Category Archives: Columbia

Columbia Business School Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

Columbia Business School has released its application deadlines and essays for the 2014-2015 admissions season. Like other business schools, Columbia has done some more trimming to its essays, which we discuss in more detail below.

Columbia stands out among top U.S. MBA programs because of its January intake in addition to the more common August/September intake. Columbia’s “J-Term” program allows students to complete their degrees in less than a year and a half, and is ideally suited for applicants who don’t need a summer internship — especially those who plan on returning to the same job or industry, and those who plan on starting their own business.

Here are the Columbia Business School application essays and deadlines for the 2014-2015 admissions cycle, followed by our comments in italics:

Columbia Business School Application Deadlines

January 2015 Entry: October 8, 2014
August 2015 Entry (Early Decision): October 8, 2013
August 2015 Entry (Merit Fellowship Consideration): January 7, 2015
August 2015 Entry (Regular Decision): April 15, 2015

Columbia is fairly unique among top business schools since uses a rolling admissions cycle. One way to look at it is that the one truly hard deadline for entry in Fall ’15 is the April deadline. The advice that we normally give regarding admissions deadlines still holds, though: We recommend that you apply early rather than later. Applying as late as March or April means competing for one of the very few seats still open at that point.

Also, remember that “Early Decision” means that you’re committing to attend Columbia if you are admitted. If you go back on your word, the worst that can happen is that you lose your deposit, but don’t forget the ethics of the situation: You take away a seat from someone who wants to attend Columbia more than you do. So, only exercise this option if Columbia truly is your first choice.

Columbia Business School Application Essays

Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (75 characters maximum)

Wow! Last year more than one admissions consultant said, “This response can’t get any shorter,” when Columbia asked this same question and gave applicants just 100 characters to work with (down from 200 characters the year before). Now, after the school has chopped 25 characters, we’ll take a risk and say it: It’s hard to imagine this response getting much shorter!

Almost regardless of how few characters you have to work with here, your main takeaway is this: Columbia’s MBA admissions team truly just wants a super brief headline about your post-MBA career goals to better understand where you think you want to go with your degree. That’s it. Think of the Short Answer Question as the positioning statement for your short-term career goals. Do you want to be known as the applicant who wants to start a non-profit organization, or perhaps the applicant who wants to sharpen his skills and return to the technology sector as a business leader? Columbia provides some examples on its site, and you’ll see that there’s nothing particularly creative or special about them (e.g., “Work for an investment firm that focuses on real estate.”). Avoid the temptation to get too gimmicky here, but remember that this is the one thing (about your short-term career goals) that you want the admissions committee to remember.

Essay Questions:

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

    This question carries over unchanged from last year, and so our advice mostly remains the same. This essay prompt is the fairly typical “Why an MBA? Why this school?: question that most business schools ask in their applications. Many applicants fail to adequately to explain why Columbia is the best place for them to earn their MBA, given the school’s culture, academic strengths, ties to certain industries, etc. Yes, Columbia has a big name and proximity to Wall Street. Those strengths are obvious. What else does Columbia offer that you can’t find anywhere else? And why — given where you’re coming from and where you want to go — is Columbia the best place for you to grow as a business leader? This is what the school is looking for when it asks about “fit.”
  • Please view the video below:
    The Center
    How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business?” (250 words)

    This question is new this year, although it replaces a question that wasn’t radically different last year. Basically, Columbia swapped out two videos for this one, and changed the question’s wording a bit, but the meat the this question hasn’t changed dramatically. So, our take hasn’t changed much from what it was last year: We find it interesting that the Columbia MBA admissions team chose to put so much emphasis on its New York City roots — we don’t think that many applicants need to be alerted to the fact that Columbia is in Manhattan or need to be sold on the benefits of being in New York. If you want to go into finance, then your answer here will obviously touch upon this fact. (Columbia bills itself as “The Very Center of Business” in this video, but much of the message relies on New York City’s reputation as a global hub.)Don’t limit yourself just to this obvious New York City tie-in, however. What other benefits do you expect you will gain from living and learning in one of the biggest cities in the world? Also, We’ve noted before that Columbia doesn’t want to be viewed as a commuter school in the middle of a huge city… Keep this in mind as you spell out how you will fit in at Columbia. Especially if you already live in New York, be sure to emphasize that you’re excited about immersing yourself in the Columbia culture.

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

    This question was new last year, and Columbia must like what it saw since the question returns unchanged for this year. This essay doesn’t need to be whimsical (although it can be), but it should present something that is interesting about you as a person, rather than rehashing something that’s already in your application or your resume. Go back to our comments above about fit and about Columbia wanting to build a strong community. Have an unusual hobby or funny story that people enjoy hearing? Can you think of something in your personal life that makes you feel very proud? This is the place to use it!

Like may other MBA programs, Columbia also provides space for an optional fourth essay. Our advice here is always the same: If you really do feel the need to explain something, then address it in this essay and then move on. Whatever you do, don’t dwell on it or provide that weakness with more stage time than it deserves!

If you plan on applying to Columbia, take a look at our industry-leading book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

A Look at 3 Top JD/MBA Programs

Even as applicant numbers at many law schools have dropped significantly over the past few years, JD/MBA programs at prominent universities still manage to attract a significant number of applicants. Whether it’s because of the flexibility the degree provides, or the ability to earn two degrees in compressed time, demand for these programs doesn’t seem to be in too much danger. Not any time soon, anyway.

Which JD/MBA program is right for you? As always, you owe it to yourself to do a great deal of research before applying to any such program — and before deciding that a joint degree really is right for you to begin with. Today we take a quick look at three of the most prominent JD/MBA programs in the United States. This isn’t our own ranking of the three very best business/law joint programs, but rather a snapshot of three programs that applicants ask about all the time. Let’s start with…

Columbia University
Columbia actually offers its JD/MBA programs in two flavors: a three-year program and a four-year option. The university introduced the three-year option back in 2010, and since then it has grown to dwarf the four year option, which is still available. In the three-year program, students spend their first year at Columbia Law School, then their second year at Columbia Business School, and then a mix of courses in their third year.

Columbia doesn’t offer the ease of a joint application; you need to apply to each program separately, and there’s a chance you will be admitted to one but not the other. (The two admissions offices may discuss your application.) 1L law students can apply to enter the three-year JD/MBA program, but 2L students may only apply to the four-year program, since they will have missed the planned second year at Columbia Business School.

Northwestern University
Northwestern was one of the pioneers of the three-year JD/MBA option. The school uses a more integrated admissions process, with applicants submitting just a single application to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. (Note that this means you only need to submit a GMAT score, and not an LSAT score.) From that point forward, a coordinator works as a liaison between the admissions department of the two schools for each application. 1L Northwestern law students may apply to the program, but Northwestern does not accept transfers from other law schools.

Similar to students at Columbia, Northwestern JD/MBA students spend their first year at the law school, then a year at Kellogg, and then do a year of both (but with a heavy emphasis on law courses). Given the fact that Northwestern Law is in Chicago and Kellogg is in Evanston (just outside of the city), and that students spend their first year at the law school, many students end up living in Chicago throughout the whole program.

University of Pennsylvania
Penn is also a relative newcomer to the world of three-year JD/MBA programs, having introduced its own in 2008. Penn’s JD/MBA admissions process is a bit if a hybrid of the two programs described above: Prospective students submit one application through Penn’s Wharton School, but then must wait on separate decisions from Wharton and Penn Law. Also, in Penn’s case applicants need to submit both an LSAT score and a GMAT or GRE score. Current 1L Penn Law students may also apply to the program.

Penn touts its JD/MBA program as being the most integrated such program at any top school. Students in Penn’s JD/MBA program spend their first year at Penn Law. Their second year includes Wharton’s typical core courses and more law classes, and then their third year covers more blended coursework as well as a capstone course. Most Penn JD/MBA students live in or around Philadelphia’s Center City.

Wondering if you have what it takes to get into one of these competitive JD/MBA programs? Pick up a copy of our industry-leading book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Columbia Business School Essays for 2012-2013

After releasing its application deadlines for the 2012-2013 admissions season, Columbia Business School has released its admissions essays, and we’ll dig into those today:

Columbia Business School Application Essays

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

You read that right… It’s 200 characters, not words! This question was new last year, and naturally it made waves by being so short & sweet. It has changed every so slightly this year: Columbia added the word “immediate,” presumably to keep applicants even more focused on what they plan to do coming right out of school. Think of this “essay” as the positioning statement that sums up your career goals in one sentence. Do you want to be known as the applicant who wants to run a sports team, or perhaps the applicant who wants to launch a renewable energy startup? Columbia provides some examples on its site, and you’ll see that there’s nothing particularly creative or special about them. No need to take too many risks or get too gimmicky here, but remember that this is the one thing (about your career goals) that you want the admissions committee to remember about you.

Essay Questions

  • 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? (500 words)

    This question has evolved a bit since last year. First of all, Columbia broke it into two parts, with Columbia moving the “Why Columbia?” question to the second part. Despite the changes, we’d still categorize it as the typical “Why an MBA?” question that many top MBA programs ask. Yes, you are right to point out that this question is a tad redundant given the Short Answer Question, but think of that as the headline that partly sums up this essay. Like every other school, Columbia asks this question to get a sense of where you’re going with your career, whether your goals are realistic, and whether you “get” what an MBA can (and can’t) do for you.
  • 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)

    This is where those other 250 words went. As we have said before, many applicants fail to adequately to explain why Columbia is the best place for them to earn their MBA, given the school’s culture, academic strengths, ties to certain industries, etc. Yes, Columbia has a big name and proximity to Wall Street. Those strengths are obvious. What else does Columbia offer that you can’t find anywhere else? This is what the school is looking for when it asks about “fit.” Also, pay attention to how many times the phrase “Despite being in NYC…” (or something similar) comes up in the video. We’ve noted before that Columbia doesn’t want to be viewed as a commuter school in the middle of a huge city… Keep this in mind as you spell out how you will fit in at Columbia.
  • Describe a personal experience and how it has influenced who you are today. This essay should have a personal rather than a professional focus. (500 words)

    This question has been reworded, but the thrust of it is the same as it was last year, when Columbia introduced it to its application. Therefore, our advice mostly remains the same. We still like the more direct nature of this question, which asks for a specific life experience, rather than simply asking about your personal interests, which Columbia’s application used to do. Remember that, when a school tweaks an essay prompt from year year to the next, that usually means that the admissions committee wasn’t quite getting what it wanted. Our guess is that Columbia is trying even harder now t put the focus on your personal side, not the professional you. Don’t be afraid to reveal something that seems a little more personal than what you thought you would share going into this process… They clearly want to see how you have grown and evolved in your relatively young life.
  • Columbia also provides space for an optional fourth essay. Our advice here is always the same: If you really do feel the need to explain something, then address it and move on. In other words, don’t dwell on it or provide that weakness with more stage time than it deserves!

    To stay on top on all of the latest news about Columbia and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Get to Know: Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School attracts more applications than nearly any other MBA program every year. It’s no surprise, given how many grads Columbia places into high-paying Wall Street jobs every year. What may surprise you, though, is how many applicants apply to Columbia without really knowing whether or not it’s a good fit for them. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Columbia applications.

Are you thinking about applying to Columbia? How do you know if Columbia really is a good fit for you? Today we present a few things you should know as you research the school. The more these things sound like you, the more you should consider Columbia Business School:

You want an accelerated program
As mentioned above, the Columbia J-Term is the only accelerated MBA program available in the U.S. It’s not the right option for everyone, but if you are committed to your existing career and just need more skills to advance, or if you’re an entrepreneur or will be returning to a family business, the J-Term can be an ideal choice, with lower opportunity cost than the traditional two-year track.

You have a bit more work experience
While Columbia will review any application that comes in, it’s tougher for younger candidates to be successful here, while those with more work experience might see a favorable outcome.

You want an EMBA from two great programs
Earning your degree through one of Columbia’s Executive MBA programs, in partnership with either London Business School, or UC Berkeley’s Haas School, means that you will be an alumni of both programs, offering a combined breadth of opportunities and resources unheard of for graduates of most elite programs.

You want to work on Wall Street
This hardly needs to be mentioned, but in case it’s not obvious: Columbia is a major feeder program to the bulge bracket i-banks, hedge funds, and the most elite financial institutions in the world. Goldman Sachs only recruits at a handful of schools: here, and at Wharton and LBS. If you want to play with the big boys, this could be the place for you.

Want more advice on getting into Columbia Business School? We cover Columbia in detail in our book, Your MBA Game Plan, which is now in its 3rd edition! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Five Things We Like About Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School attracts no shortage of competitive applicants. It’s no wonder, given the school’s strong ties to the banking sector and its Ivy League heritage. You would be surprised, however, by how many applicants don’t really know the school before they apply. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Columbia applications.

Are you thinking about applying to Columbia Business School? How do you know if Columbia really is a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the Columbia admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school? Today we look at five things that set Columbia apart from other top-ranked MBA programs:

The New York Advantage
This used to be Columbia’s tagline, and we feel it still holds true for this school. The wealth of resources available — and the wealthy resources — are all potentially advantageous to a student at Columbia Business School. Columbia had over 400 speakers on campus last year. While the “other” New York business school is perhaps better situated in terms of the geography of the Isle of Manhattan, the reputation and clout of Columbia Business School continues to pull New York’s movers and shakers up to Morningside Heights.

Master Classes
These project-based electives are superlative in terms of offering the ability of second-year students to roll up their sleeves and apply what they have learned. This is one element of Columbia’s focus on combining theory with practice.

Value Investing
A cornerstone of Columbia’s finance program is the Value Investing Program in the Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing. Perhaps the most famous value investor in the world is Warren Buffett, a graduate of this program. The basic approach of value investing is evaluating fundamentals against market price to determine intrinsic value for a long-term buy-and-hold strategy. A variety of Value Investing classes and resources are available to Columbia’s entire MBA and EMBA student bodies, however the Value Investing Program is only open to MBA students, with a competitive application process for admission. The advantages? It’s taught by more than 25 investors who serve as adjunct faculty. These are practitioners, not just academics. Students also benefit from an impressive roster of guest speakers, and invaluable mentorship and recruiting support. About 40 students are selected based on interest and “aptitude” for investing as expressed in an application essay, mandatory interview, and a two-page writeup of a proposed long or short investment. Many classes in the Value Investing Program require students to pitch ideas, usually multiple pitches per class. This type of hands-on training — and the exposure students get to marquee Wall Street firms – puts Columbia’s Value Investing Program in a category by itself.

An Accelerated Option
Columbia is the only full-time day MBA program in the U.S. that offers two intakes, September and January — and the J-Term allows students to progress through in the quickest possible time, at just 16 months end to end. No other American business school makes its same full-time MBA curriculum available in such an accelerated format. If you’re interested in accelerated MBA options and want to study in the U.S., Columbia is a must for your short list.

A Broad Range of Excellence
While certainly Columbia is known for finance — after all, value investing was invented here — it also has well-regarded faculty from, and deep connections to, media, real estate, marketing, and other fields.

To stay on top of all the news and trends in MBA admissions, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Columbia Business School Receives $100 Million Gift

Earlier this month Henry Kravis, a Columbia MBA (Class of 1969), made headlines recently when he announced a gift of $100 million to Columbia Business School. The donation will help fund the construction of Columbia Business School’s new facilities in Manhattanville, just north of the Columbia’s Morningside Campus. (We wonder if some of that money may also go toward soap and charm school for Columbia MBAs, given a recent piece in the Huffington Post!)

Of course, when a man gives $100 million (the largest gift in the school’s history), the school has to put his name on something. Accordingly, one of the school’s two new buildings will be named The Henry R. Kravis Building in recognition of his gift. The new building will open “in about six years,” according to Dean Glenn Hubbard.

Henry Kravis is one of the most successful men on Wall Street. He is the co-founder, co-chairman, and co-CEO of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), the noted private equity and buyout firm. Kravis and his partners, as much as anyone else, pioneered the use of leveraged buyouts in the 1980s to tap into companies’ unrealized potential. All of the MBAs who rushed into private equity over the past 15 years have Kravis and his friends to thank for blazing that trail before them.

This is a real win for Columbia. Also the business school had already been slated to move into a new building in Manhattanville, the entire project (a very ambitious one) has already taken a long time to get off the ground, and the financial crisis of the past two years hasn’t helped. Uris Hall has long been one of our least favorite buildings (maybe our absolute least favorite) among top MBA programs’ facilities, and while you should choose a school for more than just its facilities, it’s been hard to overlook Uris Hall and its cramped setup. Even Dean Hubbard himself has acknowledged that the building has been a constraint for the school.

Who’s left? We’re still waiting for Kellogg to announce more definitive plans for its new building. By then, we will have completed the new (or at least significantly improved) building renaissance at nearly every top MBA program in the United States.

For more news and advice on getting into the world’s most competitive MBA programs, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

Columbia MBA Application Essays and Deadlines for 2010-2011

Recently Columbia Business School released its online application for the 2010-2011 admissions season. Columbia’s application deadlines and admissions essays are below, followed by our comments, in italics:

Columbia Business School Admissions Deadlines
January 2011 Entry (“J-Term”): October 6, 2010
Early decision: October 6, 2010
Merit fellowship consideration: January 5, 2011
Regular decision: April 13, 2011

These deadlines are virtually the same as last year’s. Note that Columbia’s J-term deadline coincides with Harvard/Stanford/Wharton’s Round 1 deadlines. Also, remember that Columbia uses a rolling admissions schedule, so the only really firm deadline is the April 13 one. However, even though Columbia doesn’t have a traditional Round 1, Round 2, etc., we still recommend against applying at the last minute. Applying as late as March or April means competing for one of the very few seats still open at that point.

Columbia Business School Admissions Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (750 words)

    This question carries over unchanged from last year. It’s the standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that many top MBA programs ask. Where some applicants is in failing to explain why Columbia is the best place for them to earn their MBA, given the school’s culture, academic strengths, ties to certain industries, etc. Yes, Columbia has a big name and proximity to Wall Street. Those strengths are obvious. What else does Columbia offer that you can’t find anywhere else? If you can’t answer this question, then maybe you haven’t done enough research on the school.

  2. Please tell us about yourself and your personal interests. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (500 words)

    This question is new this year, and it replaces last year’s question about Columbia’s Master Classes, which included a video prompt that applicants watched before answering the question. It seems as though that question didn’t give the Columbia admissions office what it wanted (i.e., helping them learn more about each applicant), so it replaced that question with one that better helps them get to know you. Note the emphasis on “…rather than what you have achieved professionally.” Don’t be afraid to get a little casual here and show some personality.

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

    As we always advise, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any.

    Finally, note that last year’s “team failure” essay is gone, leaving just two mandatory essays. Again, when a school drops an essay it usually isn’t giving the admissions office what it wants. For whatever reason, that essay wasn’t adding enough information on candidates for it to be worth application readers’ time.

If you’re thinking of applying to Columbia Business School, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter for more advice on the business school application process!

Columbia Business School Essays and Deadlines for 2009-2010

Continuing our analysis of the top MBA business schools’ application essays for the coming admissions season, here are Columbia Business School’s essays and deadlines for the September 2010 intake. Our comments follow in italics:

Columbia Business School Application Deadlines
Early Decision: October 7, 2009
Deadline for International Applicants: March 3, 2010
Deadline for U.S. Citizens & Permanent Residents: April 14, 2010

(No big changes here. These deadlines are nearly identical to last year’s.)

Columbia Business School Admissions Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (750 words)
    (This is a fairly standard question that you no doubt have seen on other applications. Make sure, though, that you adequately explain why Columbia is THE best place for them to earn their MBA. The school’s big name and proximity to Wall Street are obvious advantages, but what else does Columbia offer that you can’t find anywhere else?
  2. Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. View the link below. Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. Watch the video. (500 words)
    (This question was new last year, but carries over unchanged this year. Columbia’s emphasis on its Master Classes is clear — the admissions committee seeks applicants who have rolled up their sleeves and made thing happen, rather than pure theorists. They’ll also looking for introspection — ideally you can illustrate what you learned, the impact it had on you, and how it made you a better business manager or leader.)
  3. Please provide an example of a team failure of which you’ve been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently?
    (This question is also the same since last year. Every year we talk to many clients who ask, “Are you sure I should discuss any failures in my application?” Yes, you definitely should, as long as you can show how you grew from the experience. In this way, your answer could end up overlapping with your answer to #2. So, it’s best to not use a failure story for the second question, and to save your failure story for this question.)

For more advice on applying to Columbia, visit Veritas Prep’s Columbia Business School information page. And, to get the most up-to-date information on Columbia and all other top business schools, be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

Columbia Accelerated January Term Admissions Essays for 2010

Two weeks ago Columbia started accepting applications for the January 2010 intake of its accelerated MBA program. There is just one deadline — October 7, 2009 — and the school will accept applicants on a rolling basis. Below are the Columbia January Term’s admissions essays, with our comments in italics:

Columbia January Term Admissions Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (750 words)
  2. (This is the fairly standard “Why an MBA? / Why this school?” question, although your answer will need to be a little more focused than the answer that an applicant would submit to a typical two-year program. The J-Term is especially designed for young professionals who plan to return to their current employers or otherwise don’t need the benefit of a summer internship to transition to a new career, and Columbia will closely look for evidence that you understand the pros and cons of an accelerated prorgam.)

  3. Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. (View link.) Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. (500 words)
  4. (Columbia prides itself on its Master Classes, so make sure you understand what they are and why they are important to the Columbia academic experience. Columbia, like many other top schools, has made a push to better connect the theory covered in its core classes with the practical challenges that its graduates will face, and Master Classes are the school’s way of doing that. While this question doesn’t specifically ask about a professional failure, such an example might provide you with rich material for a response. Just be sure to emphasize what you learned as a result, and, ideally, how you applied this lesson later on. Although the next essay question specifically asks for a failure, don’t be afraid to use another failure for this question if that would answer the question best.)

  5. Please provide an example of a team failure of which you’ve been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (500 words)
  6. (What Columbia’s admissions office really wants to know is what you learned from such a failure. Although the second part of this question asks a theoretical question — What would you do? — ideally you can describe a time when you applied what you learned to another real-life situation, thus preventing the same problem from happening again.)

  7. (Optional essay) Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee? (Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.)
  8. (If there is a glaring weakness in your profile, and you have not already addressed in somewhere else in your application, then you can use this space to succinctly address it. However, do not dwell on your weaknesses, go on and on with excuses about something that happened ten years ago, or unduly draw attention to a minor weakness!)

For more advice on applying to Columbia, visit the Veritas Prep Columbia Business School information page. And for more information on MBA admissions, be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

Columbia Application Essays for 2008-2009

Columbia Business School’s online application is available for the 2008-2009 season. Below are are this year’s Columbia application deadlines and admissions essays (our comments are in italics):

Columbia Business School Application Deadlines
Jan. ’09 Accelerated Program: October 8, 2008
Sep. ’09 Class, Early Decision: October 8, 2008
Sep. ’09 Class, International Applicants: March 4, 2009
Sep. ’09 Class, U.S. Applicants: April 15, 2009

(Remember that Columbia uses a rolling admissions process. No need to get your application in before it’s ready, but don’t wait until the last minute, either. As you should with other schools, you should assume that Columbia’s class starts to fill up as you approach the deadline, making it that much harder to get in.)

Columbia Business School Application Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (Recommended 750 word limit)
  2. Essay 2: Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. View the link below. Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. (Recommended 500 word limit)

    Columbia Application Video

    (This is new, and replaces last year’s question that had applicants read a speech by Dean Glenn Hubbard and write a reaction. Columbia’s emphasis on its Master Classes is clear — the admissions committee seeks applicants who have rolled up their sleeves and made thing happen, rather than pure theorists. They’ll also looking for introspection — ideally you can illustrate what you learned, the impact it had on you, and how it made you a better business manager or leader.

  3. Essay 3: Please provide an example of a team failure of which you’ve been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (Recommended 500 word limit)

    (This is also new this year, replacing last year’s “entrepreneurial mindset” and “passion” questions. We the fact that Columbia made this a required question — every year we talk to many clients who ask, “Are you sure I should discuss any failures in my application?” Yes, you definitely should, as long as you can show how you grew from the experience. In this way, your answer could end up overlapping with your answer to #2. So, it’s best to not use a failure story for #2, and to save your failure story for this question.)

For more advice on applying to Columbia, visit the Veritas Prep Columbia Business School information page. And for more information on MBA application deadlines, visit our business school application deadlines page.