Columbia MBA Essay Examples
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Columbia CBS MBA Essay Samples
Columbia’s MBA essays reflect a holistic approach. The fit is VERY important. CBS wants to know why CBS and be assured you will fit in, as;that is a big part of their culture. The CBS essays are essential to showcasing fit, community involvement, viable career goals and leadership, proven or potential.
SBC has four former CBS Admissions Officers and multiple CBS MBA graduates who deeply know the nuances of applying to CBS successfully. If you’d like to speak with one of our Principals about your candidacy, please request a free analysis here.
In the meantime, see examples of CBS MBA essays from our successful admits below.
A leader I admire is Barack Obama. Even though I often didn’t agree with his politics, I was always impressed with President Obama’s ability to provide stability, unwavering self-confidence, and decisiveness while also building consensus. These are leadership qualities I strive to emulate in my own career.
The hallmark of Obama’s leadership style was his cool, calm, and collected disposition. This temperament empowered Obama to repair the United States’ relationships with foreign powers, such as Germany and South Korea, who did not particularly care for the style of diplomacy displayed by the Bush administration. Foreign diplomats had grown tired of America’s rogue leadership, and Obama’s approach allowed the United States to rebuild diplomatic equity.
Obama’s self-confidence almost never showed signs of wavering. He gave off the impression of control, that the United States was always operating from a position of strength and reason. This was exactly what the United States needed when Obama took office, as the country was reeling from the Great Recession of 2008 and Obama’s levelheadedness provided a stabilizing force.
I particularly admire Obama’s consensus-building skills: he a found ways to harness diverse voices while simultaneously providing decisive leadership. Obama listened to every side of an issue; however, he was the ultimate decision-maker. The Osama bin Laden raid is a great example: Obama built support from his military advisers in the weeks leading up to the raid, while providing clear direction for a brave and successful action, which had so much meaning for the American people.
I have fond memories of late nights and delicious meals at Union Square Café, one of the flagship restaurants of New York restaurant legend Danny Meyer. However, to me — a confident yet disillusioned chef — Danny Meyer was a peer and a rival. Gradually, my natural rivalry grew into admiration as I began to comprehend Danny’s contributions to the hospitality industry. What had started as a Romanesque café had grown into a global hospitality group (USHG) founded on a simple principle, “Enlightened Hospitality”. This ethos changed the entire restaurant world, inspiring us to treat customers as guests and to hire based on personality, not experience.
Over the years, Danny Meyer has always trusted his instincts. He believed in Madison Square Park when he invested in Shake Shack, he believed in better wages when he introduced no-tipping to all of his restaurants, and now, as age makes operations less appealing, Danny has leveraged his reputation and expertise to create Enlightened—a hospitality private equity fund. At Enlightened, Danny invests outside the restaurant industry and demonstrates that hospitality is fundamental to every business.
As I prepare for CBS and Danny and I both divest from operations, I can’t help but compare myself to him again. When I was considering leaving Restaurant Name, I spoke with Danny about my future: he encouraged me to think critically and to follow my instincts. As I begin the next chapter, I intend to follow Danny’s lead and continue to broaden the definition of hospitality.
Growing up, I loved every opportunity to visit New York City whether it was to play in Carl Schurz Park or discover something new in the Museum of Natural History. From the glossy skyscrapers in Midtown to the cast-iron buildings in SoHo, I have long been enamored with the city. Thus, my goal immediately after graduation is to join a top-tier real estate investment firm such as Blackstone or Brookfield. Bringing transferable finance skills as I pivot from banking to investing, Columbia is vital to filling my knowledge gaps and expanding my professional network.
From current students Ssss and Pppp, I learned that Columbia’s real estate program produces industry leaders by integrating rigorous coursework with real life experience. I will take full advantage of courses such as Real Estate Entrepreneurship, Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development, and Real Estate Transactions to equip me with the academic background necessary to succeed in real estate investing. I am excited to learn from renowned professors such as Ccccc and Llllll.
My long-term dream job is to launch my own real estate investment fund that will shape the New York skyline with buildings that have a positive, lasting impact on the greater community. After working on the construction financing for One Vanderbilt, a rising office tower that will include LEED certifications, green community space, and railroad improvements to Grand Central, I began reading and researching sustainability and advancements in relevant technology. I’ve discovered that New York real estate is severely under served by modern technologies in infrastructure and renewable energy, which has fueled growing social and environmental concerns. No one person or group has all the expertise to solve this complex problem, so successfully improving city living in the future will require collaboration. At Columbia I envision facilitating discussions between the Real Estate Association, Technology Business Group, and Green Business Club to learn from one another and find points of overlap allowing for advanced “green real estate development.”
I will network with Columbia peers and industry professionals within the banking, private equity, technology, energy, and entrepreneurship fields in the classroom and be deeply involved with the Real Estate Association. In addition, I will organize a team to participate in case competitions such as the UNC Real Estate Development Challenge, where I can test my impact initiative in a real-world scenario. Through the Leadership Lab I will build self-awareness and refine my skills to successfully communicate my vision to investors in the future.
Columbia is my first choice program, and the best place to arm me with the academic skillset, network, and leadership tools to join a real estate investment firm and later launch my own real estate investment fund. Combining the goals of profit with enhanced quality of life, I am eager to become a leader within the real estate industry and create a lasting impact on the greater New York community.
I recently visited the XXX Museum in Morocco. I’ve always had an interest in the fashion industry, but my interest fell by the wayside when I started my career in consulting. I wasn’t confident that I had the right skills to elevate my interest to anything more than a hobby. Three years later, learning about Laurent’s accomplishments reignited a fire in me. While consulting has armed me with a foundational set of skills, an education at Columbia will help me transition into spending 3-5 years in growth strategy at an established luxury fashion company before ultimately launching my own brand.
Working in consulting accelerated my understanding of critical business functions and pushed me to become a better thinker, leader, and doer. Serving retail clients in a customer experience strategy light unveiled my interest in understanding the consumer’s shopping mindset. However, the volatile nature of consulting prevents me from diving deep into the role that I desire; now is the perfect time for me to hone my consulting capabilities in the world of fashion entrepreneurship. Columbia’s Retail & Luxury Goods and Entrepreneurship Programs present the perfect learning environments to combine my consulting skills with my passion for fashion.
Following graduation, I will spend 3-5 years working in growth strategy for an established brand such as ZZZ or ABC. These companies have built brands that consistently evoke visceral emotions within their audiences, a feeling that I seek to translate into my own. Applying the skills I gained at CBS with consulting, I will conduct research on customer and industry trends to provide strategic recommendations that will grow that brand, all while I strengthen my network in the fashion industry. Pairing relevant industry experience with my time at CBS will give me the complete set of skills needed to achieve my dream of starting my own clothing company.
My dream is to lead my company (dont kill the mood or dktm) as its CEO. dktm was initially conceived when I was on a date with someone who spent the afternoon on her phone. Hurt feelings aside, the experience exposed me to a dangerous societal problem: we are entering a digital age that requires less human interaction, culminating in a steady deterioration of our ability to form meaningful connections with one another. dktm’s visual aesthetic will provoke people to think about that missing emotional connection and inspire them to re-establish it. As CEO, I will define dktm’s long-term vision, build an actionable business strategy, and advise on the direction of the brand’s identity.
Having spoken with multiple students, I’m confident Columbia is my ideal choice. ABC (‘19) told me of the friendships she established with classmates and mentors, including ABC VP of Fashion. YYY (‘19) informed me of the various courses I could take to develop my fashion entrepreneurship skills, such as Lean Launchpad. Through CBS, I will create lifelong friendships, learn from seasoned veterans, and kickstart my vision of ensuring that people dont kill the mood.
In Berkshire Hathaway’s 2017 shareholder meeting Charlie Munger somewhat wryly remarked “It would certainly be unpleasant if we were in the department store business… Just think of what we avoided Warren.” While Munger and Buffet may be glad they’ve avoided the department store business I couldn’t be more excited about it. The changes, challenges, and competition that have scared off investors and forced numerous retailers into bankruptcy have made this one of the hardest but also the most interesting times to be in the industry. That is why I plan to continue working in corporate strategy in the retail industry for the next 3-5 years. The pace of change and ongoing challenges are just too exciting to pass up.
I’d ideally like to use XXXXX’s strength in the high-end retail space to move to the corporate strategy team for a global luxury goods conglomerate like LVMH, Kering, or Richemont. Longer term my dream job would be to manage a fashion focused investment fund – such as the venture arm LVMH launched this year – because while I’m not sure if we’ll still be using iPhones or driving our own cars in 10, 20, or 100 years—I’m willing to bet that we will still be buying and wearing clothes!
My enthusiasm for retail stems from my work over the last year – in which I’ve been able to collaborate with our Chief Digital Officer on a project to define and build-out XXXXX’s new 1234 Strategy. Our CDO called this project “the most exciting, but also the most complex idea” that he has worked on during his time at the company. I was involved in significant pieces of work including in-depth analysis of our top market which led to the development of a pilot program, new service experiences, and the expansion of our XXXXX stores all in the XYZ area. Additionally, I took the lead on a specific ask from our CDO to develop a comprehensive view on how we should segment the different kinds of markets we have stores in.
I presented my work to our executive team and helped craft the story and strategy that later went to the Board. My work helped to shift our internal strategy from “why would you ever invest another dollar in stores?” to “our greatest opportunity to win in a digital/online world is by leveraging our existing assets and disproportionately investing in our top markets and best customers!” In our most recent semi-annual senior leadership meeting our CDO declared that XXXXX’s focus in 2018 would be the 1234 Strategy that I helped to develop.
Working on such high-impact and transformational projects has been very exciting and it’s absolutely cemented my desire to continue working in the retail industry after business school, by either jumping to high end retail or returning to XXXXX. I’ve developed strong perspectives on what traditional retailers need to do to remain relevant and competitive in the digital/online age and I’m confident that the program will provide me with the perfect education and experience to move to a global luxury goods conglomerate and continue my growth in the retail field.
In the next five years my goal is to implement people-first policies to expand both the balance sheet and the culture of a financial services company. My goal is to develop an organization into a Forbes Top 100 Companies to Work For; making the culture a more diverse and inclusive space for professionals. Human Capital is becoming agile and innovative; executives are striving to change their interactions with employees and adapt to new trends to retain top talent. Through the J-Term Program, I will become a more strategic, operations focused Human Capital professional with the ability to build the best people-structures from my knowledge of business and lead companies through crucial Human Capital change.
Post-graduation I will strategically align business and talent needs with skills and insight gained through my coursework during J-Term. An MBA will prepare me to address the ongoing challenges of worker expectations and provide me with the strategic skill set to develop innovative solutions for clients. HR is increasingly tied to business outcomes; quantifying the financial impact of programs to retain top talent and making the business case for investing in Human Capital capabilities. In the future of work, the human resource will increasingly become the ultimate resource, and my MBA skill set will make me a leader adaptable to this change.
J-Term at CBS is the perfect place for me to hone my business skills while staying connected to my network in the Human Capital industry. The program will provide me with the ideal combination of entrepreneurial classmates, exposure to an international cohort, and a fast-paced MBA experience so I can return to my career ready to make a positive impact. I will take advantage of CBS’ unmatched opportunities through participation in master classes to bridge the gap between theory and practice, choosing a project based elective in HR. I will contribute to my diverse learning team, sharing my knowledge of C-Suite priorities through my exposure in industry. Through CBS Matters, I will share thought leadership in Human Capital and help Columbia diversify its cutting edge expertise by building up its Human Capital terrain. After speaking with current J-Term students and alums, including Student 1, Student 2, and Student 3, I am confident that my classmates will have similar ambitions, providing me the opportunity to build new perspectives and relationships. My dream job is to found my own Human Capital consulting firm, changing the way the global economy values its most important resource: people. The J-Term experience will allow me reach this goal by providing invaluable networking opportunities and a core foundation to build this business. Lastly, J-Term will allow me to continue building my career in New York. Columbia’s Manhattan setting at the center of the financial services world will not only allow me to keep in touch with the C-Suite executives I worked with at Consulting Firm– most notably, the relationships I built at ABC Company– but also provide me access to new, local alumni contacts, where I can form relationships and intern during the school year.
Columbia’s MBA program is the inflection point that will enable me to make a career shift into the restaurant industry. Upon graduation, I will develop and lead a strategy team for a restaurant group such as NoHo Hospitality or Myriad. Though this role does not exist in most hospitality organizations, I aspire to forge a path in this business for analytics-based strategy to be integrated into market expansion. A large challenge that restaurant groups face is that decisions are made by investors rather than driven by individuals with expertise in using research to manage growth. Through years of ongoing conversations with contacts in the business and avidly following trend studies, I see an opportunity for strategy to play a critical role in restaurant groups’ development. This function is especially pertinent considering that this industry is experiencing soaring rates of failure: the number of New York City restaurant closings in 2014 nearly doubled from the previous year (Zagat 2014). Maturing my skills in a strategy role will empower me to eventually become the chief executive officer of an existing restaurant group such as Union Square Hospitality or STARR Restaurants.
This trajectory perfectly marries my strategy background from JPMorgan with my longstanding passion for cuisines and dining. Now is a pivotal time to enter the business as there is a vast influx of private equity investment; Alliance Consumer Growth’s recent funding of Tender Greens is a notable example. I have attended several on-campus events and spoken with numerous students and alums, but my friend Diego Suarez’s reflection particularly stood out: he said that while his Columbia MBA granted him tremendous credibility when pursuing his career change, more importantly it provided the knowledge base required to switch industries. Diego’s comment further fuels my conviction that Columbia’s elective-heavy curriculum will afford the formal training I need to seize this time-sensitive opportunity. CBS’s specialized classes such as Consulting 101: Driving Strategic Impact and Napoleon’s Glance will allow me to adapt the project management skills that I cultivated in ABC investment bank’s Internal Consulting Analyst Program and apply them to hospitality groups. Moreover, CBS enables students to learn from renowned faculty: Dean Kathy Phillip’s leadership seminar offers unparalleled insight into management skills that will be paramount to leading a strategy team and eventually a restaurant group. Lastly, I can explore NYC’s thriving restaurant scene with my classmates and expand my hospitality network in New York though the Gourmet Club and Columbia Women in Business.
While Columbia’s exceptional curriculum and classes offer the education I require to transfer my strategy skills to the restaurant business, its unique programs outside of the classroom will further drive my professional growth. The Global Immersion Program will give me exposure to applying learned concepts to new industries, which is a skill that will be critical to my transition. I am tremendously excited to take advantage of the opportunities that this program, along with Columbia’s career-oriented curriculum structure and celebrated faculty, will provide to propel my success in restaurant strategy.
CBS offers a balanced curriculum, incredible alumni network, and a culture of integration and inclusion that will provide me both personal and professional growth. I look forward to the pre-term leadership program, where I will develop my skills in communication and collaboration and identify my leadership style. Later, in “Advanced Organizational Change,” I can learn from industry leaders and hone my leadership style further. CBS develops leaders by creating a culture of understanding and the CBS Matters program is an incredible way to learn about my classmates and improve my understanding of people and cultures. Additionally, I look forward to supplementing my leadership classes with several on-campus organizations, including the Management Consulting Association (MCA), the Small Business Consulting Club, and the Hospitality & Travel Association. Current student Template:Student A has shared how MCA greatly assisted in his recruitment process. I look forward to learning case interview best practices from my peers, as well as eventually sharing that expertise as a second-year student.
Professionally, I will build a solid foundation in Finance and Accounting while learning the nuances of consulting. I appreciate that CBS offers “Strategy Formulation” as a core class so that I can learn the basics of strategy consulting using the case method. Additionally, I will take Professor Zabar’s Immersion Seminar on Organic Grocery Entrepreneurship and leverage his network to land an inter-semester internship at a company like Beertopia or Happy Family Organics. Lastly, I would like to participate in a Global Consulting Project through the Chazen Institute.
For me, one of the most exciting characteristics that Columbia’s reputation and location fortify is that CBS attracts a plethora of speakers, students, and renowned professors which will enable me to connect with hospitality thought leaders. Columbia’s Executives in Residence program offers a unique opportunity to benefit from the guidance of industry magnates. By fostering relationships with these executives, I can gain experienced insights into my career path. Furthermore, CBS’s collaborative curriculum ensures that I will learn from my classmates’ talents and experiences. Firsthand industry knowledge amassed through personal connections is an incommensurable component of effectively transitioning into the restaurant business; the executive mentorship program and diversity of my classmates, along with the sheer size of Columbia’s network, present unmatched wisdom.
While CBS’s location shapes and strengthens its professional resources, it additionally grants invaluable access to New York City. NYC is not only the “very center of business,” it also is the “very center of cuisine”: the ultimate location for me to launch my hospitality career. The industry’s growth in New York, combined with restaurants’ accelerating failure rates, creates a unique landscape with immense room for expansion this is not being effectively pursued. With more than 18,696 restaurants, NYC is the prime location in which to manage restaurant group development (NYC & Company). Columbia Business School offers an unparalleled MBA program for me to pursue my passion for restaurant strategy because its location will afford me access to prominent leaders at the epicenter of the nation’s hospitality industry.
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Columbia MBA Essay Examples
Here are some Columbia MBA essay examples and tips for how to write your own! Columbia Business School is at the top of MBA rankings , and getting accepted is very competitive. This means your MBA admissions essays for Columbia need to be very strong, meaning well-written and captivating for the admissions committee. In this blog, we’ll look at how to write a great MBA essay for Columbia, the essay requirements and some Columbia MBA essay examples to help inspire you.
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How to write a columbia mba essay.
Your Columbia MBA essay examples need to be strong and well-structured but also add something significant to your application. Columbia Business School is home to one of the best MBA programs in the world , so getting accepted is competitive. Your MBA essays can be a significant strength in your overall application, along with your MBA resume and MBA interview questions .
Columbia MBA asks applicants to respond to MBA essay prompts, so to write an effective Columbia MBA essay, you should address the prompt as thoroughly and in-depth as possible, while keeping to the word count and exhibiting strong writing skills. For each prompt, reflect on your experiences to identify the ones most relevant to the prompt, and most important to you. You can also talk to an MBA essay consultant for brainstorming and writing help. Lastly, be sure to do some research on Columbia’s MBA program to find out what the admissions committee values.
The Columbia Business School’s mission statement and values reflect a commitment to transformative leadership, the dissemination of knowledge and a respect for diversity and inclusion. Columbia Business School’s values statement is:
“To achieve our vision of developing innovative ideas and inspiring leaders that transform the world, the members of CBS strive to build and sustain a welcoming and intellectual community that values and respects individuals’ different and shared identities and perspectives.”
The Columbia MBA program is looking for applicants with strong, proven leadership skills, intellectual curiosity and high academic ability, as well as students who will contribute meaningfully to the school culture. Although you don’t need to write an MBA diversity essay for Columbia, the admissions committee does want to see your unique perspectives and meaningful experiences in your Columbia MBA essays.
Columbia MBA Essay Requirements
The Columbia MBA requirements include a section for three required MBA admissions essays and a short answer question. There is also an optional MBA essay and additional MBA essay questions for the deferred enrollment program.
For the short answer question, keep it to a bullet point or short sentence. You can describe the job title or position you hope to achieve or condense your short-term career goal into a simple sentence. ","label":"Deferral and Short Answer","title":"Deferral and Short Answer"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>
Here are some MBA personal statement examples from the Columbia MBA program.
Columbia MBA Essay Example #1
Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)
Over the next three to five years, my career goals revolve around developing expertise in strategic management and honing my leadership skills within a global organization. Building upon my academic foundation and professional experiences, I aspire to assume roles of increasing responsibility and contribute to driving sustainable growth and innovation.
In the short term, I aim to secure a position in a renowned financial consulting firm where I can immerse myself in diverse industries and work closely with senior executives to solve complex business challenges. This would provide me with valuable exposure to different sectors, sharpen my analytical and problem-solving skills, and allow me to cultivate a deep understanding of strategy formulation and implementation. Simultaneously, I intend to pursue advanced certifications in areas such as project management or data analytics to enhance my skill set and stay abreast of emerging trends and technologies. These additional qualifications will equip me with the tools needed to navigate the ever-evolving business landscape and add value to my future employers.
To achieve these goals, I plan to take on progressively challenging projects that allow me to expand my knowledge base, strengthen my decision-making abilities, and cultivate strong relationships with key stakeholders. Additionally, I will seek out mentoring opportunities to learn from seasoned professionals and gain insights into effective leadership practices. Looking beyond the next five years, my long-term dream job is to serve as a Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) or Chief Financial Officer (CEO) of a global organization. As a CSO or CFO, I would have the opportunity to shape the strategic direction of the company, lead transformative initiatives, and foster a culture of innovation and inclusivity.
In this role, I envision myself leveraging my strategic acumen and business expertise to drive sustainable growth, adapt to disruptive market forces, and navigate geopolitical complexities. I aspire to create a positive impact not only within the organization but also on a broader scale by addressing societal challenges and promoting sustainable business practices.
Tell us about a time when you were challenged around one of these five skills ( Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias and Prejudice, Managing Intercultural Dialogue, Addressing Systemic Inequity , and Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking) . Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)
During my sophomore year in college, I was confronted with a challenging situation that tested my ability to create an inclusive environment. As a member of the student council, I was responsible for organizing a campus-wide Cultures of the World event. However, I soon realized that there was a significant lack of representation from certain underrepresented student groups in the event planning committee. This was a clear indication of a potential bias and a missed opportunity to create an inclusive environment.
Firstly, I initiated a dialogue with the committee members, expressing my concern about the lack of representation and the importance of incorporating diverse voices in the planning process. I also encouraged everyone to reflect on their own biases and be mindful of the need to mitigate prejudice in our decision-making. I reached out to student organizations representing underrepresented groups, inviting them to join the event planning committee. I also organized brainstorming sessions focused on ensuring that various cultures and perspectives were represented in the event's activities, performances, and discussions.
The outcome was incredibly rewarding. By actively involving underrepresented student groups in the planning process, we created an event that showcased the true diversity of our campus. The inclusive environment fostered open and respectful dialogue among students from different backgrounds, promoting a sense of unity and understanding. Moreover, the event received positive feedback from attendees, who appreciated the efforts made to address systemic inequity and highlight marginalized voices. The experience taught me the importance of taking action in promoting inclusivity.
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Columbia MBA Essay Example #3
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? Please be specific. (250 words)
Academically, the school's commitment to experiential learning and its emphasis on real-world applications would provide me with the practical skills and insights necessary for success, especially in working with non-profits through the Non-Profit Board Leadership Program, as working in the non-profit field is my goal. Moreover, the opportunity to engage with distinguished faculty members, such as Melissa Berman, would allow me to delve deeper into the business and organization of non-profits and broaden my intellectual horizons.
Professionally speaking, Columbia Business School's location in the heart of New York City offers unparalleled access to global business opportunities, particularly in the non-profit sector. The school's strong ties with industry leaders, alumni network, and career resources would provide me with invaluable connections and internships, enabling me to translate my academic knowledge into practical experiences.
Culturally, CBS is an ideal fit for me as an individual passionate about collaborating with people from different backgrounds and perspectives. The school's diverse student body would provide an enriching environment for cross-cultural learning and networking. Additionally, the plethora of student organizations and initiatives, such as the Social Enterprise Club, would enable me to contribute to causes I care about while building lasting relationships with like-minded individuals.
Columbia’s MBA program is considered one of the best in the world, with an admissions rate just over 16%. Getting accepted to Columbia’ MBA program is quite competitive, considering the amount of applicants the business school receives every year and its fairly rigorous academic standards.
There are 3 required MBA essays at Columbia, plus an optional essay. Columbia also requires deferred program applicants to answer two different MBA essay questions.
Columbia’s MBA program is considered one of the best in the world and at the top of the business school rankings. As of this year, Financial Times' Global MBA rankings puts Columbia at the very top of the best business schools worldwide.
Your Columbia MBA essays will have a word limit of 500 words for the first required essay, and a limit of 250 words for the second and third required essays. The optional essay has a word limit of 500.
Yes, the Columbia MBA essays are a significant part of your overall application and can be a big asset to your candidacy. It’s important to take your time and write well-structured and stand-out essays that will add to your application and help you get accepted.
At this time, no, Columbia does not use video essays for its MBA program.
To write a good MBA essay for Columbia, read the prompts very carefully and brainstorm ideas that relate to the prompts directly. Any experiences you highlight should be meaningful and impactful to you, personally or professionally. You should also choose experiences which highlight the values of Columbia Business School, such as diversity, intellectual curiosity, leadership and innovation.
If you’re not sure what to say in your MBA essay, do a bit of brainstorming on the provided prompts or essay questions. Write down a few key experiences that relate to the prompts or answer the questions. You can also talk to an MBA essay consultant or MBA admissions consulting service for help with your essays.
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Columbia MBA Sample Essays
Columbia mba application essays: 2023-2024.
Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.
Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
Examples of possible responses: “Work in business development for a media company.” “Join a strategy consulting firm.” “Launch a data-management start-up.”
Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)
Essay 2: The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the skills and strategies needed to develop as inclusive leaders. Through various resources and programming, the goal is for students to explore and reflect during their educational journey on the following five inclusive leadership skills: Mitigating Bias and Prejudice; Managing Intercultural Dialogue; Addressing Systemic Inequity; Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking; and Creating an Inclusive Environment. Describe a time or situation when you had the need to utilize one or more of these five skills, and tell us the actions you took and the outcome. (250 words)
Essay 3: We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams, an extremely active co-curricular and student life environment, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program. Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? Please be specific. (250 words)
Optional Essay: If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)
Columbia MBA Winning Sample Essay – 1
Columbia mba essay 1: through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. what are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job.
I have over seven years of experience in the investment banking and private equity domain, and over the next 3-5 years, my goal is to grow as an investment banker in the Technology, Media, and Telecom division preferably at a bulge bracket investment bank.
I started my career at TresVista (a financial services firm for private equity and investment banking clients) when there were only 60 employees. From 2013 to 2019, TresVista grew from 60 to 500 people and I grew from an Analyst to an Assistant Vice President role. This high growth journey allowed me to gain cross-functional expertise where I learned how to engage with clients, build rapport, and manage expectations. Each transaction helped hone both my technical and managerial skills. I developed an analytical approach to breaking down the plethora of problems that accompany each transaction. The global client base gave me international exposure and taught me the nuances of working with cross-cultural teams.
Later at Unitus (a social impact-focused investment banking firm), I have witnessed first-hand the potential of Technology to bring about tremendous societal change. My first mandate at Unitus was a fundraiser for an Ed-tech firm catering to affordable schools in Kenya. In the short span of a year, we helped the firm finance over 150 schools to develop infrastructure and enroll over 10,000 additional students. Such experiences of leading engagements with fintech and ed-tech companies that are taking forward the mantle of financial and educational inclusion are what inspires me. To push the boundaries of innovation these companies require access to capital – a goal I would like to champion.
My rather unique experience while working on impact-focused investments made me realize that there is a dearth of innovative financial products in the impact investment sector. Products such as green bonds and impact bonds have found limited traction in recent years despite the tremendous potential. Investment Bankers can provide insights and champion regulatory changes required to provide the much-needed impetus to the sector. That is why I want to upskill myself via an MBA to be a full-fledged investment banker, where I can pursue such causes and create a real impact in society.
An MBA from Columbia Business School would be an ideal stepping stone to help me achieve goals. I strongly believe with my prior experience in the investing space and armed with a business education from CBS, I will be ready to succeed as an investment banker and then pursue my long-term vision of a career specializing in ESG or impact investing.
Today most of the major private equity funds have added ESG as a core focus. Firms like Carlyle, KKR, Blackstone, and others have dedicated funds to impact investing. In the long term, I would aspire to lead engagements where I can help deploy capital to sustainable and impactful business models. Funding businesses that can empower communities, tackle climate change, bridge the divide between the markets and the “real economy” would be a dream come true.
Columbia MBA Essay 2: Why Columbia? (250 words)
For the last 7 years, I have led multiple engagements but my investment banking experience has mainly revolved around fundraising, with limited exposure to Mergers & Acquisition (M&A). In order to achieve my short-term objectives, I need to enhance and fulfill gaps in my knowledge of the investment process.
CBS, with its core courses and specialized electives covering M&A, and value investing programs, would fulfill the theoretical gaps in my understanding. The courses would help me build on my knowledge of the investment process, and set me up for success in my endeavors.
Other than academics, I would like to leverage the offerings at the Tamer center to expand and refine my understanding of impact investing. I am eager to engage and participate in the Investment Banking and Private Equity club events to gain hands-on exposure and mentoring from industry veterans.
My mentor and managing director of TresVista is also based out of New York. He has time and again stressed the importance of networking and that there is no better place than New York for my career plans. It is with his encouragement that I am applying to the MBA program at CBS.
CBS’s location provides a unique opportunity to be at the “Center of Business”. During my time at TresVista, I worked closely with several funds and investment banks based out of New York. The close proximity would allow the opportunity to leverage my existing network as well as expand it to unearth employment opportunities for myself.
Columbia MBA Essay 3: Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)
The Harry Potter series introduced me to the world of fantasy fiction. Since then, while I dove into the works of JRR Tolkein (LOTR), Paolini, Amish, Martin, and others, Harry Potter always held a special place. With each reading of the books, I identified with different characters, and a different message resonated.
Harry taught me the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. At 13, my family went through a period of extreme financial turmoil. We were forced to vacate our home and liquidate our savings. My parents worked tirelessly to restore our lives and at an early age, I learned the value of money. The story served as an inspiration to keep going despite tall odds.
Hermione taught me that perceived disadvantages can be overcome through diligence and intellect. As an engineer starting in finance, I invested considerable time and effort in mastering concepts and building a strong base of fundamentals. Consistently working towards excellence helped me build my own brand at both firms, enabling me to achieve multiple fast-track promotions.
Today, my hobbies and travel choices, and experiences are all driven by a strong sense of adventure, cultivated by my love for fantasy fiction. My fondest memories include scuba diving off the coast of Indonesia, sailing in the pristine waters in Thailand, or cliff diving off the rocky expanse of Dubrovnik. Harry Potter makes me believe that magic was just around the corner and gave hope for a better tomorrow.
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Columbia MBA Winning Sample Essay – 2
Columbia mba essay 1: through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. what are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job (500 words).
I have 3 years of experience as a lead software developer at Goldman Sachs, and over the next 3-5 years, my goal is to transition into a product management role to lead innovative product development in FinTech, within the personal finance domain.
One of the most impactful experiences of my life occurred in high school when I won my school’s innovation challenge. I designed a music streaming service that promoted the work of aspiring musicians in minority communities. At this moment, I saw the power of technology to drive social change, level the playing field, and open worlds of possibility to new audiences. This piqued my lifelong interest in learning and working at the intersection of entrepreneurship and engineering, which in turn inspired my decision to major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley.
At college, my intellectual journey was once again shaped through a technology contest; this time it was the CITRIS Mobile App Challenge, where the task was to design a technology company from the ground up. I researched potential gap markets and designed a delivery application that catered to college students, bagging a spot in the semifinals, which allowed me to present my idea to a panel of judges comprised of technology entrepreneurs. Their feedback provided me important insights into the entrepreneurial mindset required to establish a successful venture.
After graduation from Berkeley, I joined Goldman Sachs, where my experience has strengthened my resolve in the immense potential of technology to revolutionize the financial services industry. On a recent project, I implemented an innovative solution to automate the firm’s trade confirmation system by integrating it with DocuSign. I managed the entire project, gathered requirements, performed cost-benefit analysis, prioritized features, and collaborated with multiple stakeholders. This project made me realize that my true calling was in end-to-end product management.
Thus, my short-term post-MBA goal is to work as a product manager in a personal finance FinTech startup, such as Wealthfront or Chime. I aspire to leverage my technical expertise along with the knowledge of business and finance gained at CBS to develop features for products that make use of the latest technologies to create a positive impact on the consumer journey.
In the long run, I desire to start a technology company that would empower consumers by helping them achieve financial independence. Despite the current technological progress, an estimated 2 billion people globally do not have access to banking, which highlights the existence of a huge gap that needs to be plugged. The lack of access to basics in saving, borrowing, and investing keeps them out of the market, and I see a significant potential to make an impact in this domain through technology. By offering innovative yet simple opportunities whereby everyone would be able to make independent financial decisions, I aim to assist others to achieve their financial goals.
The MBA from Columbia Business School is the ideal stepping stone to help me achieve both my short-term and long-term goals.
Columbia MBA Essay 2: Why do you feel that Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 Words)
Through the MBA program at CBS, I desire to broaden my knowledge horizons outside of my technical experience into the business world and develop my personal leadership skills to achieve my goals.
CBS’s renowned product management courses will add a vital element to my knowledge to succeed in my short-term goal. Specifically, User Experience and Product Management will ensure that I always stay true to “keeping myself in the shoes of the consumer” at the forefront of all product development.
Along with theoretical knowledge, CBS provides avenues such as the Columbia FinTech club and Entrepreneurship Organization, that can give me experiential opportunities to implement classroom learnings. Also, CBS’s strategic location in the heart of New York City will provide me with invaluable access to industry leaders and help me develop my personal network at partner companies. Thus, I believe the practical experiences and networks acquired at CBS will help me lay a solid foundation for my future career in FinTech.
In addition to gaining hard skills and business acumen through the classroom and club experience, I plan to develop my soft skills via the numerous initiatives offered through the Advanced Leadership program at Leadership Lab. I look forward to improving upon my communication, negotiation, and team coordination skills, and will employ these to foster a collaborative culture at CBS and beyond.
Overall, CBS seems to be the complete package and a perfect fit for my desired learnings from an MBA program, both on a professional and personal front.
Columbia MBA Essay 3: Who is a leader you admire and why? (250 Words)
Virat Kohli is a cricket player whom I admired even before he became captain of the Indian cricket team – one of the most coveted positions in the sporting world.
As a player and cricket captain myself, I initially had difficulties coping with the vicissitudes of the game and was upset after a string of losses. So I started watching Virat’s interviews for inspiration, and one of his responses resonated with me: “wins and losses are a part of the game. It is important to maintain a balance – never be elated with your wins, and don’t get demoralized with losses.” I took his advice to heart and ultimately led my team to the finals, and secured the best player award.
I have also implemented this in my professional career at Goldman Sachs, where I uplift the team morale if a release does not go as planned. I believe that this habit has held me in good stead to face challenges without fear of failure.
Moreover, Virat goes to great lengths to support his teammates, mentoring and coaching them to improve, even when the media was castigating them. He believed in them despite everything, and these players have turned their game around under Virat’s leadership. Similarly, through my experiences mentoring students and a summer intern at work, I have come to embrace the idea that true success comes when you empower others to reach their potential, which in turn allows a group to become greater than the sum of its parts.
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MBA Sample Essays: Columbia MBA
Updated: Oct 8
Columbia MBA application requires four to five essay responses. Below is a compilation of MBA sample essays for Columbia MBA 2023 application cycle.
Columbia MBA Deadlines
13 September, 2023 (Jan & Aug 2024 Intake)
3 January 2024 (Aug 2024 Intake)
03 Apr 2024 (Aug 2024 Intake)
Columbia MBA Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?
MBA Sample Essay:
My immediate post-MBA professional goal is to secure a position as a management consultant at a top-tier consulting firm. I am particularly interested in working at a firm that has a strong focus on strategy and business transformation, as I believe that these areas are where I can make the greatest impact and utilize my skills and expertise to the fullest extent. I am drawn to a career in management consulting because I believe that it offers a unique opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients and industries and to be a part of a team that is dedicated to solving complex business challenges and driving positive change. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry, and I am confident that the skills and knowledge I will gain as an MBA student will prepare me to be a valuable contributor to a consulting team. Overall, I believe that a career in management consulting will provide me with the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the business world and to continue learning and growing as a professional. I am excited to pursue this career path and to use my skills and expertise to drive positive change for my clients and organizations.
MBA Sample Essays:
Essay 1 Columbia MBA : Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job?
As a current marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company, my short-term career goals over the next three to five years include continuing to advance within my current organization and expanding my skills and responsibilities. I am particularly interested in exploring new areas of marketing, such as digital and social media marketing, and want to take on more leadership roles within the company. In the long term, my dream job is to become a Chief Marketing Officer at a multinational corporation. I am also committed to staying up-to-date with the latest marketing trends and technologies and believe that an MBA will provide me with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this role. To achieve these goals, I am seeking an MBA from a top-tier business school like [Name of School]. I believe that the program's focus on experiential learning and real-world case studies will provide me with the practical skills and knowledge needed to excel in my career. Additionally, the program's strong alumni network and access to industry leaders will be invaluable in helping me to achieve my long-term career goals.
Essay 2 Columbia MBA:
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally?
MBA Essay sample:
There are several reasons why I feel that Columbia Business School would be an ideal fit for me in terms of academics, culture, and professional development. Specifically, I am particularly attracted to the school's emphasis on experiential learning and the use of real-world case studies as part of its curriculum. I believe that this approach will provide me with the practical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in my career. I am also attracted to the school's diverse course offerings and the opportunity to customize my MBA through the elective curriculum. Culturally, I appreciate the school's diverse and international community. As someone who has lived and worked in several different countries, I value the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. I also believe that the school's location in the heart of New York City, one of the world's leading financial and business hubs, will provide endless opportunities for networking and professional development. I believe that the connections and mentorship opportunities offered by the school will be invaluable in helping me to achieve my long-term career goals. I am also drawn to the school's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, values that align with my own personal and professional goals. I am confident that the school's rigorous and immersive MBA program will provide me with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in my career.
Essay 3 Columbia MBA:
Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you.
MBA Essay Sample:
My favorite book is "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. What I love about this book is that it encourages the reader to follow their dreams and pursue their passions no matter what obstacles may come their way. It also emphasizes the importance of perseverance and the power of positive thinking. These are lessons that I try to apply in my own life, and reading "The Alchemist" always serves as a reminder to stay true to myself and never give up on my dreams. Another reason that this book resonates with me is because it explores themes of self-discovery and personal growth. Santiago's journey is not just about achieving his external goals, but also about learning more about himself and his own capabilities. This is something that I believe is important for everyone, and reading "The Alchemist" helps me to reflect on my own personal growth and development. Overall, "The Alchemist" is a powerful and inspiring story that has had a lasting impact on me and continues to resonate with me to this day.
Deferred Enrollment Program Columbia MBA:
Essay Question 1
Why are you interested in obtaining a Columbia MBA in the future?
As a dedicated and ambitious professional, I have always been driven to excel in my career and make a meaningful impact in the business world. Over the past several years, I have gained valuable experience in my field, but I have also come to realize that there is always more to learn and ways to improve. The prestige and reputation of Columbia Business School make it a top choice for those seeking to further their education and career prospects. The world-class faculty, diverse student body, and rigorous curriculum all offer unparalleled opportunities for personal and professional growth. The various experiential learning programs, such as the Value Investing Program and the Global Business Experience, provide hands-on opportunities to apply what is learned in the classroom to real business challenges. This practical approach is exactly what I am seeking in an MBA program, as it will allow me to immediately apply my newfound knowledge and skills to my career. Furthermore, the strong alumni network and wide range of partnerships with leading companies make Columbia an ideal place to build my professional network and secure the right opportunities for my future. Overall, I am confident that a Columbia MBA will provide me with the knowledge, skills, and network needed to take my career to the next level and make a meaningful impact in the business world. I am excited about the opportunities and challenges that the program will bring, and I am eager to be a part of the Columbia community."
Question 2 Deferred Enrollment Program Columbia Essay
Who is a leader you admire, and why?
One leader that I admire is Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. I have long been impressed by Nadella's ability to navigate the constantly evolving technology industry and drive innovation at a company as large and established as Microsoft. He has actively worked to foster a culture of diversity and inclusivity at Microsoft, recognizing that these values are essential to the company's success. He has also been vocal about the importance of empathy in leadership, believing that it helps leaders understand and connect with their teams and customers. In addition to his focus on empathy and inclusivity, Nadella is also known for his strategic vision and ability to adapt to change. Under his leadership, Microsoft has made significant shifts in its business model, including the transition to a cloud-first, mobile-first focus and the acquisition of LinkedIn. Overall, I admire Nadella's ability to lead with empathy and adaptability, and I believe these qualities make him a valuable role model for any leader.
Contact an admission consultant at GOALisB for assistance with your MBA essay. Whatsapp us at +91 7719497187 or email at [email protected].
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How to Get into Columbia Business School: CBS Essay Tips and Examples
May 19, 2023
Columbia Business School (CBS) requires its applicants to submit a short-answer goal statement of just 50 words and three somewhat concise written essays. Like the goal statement, CBS’s first essay prompt is about candidates’ career aspirations, but in the long term and in much more depth (at 500 words). For their second essay, applicants must discuss their active role in a diversity, equity, and inclusion experience, and for the third, they are asked to explain why they want an MBA from CBS in particular. Together, by balancing career goals with more personal, values- and character-based topics, the school’s essays should provide candidates with sufficient opportunity to provide a well-rounded impression of themselves as aspiring CBS MBAs. Read on for our detailed analysis of the program’s 2023–2024 questions.
Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2023–2024
Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
Examples of possible responses:, – “work in business development for a media company.”, – “join a strategy consulting firm.”“launch a data-management start-up.”.
CBS applicants accustomed to Twitter’s standard 280-character allowance might find CBS’s 50-character limit here more than a little challenging—especially considering that it includes spaces! To get a sense of how brief your opportunity really is, note that the school’s question is itself exactly 50 characters. With such limited space, this can hardly be considered a true essay, but you will need to approach it with the same level of thought and focus you give all your other written responses for CBS. During a Q&A mbaMission conducted with several top admissions officers, Assistant Dean of Admissions Amanda Carlson commented,
That 50 characters really helps people to just break it down very simply for themselves and simply for us . . . . Pursuing business education, it’s a huge investment in time, in money, in effort, in energy, and I think this 50-character exercise is as much for the candidate as it is for our team, and we want to know that people are serious, they’re focused, and they’re ready for this kind of adventure.
So, this prompt is a no-nonsense request for information that is all about getting to the point and telling the admissions committee what it needs to know—that you have a clear and achievable goal. The school’s sample responses illustrate not only that conveying the requested information in such a tight space is definitely doable but also that you do not need to worry too much about grammatical issues or crafting a complete sentence (in other words, you do not need to start your response with “I want to” or something similar). We like to offer the statement “Reveal true goals, not what you think CBS wants” as both our own example of keeping things concise and our advice on how to approach and fulfill this request.
So think about what you truly want to do with your career in the short term and state this aspiration directly. Keep in mind that the rest of your application needs to provide evidence that your stated goal aligns with your existing skills and profound interests, especially once they have been augmented by an MBA education. This will show that your professed goal is achievable and lend credibility to your statement. If you can do this in 50 characters (not words !), you will have done what you need to answer the school’s question quite well.
Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)
CBS starts this essay question by more or less telling you not to recap your career thus far, so we strongly recommend that you do so (and briefly, at that) only if context is absolutely needed for your stated goals to be understood and/or believable—perhaps if you are making a fairly remarkable career change. Pay particular attention to the phrase “dream job” with respect to the long-term portion of the question. The school is prompting you to be creative and perhaps even to challenge or push yourself to think big. CBS wants individuals who do not just follow prescribed paths according to someone else’s blueprint but who are aspirational and more inclined to forge their own way. This is not to suggest that if you have a more traditional plan in mind that you are in trouble or at risk of losing the admissions committee’s attention, but you might need to take a little extra time to consider your ambitions from the perspective of “what if?” and to delve more deeply into what you hope to achieve to find the more personal and inspiring elements of your goals. Showing creativity and individualism here can only be helpful.
Although this is not a request for a textbook personal statement essay, your response will certainly involve some elements of the topics covered in such a submission, such as short- and long-term goals. The mbaMission Personal Statement Guide offers advice on brainstorming and crafting such essays, along with multiple illustrative examples, and could therefore be helpful in preparing your CBS response to this prompt. You can download your free copy here .
Essay 2: The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the skills and strategies needed to develop as inclusive leaders. Through various resources and programming, the goal is for students to explore and reflect during their educational journey on the following five inclusive leadership skills: Mitigating Bias and Prejudice; Managing Intercultural Dialogue; Addressing Systemic Inequity; Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking; and Creating an Inclusive Environment.
Describe a time or situation when you had the need to utilize one or more of these five skills, and tell us the actions you took and the outcome. (maximum 250 words).
Many of the top MBA programs are including essay questions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their applications, and CBS is no exception, though it does focus on five specific (and per CBS, “essential”) skills that fall under the DEI umbrella. In business school—as in life in general—you will encounter people who think differently from you, come from notably different backgrounds, and operate according to different values. And achieving success in an endeavor can involve weighing, navigating, and often incorporating the views of others in one’s efforts. With this essay prompt, CBS wants to learn about your firsthand experience with such differences.
While you are in the school’s MBA program, you will be surrounded every day by individuals who are unlike you in a multitude of ways, and you will need to work in tandem with and alongside these individuals when analyzing case studies, completing group projects, and participating in other activities both inside and outside the classroom. CBS has created the PPIL program to help students more easily and appropriately navigate DEI topics and situations, but first, the admissions committee wants some evidence that you are capable of learning such lessons and acting on them when appropriate. It also wants to gauge your current level of understanding of the concepts and your ability to apply them by having you relate an illustrative story from your past.
To start, be sure that you understand the three core concepts fully: diversity, equity, and inclusion. Of the three, equity is the most easily misinterpreted, with people often assuming it is interchangeable with equality. While equality implies same, equity implies fair—requiring not that everyone be provided for or treated identically but rather that each person be provided for or treated appropriately for their particular situation. Similarly, true inclusion goes beyond simply providing a seat at the table, so to speak, for everyone on a team and demands that each person be invited or at least allowed to contribute in a meaningful way and that those contributions be valued on par with those of other team members.
Without question, recent years have certainly offered a multitude of contexts and situations in which people could “show up” for others who are different from them and work to ensure fairness and appropriate inclusion, such as participating in an organized protest or march, or stepping in when someone was being harassed or marginalized in some way. Again, CBS wants you to provide evidence of how you act on your values and ideals, so you cannot simply discuss why you believe that being “an ethical and inclusive leader” is important—you need to clearly describe a relevant situation and your mind-set, motivations, and actions. Fully illustrating and exemplifying the “how” element is crucial for this essay to be its most effective, so be as thorough as possible (within the rather restrictive 250-word limit) in explaining your thought process and the steps you took to make a difference.
Because the school places no restrictions on the environment in which your experience(s) occurred, be sure to consider all the areas of your life (personal, community, professional) to uncover your strongest example. Similarly, the admissions committee does not stipulate that you must have been acting in a leadership capacity in the story you share, but if you have a strong example in which you were directing a team, group, or initiative, it would likely make for an even more compelling essay.
Essay 3: We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams , an extremely active co-curricular and student life environment, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program .
Why do you feel columbia business school is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally, please be specific (250 words).
To effectively answer the school’s question for this essay, you will need to conduct some significant research on all aspects of CBS and the MBA experience it offers, from its resources and community to its extracurriculars and location. The admissions committee calls out three major elements of the CBS program within the prompt and links to more information about them, so we recommend starting (or ideally, continuing ) your research there, even if you do not immediately think any of the three applies to you personally. In your essay, you must present a clear plan of action, showing direct connections between CBS’s offerings and your interests, personality, and needs. Note that the prompt does not present an “and/or” choice in its request—”academically, culturally, and professionally”—so you must be sure to address all three angles in your essay and do so thoroughly and relatively equally. This will demonstrate to the admissions committee that you are truly a good fit for, and enthusiastic about, the entire CBS MBA experience rather than being narrowly focused on just a few key resources or aspects.
Note that generic claims and empty pandering have no place at all in this rather compact essay. Any elements of CBS that you reference must be specific to your interests, character, and needs, and the connections between them must be made very clear. Be authentic about what draws you to CBS in particular, and create a narrative explaining how you will grow through the opportunities available there and benefit from the overall experience.
The “why our school?” topic is a common element of a typical personal statement, so we (again) encourage you to download a free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide , which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. It explains ways of approaching this subject effectively and offers several sample essays as guides. Click here to access your complimentary copy.
And for a thorough exploration of CBS’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Columbia Business School is also available for free.
Optional Essay: If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)
CBS’s optional essay question starts out sounding like an open invitation to discuss almost anything you feel like sharing with the admissions committee but then puts the spotlight on addressing problem areas specifically (“areas of concern”). The additional directive about bullet points seems to be a not-too-veiled indicator that the school wants you to just impart any key information rather than offering a detailed and long-winded explanation of the issue in question. Without a doubt, this is not an opportunity to share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to the admissions committee. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or potentially confusing element of your candidacy (a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc.), we do not recommend that you submit an option essay; if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide , we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.
The Next Step—Mastering Your CBS Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Columbia Business School Interview Guide today.
2023-2024 Business School Columbia University (Columbia Business School) Essays MBA Essay Tips
Tags: business school essay Columbia Business School free guides Insider's Guides MBA application essays optional essay
- Jan 18, 2024 MBA Interview Workshop (Online)
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- Jan 3, 2024 Harvard (Round 2)
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- Jan 4, 2024 Berkeley Haas (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 Chicago Booth (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 Dartmouth Tuck (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 Georgetown McDonough (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 Penn Wharton (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 Stanford GSB (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 UNC Kenan-Flagler (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 UW Foster (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 Virginia Darden (Round 2)
- Jan 4, 2024 Yale SOM (Round 2)
Click here to see the complete deadlines
2023–2024 MBA Essay Tips
- Anderson School of Management
- Cambridge Judge Business School
- Chicago Booth School of Business
- Columbia Business School
- Cox School of Business
- Darden School of Business
- Esade Business School
- Fisher College of Business
- Foster School of Business
- Fuqua School of Business
- Goizueta Business School
- Haas School of Business
- Harvard Business School
- HKUST Business School
- IE Business School
- IESE Business School
- International Institute for Management Development
- Ivey Business School
- Johnson Graduate School of Management
- Kellogg School of Management
- Kenan-Flagler Business School
- London Business School
- Marshall School of Business
- McCombs School of Business
- McDonough School of Business
- Mendoza College of Business
- MIT Sloan School of Management
- Questrom School of Business
- Ross School of Business
- Rotman School of Management
- Saïd Business School
- Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Stern School of Business
- Tepper School of Business
- The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management
- The Wharton School
- Tuck School of Business
- Villanova School of Business
- Yale School of Management
- Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management Essay Analysis, 2023–2024
Click here for the 2022–2023 MBA Essay Tips
MBA Program Updates
- Boston University (Questrom)
- Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
- Columbia University (Columbia Business School)
- Consortium for Graduate Study in Management
- Cornell University (Johnson)
- Dartmouth College (Tuck)
- Duke University (Fuqua)
- Emory University (Goizueta)
- George Washington University (GWSB)
- Georgetown University (McDonough)
- Harvard University (Harvard Business School)
- Indian School of Business
- Indiana University (Kelley)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
- New York University (Stern)
- Northwestern University (Kellogg)
- Notre Dame (Mendoza)
- Ohio State University (Fisher College)
- Oxford University (Saïd Business School)
- Penn State Smeal College of Business
- Southern Methodist University (Cox School of Business)
- Stanford University (Stanford Graduate School of Business)
- University of California Los Angeles (Anderson)
- University of Cambridge (Judge)
- University of Chicago (Booth)
- University of London (London Business School)
- University of Michigan (Ross)
- University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)
- University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
- University of Southern California (Marshall)
- University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)
- University of Virginia (Darden)
- Vanderbilt University (Owen)
- Yale University (School of Management)
2023-2024 Columbia Business School Essay Tips and Example Essays
Jun 11, 2023
- Who is Columbia looking for?
- How should I answer the CBS essay questions?
- Get Into Columbia Business School
- CBS Deadlines
UPDATE : This article was originally posted on August 22, 2018. It has been updated with new information and tips below.
Located in the heart of New York City, Columbia Business School offers its students access not only to top-notch academics but also to myriad networking opportunities outside of the classroom. Famous for having big names like Warren Buffett drop into classes to discuss past deals, Columbia truly offers unparalleled access to some of the biggest names in business.
Given its tight-knit network, reputation as a finance powerhouse, and privileged location, landing a spot at Columbia Business School is no small feat.
That’s why we’ve prepared this guide to help you use your Columbia admissions essays to stand out. We’ve rounded up not only our best tips but have also included example Columbia MBA essays to ensure you give your Columbia application your best shot.
1. Who is Columbia looking for?
(Photo courtesy of @columbia_biz on Instagram)
“Only Columbia Business School gives you the opportunity to shape your career in the very center of business. There’s something about being positioned in New York City, where access to leaders across industry is truly advantageous. Here you will learn to take on challenges and respond dynamically. You’ll gain skills to succeed in fast-moving, competitive environments anywhere. Hone your strengths. Find your best career path. Realize success.” Columbia Business School Admissions
Every year, Columbia’s admissions team enrolls around 850 students for their prestigious MBA program out of around 6,100 applications. Though CBS does work hard to admit a diverse class (44% of the Class of 2024 were women, 51% were international citizens, and 42% were of minority origins (in the US), they do tend to admit applicants with 5 years of work experience. Applicants also tend to have average GMATs of 729 (GRE scores were not reported ).
Nonetheless, that does not mean that Columbia looks simply for good test-takers. Instead, they want a talented, principled, well-networked group of business leaders.
According to Columba’s Admissions team:
In addition, Columbia tends to respond favorably to applicants who can demonstrate that studying in New York City is a differential for them, so make sure to reflect on how you will use the city of New York to complement your learning and accelerate your career.
If this sounds like the perfect B-school for you, you’ll first have to prove you’ve got what it takes by successfully answering Columbia’s admissions essay questions.
2. How should I answer the CBS essay questions?
Columbia has multiple different essays on a relatively wide range of topics. Our tips below break each down in detail.
2.1. Short Answer Tips
Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
Examples of possible responses:
-“Work in business development for a media company.”
-“Join a strategy consulting firm.”
-“Launch a data-management start-up.
In their instructions, Columbia asks you to be extremely straightforward in telling them what you want to do professionally (and in which industry) immediately after graduating.
Since you’ve only got 50 characters, get straight to the point and make sure you answer the question they are asking (job + industry). Being creative at the expense of giving them the information they want will be a mistake. Finally, no need to add “I want to…” here. Just jump right in.
2.2. Essay 1 Tips
Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)
Like last year, CBS wants you to focus more on your longer-term plans (logical, since they have asked for your immediate post-MBA goal in the first question). This type of question reveals that CBS is interested in understanding your plans for the future in terms of how you see your career advancing over the long haul.
To answer this question, like any goals essay , it’s important to keep in mind that this is not a restatement or dramatic retelling of your CV. You will, however, want to provide a few lines of context, as this helps the reader later understand that you have the skills and motivations necessary to succeed in your goals.
Next, launch into your 3-5 year goal. This should be related to your post-MBA goal and should state how you intend to continue growing. Stagnant goals here will not work well.
Finally, make sure you state your long-term plans. Columbia asks you for your dream job, so really dream! Envision the impact you want to achieve in the world with your career and discuss why this “dream job” is so important for you. At the same time, make sure your dream job is feasible.
They do not ask you how CBS will help you reach your goals, like many other goals essays do. As such, keep any mentions of CBS brief and ensure the star of the show here is your future and your motivations for pursuing the path you desire.
TOP TIP : If you’re still not sure about your MBA goals, we’ve written a post designed to help you think through what your objectives are and how you might present them in your MBA application. You can check that post out here !
Need more guidance?
Our MBA Resource Center has dozens of past successful Columbia Business School essays that worked to get our clients admitted and a detailed brainstorm to help you plan out a winning CBS essay.
Our center also includes guides for all top global MBA programs, detailed essay brainstorms, interview tips and mocks, CV templates, and recommendation letter guides. Click to join !
2.3. Essay 2 Tips
Essay 2: The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on five essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias and Prejudice, Managing Intercultural Dialogue, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking.
Tell us about a time when you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)
The topic of diversity and inclusion has become increasingly center stage both in the business world and in MBA admissions. Columbia’s return to an essay question focused on their PPIL program is a reflection of Columbia’s continued effort to train leaders who truly value and promote inclusivity.
Of course, success in business school and in your future career highly depends on your ability to work well with people who are different from you. But as the question also touches upon “mitigating bias” and “addressing systemic inequity,” it seems to me that Columbia is making a statement that the successful leaders of the future are those who actively promote ethical, inclusive work environments and company cultures.
This essay prompt gives you the chance to prove that you have already had the opportunity to either work in an environment with others who are different from you or have championed the cause of diversity, ethics, bias, inclusion, or inequality in some meaningful way.
The wording of the question makes it clear to me that this is not the place to write an essay that gives a superficial nod to diversity. For example, perhaps you held a 1-hour training session for the only woman on your team. Though this technically does fall under the category of promoting diversity, it just doesn’t convey the image that DEI is a topic that you resonate with and have actively promoted.
Before deciding if this is one of the three essays you should write, I think it’s important to first examine exactly what types of scenarios the question is asking about. Let’s break them down one by one.
Creating an Inclusive Environment : Inclusivity often gets thrown together with the concept of diversity, and is often used interchangeably with this term. However, inclusivity is more than just bringing diverse perspectives to the table. It’s fostering those perspectives and ensuring that they are fully able to meaningfully contribute.
Mitigating Bias and Prejudice : Bias, especially unconscious bias and how it shapes our decisions, is a critical issue to tackle when promoting greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.
For example, several years back we worked with a client from Latin America who had built a career in the public sector. Though English was not used in any way in the work his department did, a rigorous English test was administered as part of the hiring process in order to keep traditionally privileged people in government jobs. Recognizing how this bias was greatly damaging the fairness of the public service exam – and access to equal opportunities for stable jobs – our client took action and campaigned for a year to remove the English test as part of the hiring process. The results were tremendous, and the practice has been rolled out to other local and state governments.
This is the perfect type of example to use for this question. If you do choose to write on this topic, make sure the bias – and how you actively challenged it – is clear.
Managing Intercultural Dialogue : If you decide to go in this direction, make sure the example clearly demonstrates how you communicated or helped facilitate communication across different cultures. It might be helpful to keep the Council of Europe ’s definition of Intercultural Dialogue in mind as you brainstorm: “In a general sense, the objective of intercultural dialogue is to learn to live together peacefully and constructively in a multicultural world and to develop a sense of community and belonging.”
When choosing an example, make sure you clearly show how the identities you communicated across were different, what techniques you used to overcome the challenges associated with this type of communication, and what the final outcome was.
I wouldn’t frame this as a single conversation, but would contextualize it in the form of a STAR-format story where communicating across identities is core to the example.
Addressing Systemic Inequity : I feel like this is the most difficult but one of the most potentially powerful options for this essay. Addressing systemic, entrenched inequity is no easy task. With the numerous candidates we’ve worked with over the past years, I can think of very few who had a story that would fit this answer.
First, it’s important to define the difference between inequality and inequity. Many people use them interchangeably, but they mean very different things. We love this simple yet effective illustration by Sollis that demonstrates the two terms:
As such, if you choose this option, you need to make sure you show a story where you challenged a long-standing lack of fairness . Of course, showing exactly how you did that – and why you decided to take this issue on – is of paramount importance.
Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking : New compared to the list presented the last time this question was asked, this question is broad enough to include many different experiences with diversity, including your own personal experiences.
Since the question asks you to discuss perspective taking, I don’t recommend choosing an experience solely focused on exploring your own identity (more on this later). However, you can focus on your own identity in relation to others. You could also focus on an experience that allowed you to understand another person or group’s identity.
It’s important to note that this skill is presented as Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking, not either/or. As such, a complete answer here also needs to address the perspective taking part of your experience.
As you brainstorm, it might be helpful to keep this definition from LinkedIn in mind, “Perspective taking is defined as trying on the perspective of another without fully agreeing or understanding the complexity of their perspective. Then, you can search to uncover and learn why they may have that perspective.”
So, great examples here are going to focus on understanding an identity in some way and then trying on the perspective of another to learn why they have that perspective.
Remember, though – you should share a clear story on this theme. A broad personal narrative or intellectual discussion of identity or perspective taking won’t work well for this assignment.
Overall, we suggest you start by considering the brand you are presenting to CBS and examine which examples might fit one of the five areas above. Though your example might actually tick multiple boxes, it’s imperative that you choose an example that fully links to one of the five concepts above.
Though examples where you experienced one of the above work well, examples where you took action to overcome one of the challenges presented is, in my view, even better. If you were the one who faced discrimination in the example you choose, that also works well for this essay.
Then, make sure you narrow this list down to your single best story . In a 250-word essay , you won’t have time to fully explore multiple examples, so limit yourself to one excellent story.
Finally, write from the heart. Share the context, show why you took action, and tell us both the outcome of the story and how it changed you. Equally as important, avoid shaming or blaming others involved in the situation. If you have an example that fits this question, you’re well on your way to a “small but mighty” admissions essay.
2.4. Essay 3 Tips
We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams , an extremely active co-curricular and student life environment, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program.
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? (250 words)
I think the best way to break down this essay is to think about your answers for each of the three aspects CBS notes in the question: academics, culture, professional development.
Let’s start with tackling the academics part of this question .
To begin, we suggest you do deep research into Columbia’s MBA and make a list of the opportunities you hope to pursue.
An MBA is not a catch-all degree that serves a purpose for all career paths. As such, you need to demonstrate that the goals you have set for yourself require the additional training that the CBS MBA can provide.
Be thoughtful about this particular section. If you show fluffy or unsupported ways in which you plan to take advantage of the CBS curriculum, you’ll also likely see your application tossed aside in favor of an applicant who was able to clearly demonstrate how they plan to leverage their time at business school.
Instead, show that you deeply understand Columbia’s curriculum and have done significant, thoughtful research into how their academic opportunities will help you reach the goals you laid out in Essay 1.
Then, tie each of these to a specific development goal you have during your MBA or a specific reason each. You won’t have space for a lot of reasons here since the question asks you to cover three different pillars, so we suggest focusing on 2-3 ways you can benefit from CBS academically.
Considering the professional aspect , the benefits of an MBA extend far beyond the classroom, and nowhere is that more true than at Columbia.
Since the city of New York plays such an important role in your CBS education, you want to demonstrate here that you’ve fully considered how you will take advantage of the city’s varied offerings and how this will lead to your development.
Furthermore, Columbia is very proud of its many unique advantages (like renowned business leaders “dropping into” CBS classes), so you may also choose to discuss elements of the CBS MBA program like these that attract you.
For example, a few years ago, our client Helena wanted to use her CBS MBA to transition from investment banking to private equity. When reflecting on the advantages CBS and New York City offered her to support this move, she knew access to one of the world’s PE hotspots was a huge asset, and opened her essay like this:
“When I decided to pursue an MBA to transition into Private Equity, I knew there was only one place to make this career change: New York City. The industry originally began there, and the city is still a hub for PE activity. I plan to capitalize on this geographical advantage and intern at one of these top firms. Putting theory into practice in New York, where the biggest, most important global deals are done, will give me an unmatched opportunity to build experience in deal execution with the very best.”
Beyond CBS’ privileged location, you’ll also want to consider other aspects of the program specifically geared towards professional advancement and development, like the Executives-in-Residence program the prompt mentions. No matter what you choose, make sure you clearly connect how these opportunities will specifically help you reach your professional development goals.
It is also important that you address the part of the question people often overlook – how does CBS align with you culturally? Addressing this topic means really finding one of the core values of the school and finding a way to discuss how it aligns with your career plans in a meaningful way. To do this, we suggest bringing in some mention of how you have exhibited one of Columbia’s values, such as promoting DEI or being a good collaborator, and connect it to how you will continue to pursue this value at CBS in specific ways.
While you should do your own research to find the most relevant courses, opportunities, values, and people at Columbia for your goals and experience, we do suggest addressing one of the opportunities mentioned directly in the question ( clusters and learning teams , the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership , and the Executives-in-Residence program ). Particularly, we suggest that you address the topic of diversity and inclusion, which is foundational to CBS’s increased efforts to train leaders who truly value and promote inclusivity.
Finally, make sure to include meaningful mentions of any students or alumni you’ve interacted with and how they have shaped your view that CBS is the best school for you. A laundry list of names won’t work here, but a quote from a mentor or citation of a class recommendation from a friend that helped reinforce your interest in Columbia would be appropriate.
TOP TIP : When writing your essay, strive for the same level of specificity and connection to your specific professional and personal goals.
2.5. Optional Essay Tips
If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)
This optional essay is unlike other schools’ essays, in that it is open enough to speak about more than just “issues” in your application. If you do have a low GMAT score, poor academic record, or other pressing weakness, please use this space to address the issue(s).
However, if you would like, you can also use this space to discuss a personal challenge you have overcome or some unique factor in your profile you were not able to address in the essays.
Do not use the essay to discuss “Why Columbia. ” You have ample space to address this in other parts of the essay.
2.6. Reapplicant Essay Tips
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).
We have written extensively on the topic of reapplicant essays here .
Looking for Columbia Business School MBA essay examples? Check out our real sample essays that got our clients admitted here .
3. Get Into Columbia Business School
One of the most common mistakes we see in MBA essays is that candidates fail to tell compelling stories . This is important because if your stories are not compelling, they will not be persuasive. At the same time, they must be backed by strong examples that establish a track record of success and prove to the admissions committees why you belong at their school.
Striking this balance between content and creativity can be tough, however, as succeeding means not only choosing the right stories but ensuring they are told in an optimal manner.
This is why our iterative developmental feedback process here at Ellin Lolis Consulting helps you mold your message through the application of our storytelling expertise until it reflects exactly what makes your profile stand out and show fit with your target program.
That’s the approach we took with Elisa, who was admitted to Columbia. In her words. “Ellin Lolis MBA Consulting helped me clarify my goals for the future and communicate those ideas effectively in my various essays. I’m confident that their editing suggestions helped me present myself as the best candidate I could be, which led me to get into CBS.
I would highly recommend Ellin Lolis as they were fantastic at helping me flesh out ideas I had in my head in a way that would make the most impact with an admissions committee.”
Not only can you take advantage of our editing expertise through multiple edits – you can also benefit from it after a single review! If your budget is tight, our editors will be happy to help polish your text as much as possible and leave “bonus comments” so you can keep working on it on your own!
No matter how long we work with you, we will always ensure your essays shine . Sign up to work with our team of storytelling experts and get accepted.
4. CBS Deadlines
Find below the deadlines for the 2023-2024 application cycle. You can start an online application by clicking here .
Columbia is no longer using rolling admissions (except for the January intake) and has moved to a traditional rounds system (as detailed below).
Real MBA Essays That Got People In
School-specific sample essays that got our clients accepted
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Ready to start your MBA Success?
Columbia Business School #ColumbiaMBA Written Application
Information is subject to change. Please verify all data with the schools.
Goal short answer
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters or less)
Columbia Essay #1
Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)
Columbia Essay #2
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)
Columbia Essay #3
Tell us about your favorite book, movie or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)
Columbia Optional Essay
Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)
Short Answer Question: post-MBA goal
Questions behind the Questions
What job do you hope to have when you graduate?
This is your short-term goal (STG)
Most goals fit into one or more of these three categories: vertical move (CEO), horizontal move (career changer), start-up (entrepreneur)
My assumption: Admissions Committee readers prefer goals that are 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. Are you trying to move up in your current industry? (vertical move)
Move towards a C-suite office (CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, CIO, etc.)
2. Are you trying to change your 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. Are you trying to join or launch a start-up? (entrepreneur)
Are you thinking of joining a startup?
Are you thinking of creating a new business by yourself or with others?
Which of these three are you pursuing?
Are you ambitious yet realistic?
If you are seen as a "triple jumper," you might be too ambitious
A triple jumper expects to change country, industry and function
Meanwhile, if you are writing that you plan to return to your current job, then you are probably too realistic
THE QUESTION BEHIND THE QUESTION
Can you get a job?
Are you a double switcher or a triple jumper?
A double switcher is an applicant who seeks to change two of three variables post-MBA. And a triple jumper seeks to change all three
The three variables are
Admissions Committees might be concerned if you are a double switcher or a triple jumper if you appear to have unrealistic career expectations
Concision is critical
If you know your plan, you can express it concisely
If you can express your short-term goals concisely, you are more likely to achieve them
Questions behind the question
Long term career goal
What job do you want in ten or more years?
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 utilize the expert knowledge and skills, as well as the professional relationships that you established during your consulting career.
Most long-term goals can be simplified to fit one of two paths
1. The CEO Path
Lead an existing organization as a C-level executive role such as CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, CIO, etc.
2. The Entrepreneur Path
Join or create a new organization as an entrepreneur
How does an MBA best prepare you to transition from your short-term goal to your C-level executive role?
A future CEO might be trying to use an MBA to help transition
from specialist to generalist
from tactician to strategist
from problem solver to problem finder
If you plan to lead a large organization, 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 start a company?
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
Perhaps you could reach a C-suite office or create a company without business school. Still, earning your Columbia MBA accelerates your progress and maximizes your potential.
More tips on how to write the " goals / why MBA" essay ,
Why is Columbia a good match for you? What will you gain from the program?
Think about the three P's:
What professors or programs best prepare you to achieve your short and long term goals?
Can you define Columbia's unique student culture in your own words?
Can you mention the names of students and alumni? Who do you know?
Cite your sources. Include quotes from current students and alumni who can verify and elaborate on your reasons for choosing Columbia
What did you discuss with them? How did those discussions confirm and deepen your insights into the Columbia MBA experience?
How do the people you know embody Columbia MBA? Can you find something in their personality that matches yours?
Perhaps it is something about their sense of humor
Or their way of solving problems
Or their way of communicating and collaborating with teams
How did Columbia MBA change them?
Why do you want to experience a similar transformation?
THE QUESTIONS 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?
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
fast paced and adaptable
QUESTION BEHIND THE QUESTION
Why do you fit Columbia's student culture?
What can you contribute to that culture?
What community and social opportunities have you identified that you can best capture by studying at Columbia Business School?
Do you understand the Columbia Business School community?
Please start by learning as much as you can about life at Columbia.
Develop your hypothesis about why Columbia best prepares you to accomplish your post-MBA goals.
Then, contact current students to confirm your hypothesis.
QUESTIONS BEHIND THE QUESTION
What aspects of your academic record might concern Admissions Committee readers?
What aspects of your personal history might interest Admissions Committee readers?
Please see Is the MBA admissions Optional Essay truly optional?
Short answer questions
①Add Employer （Duties/Responsibilities）
(###/500 incl. spaces)
②Please provide an explanation for any gaps in your employment history: 1000 characters
Instructions: List up to 3 collegiate extracurricular activities and up to 3 post-collegiate extracurricular activities in order of importance.
- Order of Importance : 1
- Type : During College
- Organization Name :
- Country :
- Dates of Participation :
- Frequency of Participation :
- Description of Participation
- Order of Importance : 2
- Organization Name :
-Dates of Participation :
-Frequency of Participation :
-Description of Participation
- Order of Importance : 3
- State :
- Dates of Participation :
- Frequency of Participation :
- Description of Participation
- Description of Participation
- Type : Post College
- City :
Please list other activities or interests that you regularly engage in
Letters of Recommendation (LoRs)
All first-time applications require two recommendations. Reapplicants are required to submit one new recommendation. 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 share their insights on your candidacy.
If you are a college senior or have worked full-time for fewer 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 whom 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:
How do the candidate's performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.
Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response.
Please be aware: The Admissions Committee requires that all application materials be submitted online, including recommendations.
Please limit your recommendation to 1,000 words.
(found at http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/programs-admissions/mba/admissions/application-requirements#5; accessed 2014/05)
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 when you submit your application.
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.
Columbia Business School 2016 MBA (Class of 2018) Essays
Instructions: In addition to learning about your professional aspirations, the Admissions Committee hopes to gain an understanding of your interests, values and motivations through these essays. There are no right or wrong answers and we encourage you to answer each question thoughtfully. The “What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?” question, Essay
Goal short answer (50 chars) Essay 1 (500 words), Essay 2 (250 words) and Essay 3 (250 words) are all required.
Please watch these videos, and then read the tips below.
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
Asian Business Association
Black Business Students Association
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
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
Military in Business Association
Outdoor Adventure Club
Rugby Football Club
Women’s Touch Rugby
World Tour Club
Student Government and Leadership
Bernstein Leadership and Ethics Board
Graduate Business Association
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Columbia Business School is proud to partner with organizations both on and off campus that are devoted to supporting women in business.
10,000 Women Initiative
Office of Work/Life
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Reapplications to Columbia Business School
Those reapplying more than one year after their previous application should adhere to all the requirements of new applicants. Those reapplying one year or less from the date of their previous application need only do the following:
Submit a new application fee (US$250).
Update the “Personal,” “Family,” “Employment,” “Education,” and “Extracurricular Activities” sections of the online application.
Update the “How Will You Finance Your MBA?” section of the online application.
Submit transcripts of any additional courses taken since your previous application.
Submit one new, two-part essay:
A. How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied, and address how you plan to achieve your post-MBA and long-term professional goals. (Maximum of 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)
Submit one new recommendation letter, preferably from your current employer, but if not, another colleague in a supervisory role or a client will suffice.
Reapplicants with questions should contact the Admissions Office at [email protected] or 212-854-1961.
Please note that candidates may only apply once to a given term of entry.
(found at http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/applynow ; accessed 2012/07)
NOTE: 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 specialized 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 analyzing business cases.
Information is subject to change. Please, verify all data with the schools.
How to Tackle the Columbia MBA Essay Questions
June 03, 2023 | by Karen Hamou
Columbia Business School requires three essays in its MBA application. For the 2023–2024 admissions cycle, they have changed one essay — or, rather, reverted back to one in use a few years ago.
CBS is once again asking applicants to describe a time when they were challenged around one of five skills essential to becoming an inclusive and ethical leader. That’s a question that should be confronted with courage and careful self-reflection. I have some advice on how to respond below, but first, let’s take the application questions from the top.
Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters)
The Admissions team wants you to be direct, succinct, and demonstrate direction (ambition is good, but be realistic). This is an opportunity to provide a clear, overarching headline that lays the groundwork for subsequent essays that cover your career goals and reasons for pursuing the Columbia MBA.
Note that the question asks about your goal; it’s subtly asking what you envision doing, rather than the position you hope to secure in a specific company. A strong answer will indicate what you hope to achieve in a sector, such as ‘consultant focusing on clean technology’ or ‘structure investment deals in real estate.’
There is no right answer here, but whatever you choose should be coherent and credible based on your past experience, bolstered by the Columbia MBA. Columbia is looking to see that you know what you want to do, have a general understanding of that role, and that you understand the paths that would be available to you coming out of Columbia.
Essay 1 Tips
Essay 1 remains the same:
Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)
My advice: be sure to focus on the future and how CBS will get you there. A common mistake here is to write about where you have been rather than where you are going. CBS specifically asks what your future career goals are, and so a substantial portion of the word count should specifically address short- and long-term goals (at least 250 words, if not more).
It often helps to start with a brief hook to show what inspires you to take the path that you will then lay out. It can be a brief anecdote, a quote, a reflection on something that happened in your past, and so on. Then, it helps to offer a (very brief) paragraph explaining what you have done on that career path to date, just to put a bit more context around the goals you will then introduce.
Short-term goals can be more specific than long-term goals. You certainly need to have a general idea of what you would like to do in the long term, but the admissions committee is not expecting the same level of detail about where you will be decades from now as they are for the immediate post-MBA goals. Again, CBS is looking to see that you have a clear understanding of where a CBS MBA can take you (and then essay 3 will show how the MBA will help you get there).
The New Essay 2
A question about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you has been replaced with this question used a few years ago:
The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on five essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias and Prejudice, Managing Intercultural Dialogue, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking.
Tell us about a time when you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)
The switch seems to reflect the importance CBS places on its values of diversity, inclusion, and equity and the importance of explicitly cultivating the specific skills that ethical, inclusive leaders need.
Here, you have wide flexibility and latitude in your response. After all, there are five specific skills to choose from, and you can, of course, address several. That offers many ways to highlight ways you’ve engaged in one of five themes and how it impacted you and others. Your response should identify one meaningful example from your career or experiences, and then extract lessons learned that showcase the kind of person you are and leader you hope to be.
Implicit in this prompt is a question about your knowledge of and your commitment to CBS. Your answer should also communicate how you will develop and practice these skills at CBS. It’s important to show how you will engage with the very diverse and global community at CBS and how you will add value.
Channel your authenticity and courage to show how you have already engaged this capacity — and then make clear where you hope to let it shine at CBS.
I repeat: Show, don’t tell. Give us the scene, then tie the story to what the implications are for your future. Self-reflection is essential here: Remember that diversity and inclusion can be about race and ethnicity, but also gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, or different viewpoints, ideas, or experiences. Show how are you questioning the status quo, inviting diverse perspectives, and cultivating awareness of the less visible forces that shape decision-making and group dynamics?
Essay 3 Tips
This prompt is the classic “why our MBA?” essay question, with a new, shorter word limit this year:
We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams, cocurricular initiatives like the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership, which aims to equip students with the skills and strategies necessary to lead in an inclusive and ethical manner, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program.
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? (250 words)
Here, you need to explain why CBS is uniquely positioned to help you achieve your goals. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you have done your homework, assessed your fit with the school, and are eager to attend Columbia. You should showcase your deep knowledge of the school and the engagement that you’ve had with members of the Columbia community.
The framing of the question once again encourages you to demonstrate your readiness to be an inclusive leader. Again, this will require some self-reflection and honesty, to authentically show how your experiences and strengths prepare you to connect to Columbia’s values related to collaboration, mentorship, and DEI. Be sure to explain how and where you will contribute to the CBS community.
Even though it isn’t directly in the essay prompt (as it has been in previous years), you should still explain not only why Columbia’s campus life and leadership culture is right for you, but also why want to pursue the MBA in New York City, because the city, as a global center of business, is such an integral part of the Columbia experience.
Additional Essay Advice
A few final details are worth noting.
- CBS offers an optional essay as an opportunity to share any other information you wish with the Admissions Committee (maximum 500 words). This space could be used to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay.
- Essay word limits are not absolute; since you upload essays as a .pdf file, the word count is not a hard cap. However, we advise you to stay within the recommendation.
- Deferred admissions applicants answer two different essays: Why are you interested in obtaining a Columbia MBA in the future? (300 words maximum); and Who is a leader you admire, and why? (300 words maximum).
- Reapplicants submit just one essay response to this 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).
Want more advice?
For everything you need to know about how to get into the Columbia MBA program, from program basics and admissions requirements to our team’s insider tips for admission success, read my related blog: How to Get Into Columbia Business School: MBA Application Requirements . You can also view Fortuna’s Columbia MBA B-School Profile.
You can also view Fortuna’s M7 Admissions Masterclass below, which offers a deep dive on the Columbia MBA and how to position a standout application.
Let’s Get You In.
Fortuna Admissions is a dream team of former MBA Admissions Directors and Officers from the world’s most elite business schools, including the Columbia MBA program. With our unparalleled collective expertise, we are able to coach you to develop a clear vision of your goals for business school and beyond. We work closely with you throughout the application process and provide expert guidance at every stage to maximize your chances of admission to a top school.
Our free consultations are consistently rated as the best in the industry. To learn more about Fortuna and assess your chances of admission to CBS and other top programs, request a free consultation .
Updated May 30, 2022
Fortuna Admissions Expert Coach Karen Hamou is a Columbia MBA alum and former Deloitte Consulting recruiting lead, as well as well as #2 ranked consultant globally in Poets & Quants list of the Top 20 MBA Admissions Consultants of 2021. For more free advice and a personal, candid assessment of your chances, you can sign up now for a free consultation .
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Columbia MBA essay 2023 – Analysis and Tips
- July 6, 2023
The application and essay questions for the 2023 MBA program at Columbia Business School have been made available. The questions are similar to those from previous years, however, they have been revised to emphasize career objectives and fit.
Columbia University offers a fast-paced program in a fast-paced city. MBA students who aim to take full use of the unique resources given by Columbia and its surroundings in New York City will be a strong fit for the program. Another consideration is having the academic credentials to endure the rigors of Columbia.
Columbia Business School (CBS) asks its applicants to write a 50-word “short answer” about their goals and three essays that aren’t too long.
The first essay question from CBS is about candidates’ long-term career goals, just like the goal statement, but in much more depth (at 500 words).
The second essay asks applicants to explain why they want an MBA from CBS.
The third essay asks candidates to talk about a favorite book, movie, or song.
Read on for our full analysis of the questions for the Columbia MBA program in 2023.
Columbia MBA essays
Short answer question, optional essay, let us help you get into columbia business school.
Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.
Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
Examples of possible responses:
“Work in business development for a media company.”
“Join a strategy consulting firm.”
“Launch a data-management start-up.”
We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams, co-curricular initiatives like the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership, which aims to equip students with the skills and strategies necessary to lead in an inclusive and ethical manner, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program.
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? (300 words)
Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)
If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
The important point to note here is that there is an upper limit of 50 characters and not words. The space between words will also be counted towards this limit.
Therefore, get straight to the point and answer this question with the job and industry. Don’t even waste the character limit for words like ‘I want to.’
So think about what you really want to do with your career in the near future and say it out loud. Don’t forget that the rest of your application needs to show that your stated goal fits with your current skills and deep interests, especially after you’ve gotten your MBA. This will show that your stated goal is attainable and give your claim more weight. If you can do this in 50 characters (not words! ), you will have done what the school wants you to do and answered their question well.
As with any goals essay, it’s critical to bear in mind that this is not a theatrical retelling of your resume. However, you should include a few lines of background information to enable the reader subsequently comprehend that you have the abilities and drive required to achieve your objectives.
In short, make sure that your comments build on what the admissions committee can find in your recommendations or resume, rather than repeating it.
This question asks about your short- and long-term goals. In contrast to long-term goals, short-term goals might be more specific. The admissions committee expects you to have a general idea of what you want to achieve in the future, but they don’t require the same amount of detail as they do for the immediate post-MBA aspirations. Columbia wants to know that you have a clear idea of where an MBA from Columbia can take you.
For example, maybe you want to run a company or division as its general manager. But for the most part, you have been working in marketing right now. After that, you could take classes in finance and strategy and do consulting projects while working as an intern at a start-up. All of these will help you get the required experience on your way to becoming a general manager.
Also, the part about a “dream job” really stands out. In light of this, your long-term goals should be ambitious, since top programs want to accept people who will change the world. Still, they should be based on your short-term goals, your MBA, and your career so far.
Remember, Columbia wants to know who you are and what makes you different from everyone else who has applied. Don’t try to be the perfect candidate. Instead, show your real personality, goals, and what drives you.
To learn more about what Columbia Business School is looking for and how to make your application stand out, get in touch with us at [email protected]
We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams , co-curricular initiatives like the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership , which aims to equip students with the skills and strategies necessary to lead in an inclusive and ethical manner, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program . Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? (300 words)
This essay question wants you to say why CBS is the best place to help you reach your goals. It’s a great chance to show that you’ve done your research and are really interested in going to Columbia.
In the prompt, the admissions committee mentions three major parts of the CBS program and gives links to more information about them. This is a good place to start (or, ideally, continue) your research, even if you don’t think any of the three immediately applies to you.
In your essay, you need to show a clear plan of action and show how CBS’s services fit directly with your interests, personality, and needs.
Note that the “academically, culturally, and professionally” part of the prompt does not have a “and/or” option. This means that you must make sure to talk about all three things in your essay, and you should do so thoroughly and about equally.
This will show the admissions committee that you are a good fit for and excited about the whole CBS MBA experience, not just a few key resources or parts.
Even though it isn’t directly in the essay prompt (like it was in years past), you should still explain not only why Columbia’s campus life and leadership culture are right for you, but also why you want to get your MBA in New York City, since NYC is such a big part of the Columbia experience.
Do you want to impress Columbia’s Adcom?
At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too. Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.
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This question shows that the Columbia adcom wants to learn more about you on a personal level. You can talk about a book, movie, or song of your choice, but the most important part of your answer is to show how self-aware you are by explaining in just 250 words why you connect with the content.
A favorite childhood book, for example, could be a good choice if you’re a reader. Did the story inspire you to become a lifelong reader?
Movies, on the other hand, may have evoked strong feelings. Take a moment to reflect on your favorite parts of the film and how they made you feel. You may have a strong connection to certain music because of a personal connection. The song had a profound effect on my life.
It doesn’t matter what kind of art medium you choose; it should reflect who you are as a person. Use concrete examples to demonstrate your thoughts and feelings to the reader. Finally, your essay should give an insight into your character and motivations.
While essay 1 demonstrates the professional path you wish to pursue in life, essay 3 might provide extra insight into the type of person and company leader you aspire to be.
You should therefore dare to get personal and avoid getting stuck attempting to choose the ideal, most spectacular work of art, whether it be an indisputable classic, political satire, or a spiritual saga. The WHY behind your choice, how it speaks to you, and its impact or influence on you is far more crucial in this situation.
The admissions committee makes it pretty clear that you need to talk about any problems with your application, such as gaps in employment, bad grades, etc.
In these situations, applicants should keep their answers short and to the point, explaining what happened without making excuses and bringing up mitigating factors in a humble way.
Still, it’s possible that there are other parts of your background that would be relevant but aren’t covered anywhere else in your application, like an upcoming promotion or a part of your identity that isn’t covered by the program’s data forms.
Even though applicants should try to show everything about themselves in the required parts of the application, there is still some room for short exceptions.
We will help you write essays that portray your unique strengths and experiences in the most favorable light so that your application shines above the rest. We have helped hundreds of students get into top US business schools. Let us help you too.
Do you want to get into your dream business school?
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