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Columbia Business School

Essay Analysis Interview Tips 

Columbia Business School
Average GMAT Score717GMAT Range550-780
Total Applicants

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Acceptance Rate

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Class Size776Average Work Experience60 Months
Applicant DeadlinesR1:04-Oct-2017
Decision DatesR1:11-Apr-2018
Length of Program21 MonthsPlacement Information

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For almost a century, Columbia Business School has been into educating leaders of future equipped with skills, competency, entrepreneurial mindset, and insight to not only lead but to shape the economy of the future. The school's eminence is rooted in the strength of its continuous curriculum innovation which emphasizes on business skills, ethical issues, social awareness and entrepreneurship. This is supported by world renowned 116 member full time faculty who bring not only their vast business experience into their class but also develop new ideas/theories which are adopted and followed in business practices. Columbia offers some great innovative programs like Program on Social Intelligence (PSI), The Entrepreneurship Program and Social Enterprise Program. The school maintains exchange programs with 25 leading graduate management institutions around the world.

The truly global B-School factor is supported by the fact that 40% of the student body represents more than 86 nations who speak some 94 languages. The school has 90 student clubs and more than 100 events are offered in a week

With influential alumni strength of 38,000 from 115 countries, the students are benefited by them as mentors, recruiters and speaker. To be a part of this powerful network for lifetime, you require an average GMAT score of 709, you need to be an achiever with leadership qualities as well as be a team player and proven intellectual prowess. These capabilities have to be shown through the essays supported by the recommendations

So for making the application a unique and successful one, the applicant should be able to secure an admit only with proper guidance of experts. General Education being the group of thorough experienced professionals compounded with profound professional capabilities of guiding applicants to write impressive and successful B-School applications would believe that to happen with your collaboration with us. We help you in your journey towards your dream B-School.

Columbia Essays 2015-16

Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Essay 1:

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (Maximum 500 words)

Essay 2:

Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)

Essay 3:

CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 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.

Columbia Essays 2013-14

Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.

Short Answer Question:

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

Essay 1: Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (Maximum 500 words)

Essay 2: 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)

Please view the videos below:

Essay 3: What will the people in your Cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 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.
Columbia Essays 2012-13
Essay 1: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (Maximum 200 words)
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: 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)
Required by all reapplicants who last applied in 2012.
A. 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).
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)
Essay Analysis for 2012
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching
Mark Twain
If I were to add another line to the above quote, it would be learn as if you would never have to study again. In essence, Twain is highlighting human passion in the quote above and that's what even Columbia Business School Admissions committee seeking in new prospective candidates. Over the period of last couple of decades, Ivy League business schools have admitted applicants who are more than prepared for Business education. They understand that Columbia business school is more than just a platform to provide a direction to business goals of professionals from different walks of life.
It's a platform to network, to provide impetus to budding corporate ideas, to groom social awareness for different causes, to incubate different ideas that shape into great businesses and finally a platform to foster relationships between achievers. The smart candidates learn and practice in the same environment.
By making applicants address questions related to school activities, Columbia Business School is able to demystify the B-school education curriculum and at the same time, able to pick up "right" candidates as per the mandate of recruiting companies. Along with the regular questions about professional goals and positioning, such questions help to identify candidates with non-linear thought process and bent of mind.
Essay 1: Considering your post-MBA and long-term professional goals, why you are pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? Additionally, why is Columbia Business School a good fit for you? (Maximum of 750 words)
Analysis:
Columbia Business School usually fares amongst world's top 10 B-schools of the world. It goes without saying that answer to traditional questions need to be top-notch and the story around the profile has to be logical, well aligned and well pointed towards the achievement of the professional goals. Similarly, post MBA goals should be in line with profile's achievements, recommendations and maturity of profile.
Timing of taking that MBA decision is a crucial factor. You might think that you are fit for an MBA just out of an undergrad college, but Columbia Business School admissions committee may not think so. Columbia business school seeks exceptional, mature profiles and usually gets them too. In 5 years, you could be a CEO of a web based company based out of India but unless the profile's maturity is properly presented with a sound case, you may not even get a call for interview.
Answering the part on why Columbia is a good fit is a function of your research on Columbia Business School. While the web based research is done by all, a lot of information is tacit which you can get only from interaction with alumni or current students. The information on forums is like a rumour mill and is never accurate. General Education has helped prospective candidates get into Columbia. Just fill in the form on the right hand side of the page and reach out to us, our consultants panel will help.
Essay2: Describe a life experience that has shaped you. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (Maximum of 500 words)
Analysis:
Reading in between the lines is important as far as this essay goes. Columbia Business School's admission committee wants to know that experience that has been a turning point. The basic assumption is obviously that such a life changing experience exists. The fact is, this assumption is absolutely correct.
At times, most of the applicants don't give enough importance to minor experiences in daily life. Even though imbibing the lessons from such experiences is important, the effect of those experience(s) and being able to present it in the right way is sought in this essay.
One doesn't need to be dramatic in describing such an experience. The experience has to be in simple business English and does not have to look like I saved the world from XXX even if you did. Most candidates consider this as an opportunity to showcase their human side relating to social causes etc. Although the social responsibilities are important, mentioning them here is not necessary. A personality comprises of many facets that can be affected due to different reasons under different circumstances at different times. Proper highlighting of these facets along with apt positioning of the profile will help the candidate succeed through the Columbia Business School's admissions process.
Remember the focus has to be how you are as a person so all the documents have to reveal the same story. This life changing experience (or at least the effect on your personality) has to reflect in recommendations, other essays, resume and even within the interview.
The experience need not be in professional domain and can be taken from personal life also.
Some experiences that could potentially be cited as turning points are:
  • A meeting with a revered personality
  • An untoward incident that forced you to think
  • An event that was centred around a topic that is close to your heart and personality
  • The most important parameter for evaluation required for this essay is presentation of the idea. If the presentation is done effectively and an interesting story is presented nicely, evaluators would like to read it again.Get in touch with consultants of General Education to learn about how to gain points on presentation of the response to this essay.
Essay questions for 2012
Essay 1: Considering your post-MBA and long-term professional goals, why you are pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? Additionally, why is Columbia Business School a good fit for you? (Maximum of 750 words.)
Essay2: Describe a life experience that has shaped you. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (Maximum of 500 words.)
Essay3: Essay three has three options (please choose one of the following):
Option A: The annual A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition is a student initiative managed and run by the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). The competition encourages Columbia MBA students to explore creative entrepreneurial ideas that are sufficiently ambitious in scope and scale to be considered outrageous. Students explore these ideas while learning firsthand what goes into the development and presentation of a solid business proposal. Develop your own outrageous business idea. In essay form, compose your elevator pitch. (Maximum 250 words)
Option B: Columbia deeply values its vibrant student community, the building of which begins at orientation when admitted students are assigned to clusters of 65 to 70 fellow students who take most of the first-year core classes together. During the first weeks of school, each cluster selects a Cluster Chair. Further strengthening the student community are the nearly 100 active student organizations at Columbia Business School, ranging from cultural to professional to community service-oriented. Leadership positions within the cluster and/or clubs offer hands-on management and networking opportunities for students as they interact with fellow students, administrators, faculty members, alumni, and practitioners. You are running for either Cluster Chair or a club leadership position of your choosing. Compose your campaign speech. (Maximum 250 words)
Option C: Founded nearly three decades ago, the Executives in Residence Program at Columbia Business School integrates senior executives into the life of the School. Current executives in residence include more than a dozen experts in areas ranging from media and investment banking to private equity and management. A hallmark of the program is one-on-one counseling sessions in which executives advise students about their prospective career choices. Select one of the current executives in residence with whom you would like to meet during your time at Columbia. Explain your selection and tell us how you would best utilize your half hour one-on-one session. (Maximum 250 words)
Essay questions for 2011
You must complete two essays. An optional third essay will enable you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays. Applicants who are reapplying within 12 months of a previous application for admission are required to write only a single reapplicant essay. Please note you may only apply once to a given term of entry.Knight-Bagehot Fellows: Please use the space allocated to the first essay for the Wiegers Fellowship Application essay.
Essay 1
What are your short-term and long-term professional goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (Maximum of 750 words)
Please state your long and short term goals as you reflect on what you have done till now, what you are going to study and what is your vision for life. The goals long and short tem must enable you to what you really want to make out of life. It should be seen as a bigger picture and MBA, internship, jobs etc are enablers to achieve the higher objective in life. Nevertheless, as MBA from Columbia would be the biggest investment in your life (till now) hence it is imperative it comes out to be as prudent investment and should be very beneficial and shall give you very good returns; hence a justification of that the goals are to be aligned and must justify the time, resources and money invested in the MBA program at Columbia.
How will Columbia Business School help? Well, it must justify in individualistic perspective. Try to keep away from general causes hackneyed expressions, but be specific that how will certain programs/clubs/facilities will help and enable you to achieve your immediate term goals. The location (New York), the Ivy League experience, interaction with Nobel prize winning faculty members, the Cluster System, the program on Social Intelligence, the Individual, Business and Society (IBS) curriculum and the list is long again we stress upon choose the reasons which affect you directly and are in line with your goals. At the outset you may tend to choose generic reasons but dig a little deeper, talk to consultant at General Education and you will get to know what can be the exact reasons for doing/not doing MBA and if going for MBA then from Columbia or Wharton what suits your profile and even to a large extent - your (learning) style.
One thing which stands out at Columbia is interaction with business leaders 500 speakers per year you would have ample access to interact with a leader in your industry/function/culture etc. makes the program really unique.
Essay 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. (Maximum of 500 words)
Go by the words, i.e. what the essay says is what the admission committee desires to know. This should not be understood as a sugar coated question rather it is the most important part where Columbia or rather any b-school would like to know about the applicant. Give the pieces and anecdotes about your life which have influenced your thinking and hence in turn influenced your actions. Quote the instances where people or ideas have affected you and have given a turn to your life, and remember it not necessarily be always polished and positive instances, there can be instances which can be real learning in your life and have given you a certain bent of mind. For example one of the applicants flunked in eleventh standard and that was an eye opener for him he then took studies very seriously after much humiliation of flunking and then lo he went to best undergrad college of his country and went to an Ivy League b-school as well. When asked he always remembers that incidence as a turning point in life without which he might have been an average guy he took things positively and he's greatly successful.
Hence take this question for its face value and furnish the information, expose the facet which admissions committee at Columbia Business School wants to see.
One new reapplicant essay:
How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate your short-term and long-term goals. Explain how the tools of the Columbia MBA will help you to meet your goals and how you plan to participate in the Columbia community.
     
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