Columbia Business School looks for intellectually driven people from diverse educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. Our students share a record of achievement, strong leadership, and the ability to work in teams.

 

Columbia Business School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, nationality, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability, or veteran status.

 

MBA Student Profile — Class Entering 2012 (January and August)  

 

Applications Received ▸ 5409

Class Size ▸  741, divided into 11 clusters

January Entry Class Size ▸ 196, divided into 3 clusters

August Entry Class Size ▸ 545, divided into 8 clusters

GMAT Scores (average) ▸ 715

GMAT Scores (middle 80%) ▸ 680–760

Undergraduate GPA (average) ▸ 3.5

Undergraduate GPA (middle 80%) ▸ 3.1–3.8

Work Experience (average) ▸ 5 years

Work Experience (middle 80%) ▸ 3–7 years

At Least One Year of Work Experience ▸ 99%

Average Age ▸ 28

Age Range (middle 80%) ▸ 25–31

Women ▸ 38%

Minority of US Origin ▸ 35%

International Citizens ▸ 38%

 

Undergraduate Major



 

Previous Industry



 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/classprofile; accessed 2013/06)





 

 


 

Short Answer Question: post-MBA goal in 100 characters

 

THE QUESTION

 

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (100 characters maximum)

 

Examples of possible responses

 

  • “After my MBA I want to join a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy and power companies.”

 

  • “I hope to work in business development for a media company that is expanding its reach in Asia. ”

 

  • “My goal is to work for an investment firm that focuses on community development projects.”


 

(found at https://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/applynow/apprequirements#essays; accessed 2013/06)




 

THE QUESTION BEHIND THE QUESTION

 

Can you get a job?



 

MY ASSUMPTIONS

 

What you say

 

Are you a double switcher?

 

A double switcher is an applicant who seeks to change two of three variables post-MBA

 

The three variables are

industry

function

location

 

Admissions Committees might be concerned if you are a double switcher

 

A double switcher might appear to have unrealistic career expectations


 

How you say it

 

Concision is critical

 

If you know your plan, you can express it concisely

 

If you can express your career vision concisely, you are more likely to secure internships that lead to offers





 

STORY PATTERN ONE

 

Change industry



 

STORY PATTERN TWO

 

Change function



 

STORY PATTERN TWO

 

Change location











 

 


 

 

Essay 1: why MBA, why now, why CBS?

 

THE QUESTION

 

Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (Maximum 500 words)

 

(found at https://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/applynow/apprequirements#essays; accessed 2013/06)




 

QUESTIONS BEHIND THE QUESTION

 

Why MBA?

 

Why now?

 

Why Columbia?




 

Short term career goal

 

 

 

What job do you want post-MBA?

 

 

 

My assumption: Admissions Committee readers want to see a goal that is both realistic and ambitious

 

 

 

Are you trying to use your MBA to change careers, or advance your current career?

 

 

 

My assumption: Most short term goals fit into one or more of these three categories

 

 

 

1. Vertical move (advance current career)

 

 

 

2. Change career (horizontal move)

 

 

 

Go into financial services

 

Go into consulting

 

Go into consumer goods / marketing

 

Go into technology

 

Go into media / entertainment

 

Go into non-profit / social ventures

 

 

 

3. Join or launch start-up (entrepreneur)

 

 

 

 

 

Long term career goal

 

 

 

What job do you want in five to ten years?

 

 

 

My assumption: Most long term goals can be simplified to fit one of two paths

 

 

 

CEO (C-level executive role such as CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, CIO, etc.)

 

 

 

lead an existing organization

 

 

 

entrepreneur

 

 

 

join or create a new organization

 

 

 

My assumption: If you plan to lead a large organisation, you need to know how to

 

 

 

scale a business

 

hire the right people

 

drive growth to match market conditions

 

 

 

How does an MBA best prepare you to transition from your short term goal to your C-level executive role?

 

 

 

My assumption: A future CEO might be trying to use an MBA to help transition

 

 

 

1. From specialist to generalist

 

2. From tactician to strategist

 

3. From problem solver to problem finder

 

 

 

The entrepreneur path

 

 

 

My assumption: if you plan to create a company, you should know how to

 

 

 

identify and capture opportunities

 

 

 

create products and services that reflect market conditions and excite customers

 

 

 

Whether you are trying to become CEO of an existing company or founder of a new company

 

 

 

Show confidence: You WILL achieve this goal with or without business school

 

 

 

Still, earning your Columbia MBA accelerates your progress and maximises your potential

 

 

 

A good long term goal represents the next logical step after you achieve your short term goals

 

 

 

For instance, if you plan to spend a few years in management consulting, then it might make sense to move into a management role at a leading company in your coverage area

 

Doing so would allow you to utilise the expert knowledge and skills, as well as the professional relationships, that you established during your consulting career

 

 

 

Why MBA?

 

 

 

Columbia does not specifically ask why you want an MBA, but I encourage you to think about it

 

 

 

First, why are you NOT pursuing a specialised masters (Masters in Finance, Master in Technology) or a Ph.D.?

 

 

 

Most importantly, how does an MBA best prepare you to build the skills you need?

 

 

 

For example, you might need:

 

 

 

technical knowledge of finance and accounting

 

analytical skills, including corporate strategy, strategic planning (long-term thinking)

 

interpersonal skills to motivate experts in finance, accounting, sales, marketing, engineering, and operations

 

 

 

Clients sometimes ask me to explain the difference between technical skills and analytical skills. Here is my answer:

 

 

 

Technical knowledge and skills is the type of knowledge you need to understand a task. For instance, the accounting knowledge you need to understand what auditors do

 

 

 

According to NYTimes columnist David Brooks,

 

 

 

"Technical knowledge is like the recipes in a cookbook. It is formulas telling you roughly what is to be done. It is reducible to rules and directions. It's the sort of knowledge that can be captured in lectures and bullet points and memorized by rote." (found at http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/opinion/Brooks-The-Practical-University.xml?f=76; accessed 2013/04)

 

 

 

Analytical skills sometimes involve technical knowledge (finance and and accounting knowledge) but they are often more complex and more sophisticated than technical skills.

 

 

 

Sometimes, they require creativity and intuition. For example, strategy consultants display analytical skills when they form (and test) a business hypothesis

 

 

 

Business schools teach technical skills like finance and accounting so that students can apply these skills when analysing business cases

 

 

 

 

 

Why Columbia MBA?

 

 

 

What professors or programs best prepare you to achieve your short and long term goals?

 

 

 

 

 

Need help brainstorming? My Columbia MBA links are here ▸  https://delicious.com/admissions/Columbia






 

 


 

 

Essay 2: how NYC will impact your CBS experience?

 

THE QUESTION

 

Columbia Business School is located in the heart of the world's business capital - Manhattan. How do you anticipate that New York City will impact your experience at Columbia? (Maximum 250 words)

 

(found at https://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/applynow/apprequirements#essays; accessed 2013/06)



 

Please view the videos below:

 

Video 1 of 2: New York City - limitless possibilities

http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/video/newyork?ref=mbahome

 

Columbia Business School isn’t just located in New York — it’s enmeshed in it. From practitioners who double as professors to events with industry-leading CEOs and field trips to blue-chip companies and start-ups alike, Columbia leverages its relationship with the city to give students unparalleled access to one of the world’s business capitals.


 

Video 2 of 2: Campus and New York City - fast paced and adaptable

http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/campus

 

Columbia Business School isn’t just located in New York — it’s enmeshed in it. From practitioners who double as professors to events with industry-leading CEOs and field trips to blue-chip companies and start-ups alike, Columbia leverages its relationship with the city to give students unparalleled access to one of the hubs for global business.

 

An Oasis in the City

 

Nestled between Riverside and Morningside Parks, and a short walk from Central Park, Columbia’s campus in Morningside Heights is a sanctuary within the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Featuring Italian Renaissance–style architecture alongside cutting-edge modern buildings, sprawling plazas, lush lawns, and notable public art, the campus evokes a palpable sense of community. The neighborhood has the ambience of a college town but the convenience of a major city, with shops, restaurants, a farmer’s market, and — most importantly — a subway station that can transport you to the cultural and economic capital of the world.



 

Life at Columbia

 

Student Organizations

 

There are more than 100 active student organizations at Columbia Business School, ranging from cultural to professional to athletic tocommunity service–oriented. Together, they host more than 100 events every week, with many held during the School’s dedicated “Club Time” from 12:30 to 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. These organizations provide a valuable and stimulating complement to the academic curriculum and social environment. Leadership positions within the clubs also offer hands-on management and networking opportunities for students, and faculty members and alumni frequently get involved as advisers, event moderators, or panelists, while corporations often generously sponsor events.

 

See the list below for a sampling of some of the more popular student organizations at Columbia Business School.

 

Affinity | Community Service | Career and Professional

Social and Athletic | Student Government and Leadership


 

Affinity Clubs

 

Asian Business Association

Black Business Students Association

Cluster Q

Columbia Women in Business

Greater China Society

Latin American Business Association

South Asian Business Association


 

Community Service Organizations

 

Community Action Rewards Everyone

Financial Education Society

Harlem Tutorial Program

I-Prep



 

Career and Professional Clubs

 

Columbia Investment Management Association

Green Business Club

Healthcare Industry Association

Investment Banking Club

Management Consulting Association

Marketing Association of Columbia

Private Equity and Venture Capital Club

Real Estate Association

Retail and Luxury Goods Club

Social Enterprise Club


 

Social and Athletic Groups

 

Gourmet Club

Military in Business Association

Outdoor Adventure Club

Rugby Football Club

Wine Society

Women’s Touch Rugby

World Tour Club


 

Student Government and Leadership

 

Bernstein Leadership and Ethics Board

Graduate Business Association

Honor Board

International Student Advisory Board

 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/organizations; accessed 2013/06)





 

Speakers and Conferences

 

The convenience of Columbia Business School’s New York location and its close ties to the business, nonprofit, and government communities means that students are constantly afforded the opportunity to hear from the very leaders who are actively shaping the business landscape.

 

Many professors invite practitioners to guest-teach a class session, while other leaders address larger groups of students at on-campus events organized by student clubs, research centers, and regular speaker series such as the Silfen Leadership Series, the Nand and Jeet Khemka Distinguished Speaker Forum, the Sir Gordon Wu Distinguished Speaker Forum, the Montrone Seminar Series on Ethics, and more.

 

Conferences led by student clubs also attract well-known guest speakers, participants, and alumni from across industries and around the world, providing students with greater insights into the current business environment. These conferences are entirely student run and give club members the opportunity to build industry connections while applying the management skills they learn in the classroom.

 

Some of the larger student conferences include:

 

Black Business Student Association Conference

Columbia Investment Management Association Conference

Columbia Women in Business Conference

Healthcare Conference

India Business Conference

Marketing Association of Columbia Conference

Media Management Association Conference

Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference

Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Social Enterprise Conference

 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/speakers; accessed 2013/06)






 

Diversity at Columbia

 

Student collaboration that brings together a variety of perspectives and experiences leads to truly effective learning and leadership development. With this in mind, Columbia Business School is committed to promoting diversity in all its forms by recruiting students from an array of professional backgrounds, socioeconomic upbringings, racial and ethnic identities, and geographic locations. Nowhere is this commitment more apparent than in MBA clusters and learning teams, which are designed to bring together students from a range of backgrounds to help them learn together, both about the material and one another.

 

Student Initiatives

 

The School is constantly finding ways to further promote diversity, particularly through its more than 100 student organizations. These student-led groups provide opportunities throughout the semester for all students to celebrate the many different cultures present at Columbia Business School, and many are also involved in the career recruiting process and student-run conferences. The goal behind clubs affiliated with particular affinity groups is not only to provide a network of support for those students, but also to promote collaboration among clubs across the School.

 

Affiliations

 

In addition to the fellowships and scholarships designed to foster diversity in the full-time MBA program, the School is also closely affiliated with several national organizations that work to improve the diversity of leaders in the business world.

 

Management Leadership for Tomorrow

 

National Black MBA Association

 

National Society for Hispanic MBAs

 

Riordan Fellows Program

 

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity

 

Ten School Diversity Alliance

 

On-Campus Diversity Events

 

Throughout the year, the Admissions Office hosts recruiting events for underrepresented minorities. These events, which include Spotlight On: Diversity and Diversity Connect at Columbia, immerse prospective students in the Columbia Business School community, imparting a holistic understanding of the dynamic academic and social environments that exist on campus.


 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/diversity; accessed 2013/06)






 

Women at Columbia

 

Columbia Business School strives to lead top MBA programs in reflecting a more equitable gender balance among its population by actively recruiting talented and accomplished female students and faculty members, sponsoring events that address issues relevant to women in business, and providing on-campus support for recent mothers.

 

Student Initiatives

 

Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) is one of the most popular and successful student organizations on campus. CWIB hosts a series of events each semester specifically geared toward further strengthening the role of women in the business world, building connections with female alumni, and facilitating career recruiting in a range of industries. The annual Columbia Women in Business Conference, run entirely by students, attracts high-profile women speakers and industry insiders to discuss the various paths to success taken by women business leaders.

 

Affiliations

 

Columbia Business School is proud to partner with organizations both on and off campus that are devoted to supporting women in business.

 

Forté Foundation

 

85 Broads

 

10,000 Women Initiative

 

Office of Work/Life

 

On-Campus Events

 

The Admissions Office hosts two annual recruiting events designed for female applicants, Spotlight On: Women and Women Connect at Columbia, where prospective students have the chance to visit campus to meet current women students, alumni, and faculty members, discuss issues unique to women in business, and learn more about the experience for women at Columbia Business School.


 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/women; accessed 2013/06)






 

LGBT at Columbia

 

Located in the heart of New York City, Columbia Business School prides itself on being an open and welcoming community for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, faculty members, and administrators. The School’s population of LGBT students cuts across geography, experience, ethnicity, and gender to create one of the largest and most diverse LGBT groups among the world’s top business schools. In addition, Columbia Business School has the largest representation of straight allies among all business schools, and the School’s relationship with New York City affords LGBT students powerful networking opportunities and an extensive LGBT community.

 

Student Initiatives

 

Cluster Q, Columbia Business School’s LGBT student organization, has grown in membership for four consecutive years. The club provides a strong network for LGBT students within the School, as well as with alumni, recruiters, and students from across Columbia University. Cluster Q organizes a variety of social and career-oriented events throughout the year, helping to foster the LGBT community on campus and develop relationships with recruiters.

 

Cluster Q maintains relationships with many top firms – from finance to consulting to brand management – who actively recruit members of the Columbia Business School LGBT community .

 

Affiliations

 

Columbia Business School encourages students to network with their peers from other business schools. Each year, Cluster Q sends a large cohort of students to Reaching Out MBA, an LGBT-specific MBA career and networking conference.

 

The Admissions Office also actively participates in CHecK uS Out, a multi-school admissions event for LGBT prospective students organized by Columbia, Harvard, Kellogg, and Stanford that takes place in New York City and San Francisco each fall.

 

On-Campus Events

 

Each year the Admissions Office hosts LGBT Connect, an on-campus admissions event geared towards prospective LGBT students. This event gives prospective students the opportunity to visit campus and meet admissions officers, current LGBT students, and LGBT alumni.


 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/lgbt; accessed 2013/06)





 

Veterans at Columbia

 

The Military in Business Association (MIBA), Columbia Business School’s veteran student organization, has continually grown in membership as the veteran presence within the School community has increased. MIBA provides an incredibly strong network for veteran students within Columbia Business School, as well as with alumni, recruiters, and students from across the University.

 

Members come from all branches of the armed forces within the United States and internationally. By leveraging the experiences of current and former members, MIBA seeks — through camaraderie, support, and networking — to enhance the career success of all those with a connection to the Columbia Business School military community.

 

Student Initiatives

 

MIBA organizes a variety of social and career-oriented events throughout the year, strengthening the veteran community on campus and cultivating relationships with recruiters. MIBA also organizes events with current and former high-ranking military leaders such as former US Army Chief of Staff General George Casey and former Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman Jr.

 

In addition, MIBA has also sponsored student-wide happy hours, raised over $6,500 for Survivor Joe (an organization that supports currently deployed service members), and co-sponsored a successful social event with Cluster Q (Columbia Business School’s LGBT student organization) that raised over $3,000 in donations for The Trevor Project and Team RWB.

 

MIBA also maintains close relationships with many recruiters from top firms — from finance to consulting to brand management — who actively recruit MIBA members of the Columbia Business School veteran community.

 

Affiliations

 

The Admissions Office actively participates in several organizations related to veteran recruitment, including the Yellow Ribbon Program. In addition, a MIBA member attends the annual Service Academy Career Conference in Washington DC in order to speak with prospective students about Columbia Business School.

 

On-Campus Events

 

MIBA and the Admissions Office host an annual Fleet Week event for prospective students who have served in the armed forces. This event is held during Fleet Week and is open to Fleet Week participants as well as other active or former member of the military.


 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/veterans; accessed 2013/06)





 

Spouses, Partners, and Families

 

Starting graduate school can be a big adjustment for anyone, and that includes a student’s spouse, partner, or children — particularly when moving to a new city. While the transition can seem daunting, the Office of Student Affairs is committed to helping students and their families alike become part of the Columbia Business School community. In addition to online resources for you and your family, a student-led interest group, Columbia Better Halves, creates venues for significant others and families of students to meet. Activities include family-friendly events such as Halloween Family Day, playground activities, dinners, cultural excursions, and an important initiative during orientation to better prepare partners for the demands of an MBA education.

 

New York is an exciting place, and it offers plenty to do. Visit the University’s Exploring New York City for a resource listing to give you a head start on some aspects of life in New York, including museums, neighborhoods, transportation, and more.


 

(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/life/families; accessed 2013/06)





 

THE QUESTION BEHIND THE QUESTION

 

Will you attend CBS if we admit you?

 

What business opportunities have you identified that you can best capture by studying at CBS?

 

What academic and social opportunities have you identified that you can best capture by studying at CBS?



 

MY ASSUMPTIONS

 

Those who prioritize studying in an urban location will prioritize CBS.







 

STORY PATTERN ONE

 

NYC as business incubator




 

STORY PATTERN TWO

 

NYC as academic and cultural community




 

KEYWORDS

 

limitless possibilities

 

fast paced and adaptable







 

 


 

Essay 3: surprise your Cluster peers

 

THE QUESTION

 

What will the people in your Cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

 

(found at https://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/applynow/apprequirements#essays; accessed 2013/06)


 

QUESTIONS BEHIND THE QUESTION

 

What do you want your future classmates to know about you?

 
 

Do you know our student culture?

 

Why do you best fit Columbia's culture?

 

Do I want you at my party?

 

 

 

 

MY ASSUMPTIONS

 

Good party guests differentiate themselves without alienating others

 

You are unlikely to surprise Amanda and her team by telling them something they has never heard before

 

Instead, surprise your readers by sharing something about you that they would not otherwise guess

 

Or, simply tell an entertaining story that shows your unique experiences

 

 

 

 

 

STORY PATTERN ONE

 

Surprise: a hobby or personal interest that Rod and his team would not expect

 

Someone perceived to have "hard" skills shows their soft side (or vice versa)

 

Steve Jobs calligraphy

 

IT guy builds banking systems by day, sings in a punk band by night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STORY PATTERN TWO

 

Life journey

 

Travels along the Silk Road

 

One minute video with original music and photos; bands I joined or co-founed in each place I lived (and what each musical style shows about personality)

 

California hardcore funk

New Orleans jam band block parties at Jazz Fest

New York punk folk duo with spicy tuba

Tokyo virtual 'Second Life' blues band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEYWORDS

 

Use this story to demonstrate innovation and creativity

 

 




 

 


 

Optional Essay: explain areas of concern (academic or personal)

 

THE QUESTION

 

Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. (Maximum 500 words)

 

(found at https://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/applynow/apprequirements#essays; accessed 2013/06)



 

QUESTIONS BEHIND THE QUESTION

 

What aspects of your academic record might concern Admissions Committee readers?

 

What aspects of your personal history might concern Admissions Committee readers?



 

 

NOTE

 

You do NOT need to use this essay to explain gaps in your employment history nor reasons for not providing a letter of recommendation from your current (or most recent) supervisor

 

Columbia Admissions Committee gives you space to explain those areas of concern in the online application data form


 

“Please provide an explanation for any gaps in your employment history” (1000 characters available)

 

“Are you providing a letter of recommendation from your current (or most recent) supervisor?

If not, please explain” (300 characters available)

 

(found at https://apply.gsb.columbia.edu/apply/job; accessed 2013/06)













 

 


 

Reapplication Essay: how have you enhanced your candidacy?

 

THE QUESTION

 

How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate how you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals. (Maximum 500 words).


 

(found at https://apply.gsb.columbia.edu/apply; accessed 2013/06)








 

 


 


 

Recommendations

 

Instructions: Please submit two recommendations from individuals who can speak directly about your managerial ability and professional promise. The Admissions Committee prefers that one recommendation be from your direct supervisor. If you are unable to secure a recommendation from your direct supervisor, please submit a statement of explanation in the Employment section of your application. The other recommendation should be from a former supervisor, if possible, or another professional associate who is senior to you.

 

If you are a college senior or have worked full-time for less than six months, at least one, but preferably both, of your recommendations should be from an individual who can comment on your managerial abilities, such as a summer employer or another individual who you feel can objectively assess your professional promise. The second recommendation may be from a college professor.

 

Please note those who are reapplying to Columbia Business School are required to submit one additional recommendation. This recommendation must be from a recommender that you did not use in your previous application.

 

Applications are not considered complete until all required information is submitted; this includes recommendations.

 

(found at https://apply.gsb.columbia.edu/apply/ref; accessed 2013/06)


 

Recommendations

 

All applications require two recommendations. If you have been working full-time for at least six months, one recommendation should be from your current supervisor. The second recommendation should be from either a former direct supervisor or from another professional associate, senior to you, who can add personal insight into your candidacy.

 

If you are a college senior or have worked full-time for less than six months, at least one, but preferably both, of your recommendations should be from a person who can comment on your managerial abilities. You may ask a summer employer or another person who you feel can objectively assess your professional promise. The second recommendation may be from a college professor.

 

We ask recommenders to consider the following guidelines when writing their recommendations:

 

Your relationship to the applicant.

The applicant’s performance.

Strengths and weaknesses of the applicant.

The applicant’s interpersonal skills.

The applicant’s written and spoken communication skills.

How does the applicant accept constructive criticism or handle conflicts?

How effective are the applicant’s interpersonal skills in the workplace?

The most important thing you would like the Admissions Committee to know.

 

Please be aware, the Admissions Committee does require all application materials be submitted online, including recommendations.


 

(found at https://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/applynow/apprequirements#recommendations; accessed 2013/06)

 

 

 


 

for reference

 

 

 

 

Vince Columbia Business School

Admissions Tips for the Class of 2015

 

 

 


 

 

All deadlines are 11:59 p.m. EST on the date listed.

 


 

One MBA, Two Paths

Columbia Business School students may enroll in either August or January. The two paths, each comprised of four terms, merge in the fall of the second year to complete electives as a single class. The paths are identical in terms of competitiveness of admissions, academic rigor, and student resources, however they differ in terms of timing and the opportunity to complete a summer internship.

 

August Entry

About 70 percent of Columbia MBA students begin their studies in the fall term. After mandatory orientation in the second half of August, regular classes begin in September. Most August-entry students complete a summer internship between their second and third terms.

The August entry has two review periods — early decision and regular decision. Because the School uses a rolling admissions process, it is always to your advantage to apply well before the deadline.*

 Early Decision

  • Available for August entry applicants only
  • Application deadline in early October
  • Early decision applications are reviewed, and decisions rendered, before regular decision applications
  • Candidates have decided that Columbia is their first choice and must sign the following statement of commitment within their applications: I am committed to attending Columbia Business School and will withdraw all applications and decline all offers from other schools upon admission to Columbia Business School.
  • Applicants must submit a nonrefundable $6,000 tuition deposit within two weeks of admission

 Regular Decision

  • Candidates may submit regular decision applications as soon as the application becomes available in the summer
  • Regular decision applications are reviewed after early decision applications
  • No statement of commitment required
  • To be considered for merit-based fellowships, applications must be submitted by the specified merit-based fellowship deadline in early January
  • Final application deadline in April

January Entry 

Students who do not want or need an internship may consider beginning their MBA studies in January and completing their second semester of classes during the summer. A January start may be ideal for students who wish to remain in the same industry after graduation or pursue entrepreneurial interests. About 30 percent of students enter in January.

Please note that there is no early decision option for January entry and that, due the timing of the application cycle, January-entry applicants are not eligible for merit fellowship consideration. The Admissions Office begins reviewing applications for January entry once the application becomes available in June. The final application deadline is in early October.

*The deadline for the 3-year MBA/JD program is February 15, 2012.

 


 

Application Requirements  

Transcripts | GPA | GMAT or GRE Score | International Applicants
Essays | Recommendations | Interview | Application Fee

Transcripts 

A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution is required for admission to Columbia Business School. Applicants should scan and submit PDF versions of unnofficial transcripts from each college and university they have attended as a registered student.

Do not send paper transcripts via mail when first applying. If offered admission, you will be required to provide official transcripts from each of the colleges or universities you have attended. Offers of admission are not binding until academic records have been verified.

 


 

GPA  

Applicants are required to report their grade point averages (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. The reported GPA should include all courses for which you received credit or that were recognized for credit by your degree-granting institution.

If your undergraduate institution provides you with a cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale, enter your GPA (rounded to the nearest tenth) in the appropriate box.

If your school does not use the 4.0 scale, you will need to convert your school’s grading system to the 4.0 scale. Use the below table to calculate your grade-point average from each school you attended. For example, if your institution grades on an HH, H, P, LP, F scale (four passing grades), HH=4.0, H=3.3, P=2.3, LP=1.3, F=0. If your school does not use any of the scales listed here, please make a reasonable and conservative approximation of what your GPA would be on a 4.0 scale.

 


 

GMAT or GRE Score 

All applicants must submit a self-reported GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score (scores are valid for 5 years). Scores must be valid on the date of application submission.

If admitted, you must submit an official GMAT or GRE score. Columbia Business School’s GMAC code is QF8-N6-36 and its GRE code is 6442. The Admissions Committee will consider only your highest score when reviewing your application and will not combine subscores from multiple exams into a single composite score.

 


 

International Applicants 

International students who do not have a degree from an institution in which all instruction is conducted in English must take either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). You may be exempted from the TOEFL or the PTE only if you have earned a degree from an institution in which English is the language of instruction. We will not accept requests for exceptions to this policy.

The TOEFL and PTE scores are valid for two years. Your TOEFL or PTE score must be valid on the date of application submission.

Be sure to self-report your TOEFL or PTE score when completing your application. If admitted, you must submit an official score report. For the TOEFL, Columbia’s ETS code is 2174, MBA department code 02. For the PTE select "Columbia Business School" from the list of schools provided by Pearson. The Admissions Committee will consider only your highest score when reviewing your application.

 


 

Essays 

Applicants must complete one short answer question and two essays.

Short Answer Question

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (200 characters maximum)

Essay 1:

A. Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career, and how do you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals? (Maximum 500 words)

B. Please view this video, entitled Community at Columbia. Diverse, tight-knit clusters and carefully selected learning teams are defining features of the first year at Columbia Business School. Along with more than 100 student organizations and countless events each semester, the cluster system helps to create a supportive and devoted lifelong community. Describe why you are interested in becoming a part of the Columbia community. (Maximum 250 words)

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Essay 2:

Describe a personal experience and how it has influenced who you are today. This essay should have a personal rather than a professional focus. (Maximum 500 words)

Optional Essay

An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

Knight-Bagehot Fellows

Rather than answer the first essay question above, current Knight-Bagehot Fellows applying to Columbia Business School should use the space allocated to the first essay to complete the Wiegers Fellowship application essay.

 


 

Recommendations 

All applications require two recommendations. If you have been working full-time for at least six months, one recommendation should be from your current supervisor. The second recommendation should be from either a former direct supervisor or from another professional associate, senior to you, who can add personal insight into your candidacy.

If you are a college senior or have worked full-time for less than six months, at least one, but preferably both, of your recommendations should be from a person who can comment on your managerial abilities. You may ask a summer employer or another person who you feel can objectively assess your professional promise. The second recommendation may be from a college professor.

Recommendation questions include:

  1. What is your relationship to and how long have you known the applicant? Is he or she still employed by your organization?
  2. Please list three to five adjectives describing the applicant’s strengths.
  3. Please compare the applicant’s performance to that of his or her peers.
  4. What does the applicant do best?
  5. If you were giving feedback to the applicant regarding his or her professional performance and personal effectiveness, in what areas would you suggest he or she work to improve?
  6. How does the applicant accept constructive criticism or handle conflicts?
  7. How effective are the applicant’s interpersonal skills in the workplace?
  8. Please rate the applicant’s individual vs. team orientation (1 = most effective as an individual contributor; 5 = focused exclusively on the team)
    Please elaborate on your rating:
  9. Please give an example of how the applicant has demonstrated leadership.
  10. Is there anything else you feel we should know?

Please be aware, the Admissions Committee does require all application materials be submitted online, including recommendations.

 


 

Interview 

Interviews are not required for admission to Columbia Business School. However, applicants may be invited to participate in evaluative interviews conducted by alumni or current students. In most cases, interviews are offered in the applicant’s geographic area, and invitations to interview can be sent at any time after a completed application has been received by the Admissions Office. Interviews are by invitation only and cannot be requested.

 


 

Application Fee 

The nonrefundable application fee for the Columbia Business School MBA Program is US$250. Applicants are strongly encouraged to pay this fee via credit card (Visa or MasterCard only) within the online application system in order to expedite the processing of their application.

Applicants unable to pay by credit card should contact the Admissions Office at apply@gsb.columbia.edu for directions regarding alternative methods of payment.

Fee waivers are available to full-time students, active duty military personnel, and to members of the Peace Corps and Teach for America who are currently in service. Applicants who qualify for a fee waiver should email a fee waiver request to apply@gsb.columbia.edu. Please allow up to one week for an update to your online status confirming that your fee waiver has been approved.

 


 
 

THE NUMBERS


Entering Full-Time MBA Students: 739 Students
 
15.3% accepted = 6th most selective program*
72.2% yield = 6th highest yield rate*
6,666 applicants
1,023 accepted 
739 enrolled
*among 50 US MBA programs with lowest admit rate
(found at http://poetsandquants.com/2011/04/22/the-50-most-selective-mba-programs-in-the-u-s; accessed 2011/08) 

Average GMAT: 712
Median GMAT: 680 to 760 (middle 80%)
Lowest 10% GMAT range among admitted students: 680 or below
(found at http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/blogs/mba_admissions/archives/2011/08/gmat_how_low_is_too_low_for_top_b-schools.html;
accessed 2011/08)

Average Age: 28
Average Work Experience: 3 to 7 years (middle 80%)

Rolling Admissions: Yes

% Students who are Women: 35%
% Students who are I
nternational: 40%

Rankings
Bloomberg Businessweek: 9
U.S. News & World Report: 9
Financial Times: 7

Employment
Average Base Salary: $106,472
Median Base Salary: $100,000

(found at http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/school/columbia-business-school/a/info; accessed 2011/07)

 

 


 

 

PROFILE

 
In the provocative documentary Inside Job, which chronicles the origins of the global financial crisis of 2008, Columbia Business School endures a nasty beating due to its close and cozy alignment with Wall Street. Dean Glenn Hubbard, who had been chief economic adviser during the Bush administration, and finance professor Frederic Mishkin, a member of Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2008, both nearly make fools of themselves. No matter. If you’re headed into financial services, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more direct route than Columbia which probably has more alums on Wall Street than any other business school in the world (Wharton and NYU also are good bets but even they don’t exactly rival Columbia).
 
The school’s revised core curriculum, unveiled in fall 2008, provides students with tools for success applicable across industries and functions, giving them the tools they need to address the questions facing business leaders today. The core curriculum represents about 40 percent of the degree requirement — two full courses and 12 half-term courses. A specific feature of the new core is the introduction of a “flexible core.” In the second half of the second term, students select their core classes from three pre-specified menus (Organizations, Performance, and Markets), choosing a single course from each area. The redesigned core curriculum combines the content necessary for solid business management with a flexibility that allows students to choose core classes that best enhance their skills and experience.
 
 
MBA Program Consideration Set:
 
Stretch Schools: Harvard, Stanford
Match Schools: Chicago, Wharton, Dartmouth, Northwestern’s Kellogg School
Safety Schools: MIT Sloan, Berkeley, Duke, Virginia
 
(found athttp://poetsandquants.com/2010/12/09/columbia-business-school; accessed 2011/08)

 


 

CRITERIA

Admissions Criteria

Who makes a good applicant?

Columbia Business School looks for intellectually driven people from diverse educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. Students share a record of achievement, demonstrated, strong leadership, and the ability to work in teams.

The Admissions Committee seeks intellectually inquisitive applicants with superior academic credentials from their undergraduate and graduate programs. Excellent written and oral communication skills are essential. Fluency in multiple languages is not required for admission but is increasingly desirable for the study and practice of global business.

Over the past five years, competition for admission to Columbia Business School has continued to rise steadily. The School typically receives and reviews 5,500 to 7,000 full-time MBA applications each year, and in recent cycles only 15 percent of applicants were admitted.

 
 

 

FAQ 

Vince note: please read the Columbia MBA Admissions FAQs for useful tips ▸ http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/faq

 


 

LINKS

Need help with school research? Please check Vince's Columbia links ▸ http://bit.ly/ColLinks

 
 
 

TESTIMONIALS

Columbia Business School MBA Class of 2010

Vince is an unbeatable counselor who can provide the best customized service for clients based on his exceptional insight and vast experience with Top B-schools. I believe it was impossible to get admitted without him, considering my busy work and below-average test scores.

  • He provided me with flexible and attentive support beyond any large "yobikou" (prep. school).

  • Moreover, his practical advice and powerful brainstorming helped me clarify my essay topics efficiently.

  • At times, he seemed to think about my application far more seriously than me, which inspired me to work harder to maximize my potential to get where I am today.

 


- Updated by Vince on 11 Mar 2016

  • I have been a full-time international graduate admissions consultant since 2002

  • Based in Tokyo, Japan, I help clients around the world 

  • In 2007, I launched VincePrep because I wanted to help the best candidates aiming for the top schools

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  • If interested, please complete this intake form

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  • Thank you for your interest, and best wishes for your success!

 


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"First, you limit the number of your clients so that you can maintain the high quality of your services while many other MBA consultants accept clients almost beyond their capacity. Second, you are really great 'catalyst.' Each question you asked me made me think and thus deepened my stories. Thanks to you, I was able to come up with excellent ideas that I could never come up with alone."

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