August 2019 Intake

Early (Early response, but must commit to Columbia): October 3rd, 2018

Merit Fellowship (Automatically considered): 4 January 2019

Final Submission Date: April 10, 2019

January 2019 Intake

Final Submission Date: 3 October 2018


Columbia continues to attract a wide range of applicants who want to take advantage of its powerful MBA program and an incredible NYC network. As Columbia Business School offers such a wide variety of resources, it’s important to begin your application by heavily researching CBS and the impact it’s had on the business community.

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.”

While you can’t write an essay, you’re still expected to sell your future career in 50 characters or less. That’s not an easy task. Keep in mind that Columbia is asking for your immediate post-MBA goal, implying that the goal has to be, based on your past professional experiences and future education, realizable. You’ll have room in the essays to talk about more fanciful career objectives.

Most people, however, have multiple potential post-MBA goals. If you’re unsure of which objective to mention, try to pick the one that’s most likely to occur. If your goal is a bit too general, try to identify what sort of specificity you can add to it to make it more noticeable.

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 is a dynamic MBA that looks for competitive and innovative candidates. What they’re trying to gauge is both your sensibility (can you understand what your skills and profile are likely to lead to in 3-5 years) and your desire for achievement (what is the potential value and impact of your “long-term dream”).

As you’re selecting your goals, keep in mind that they should form some kind of continuum with your past and near-future experiences. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dream big (Columbia is full of some of the most creative and daring minds), but rather that you have to illustrate how the skill set you’ve already started developing will make that big dream come true.

In order to bolster your arguments, it might be good to mention relevant examples from your life that clearly benefit your future objectives. However, it’s best if those instances are not present in other parts of your application and that they are not overly long.

Essay 2: How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (250 words) Click here to view the relevant video.

In the linked video, you hear Dean Glenn Hubbard go through a large, though nowhere near exhaustive, list of advantages that Columbia’s location, in combination with its program, offers. How many did you recognize? If you haven’t already, it’s important to begin researching exactly what makes Columbia and NYC so beneficial to your future.

If you’re unsure how to begin, take a hint from Glenn Hubbard’s talk: you need to approach this question with an entrepreneurial mindset. You may not be planning to launch a business during your MBA studies, but you are planning to launch your career further. What resources are you going to gather to startup?

Finally, it’s important to make sure that your answer is not too general. Look very carefully into Columbia Business School before you begin picking out elements to include. Make sure that they are relevant to your character and interests, as well as your short and long-term goals. If your answer doesn’t seem unique, you need to delve deeper into Columbia’s MBA.

Essay 3: Please provide an example of a team failure of which you have been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (250 words)

Team failures happen for a large variety of reasons, both internal and external. Such failures are completely natural and can even be beneficial, as an earlier mistake can make for an important part of future success. In this essay, Columbia expects a descriptive deconstruction of what exactly went wrong in a team setting and what you gained from the fault.

The second part of the questions asks you to imagine how you could have resolved the issue. Concretely, what steps could you have taken in order to rectify the problem? If possible, tie this portion of the answer to a later team experience in which you did end up using the knowledge you’d gained from the failure to improve an outcome.

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)

This space should only be used to explain any irregularities to the admissions committee. If you do have any particular profile issues (lack of a direct supervisor recommendation, poor university grades, gaps in job experience, etc.), it’s in your interest to keep your answer short and, if possible, to show how you completely resolved the issue.

Published On: October 1st, 2018 / Categories: Columbia, Essay / Tags: , , , /