Columbia Business School (New York | NYC) Overview

Columbia Business School (CBS) offers a top MBA program in uptown New York City. Insights into Columbia (and Columbia admissions) are reflected in its own business school curriculum, academic programs, and faculty and students.

Snapshot of Columbia Business School MBA Program

Columbia has more to offer than careers in finance. For entrepreneurs Columbia has three attractive programs that help enable Columbia graduates to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. The three programs dedicated to entrepreneurship at Columbia include:

o    Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund - It provides capital to assist in starting up worthy business plans of Columbia students.

o    Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program - It is a second year course that offers the opportunity for participation in a mentoring program in addition to funding for entrepreneurial projects.

o    Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition - It is an exciting possibility for the ambitious entrepreneurial spirit. This competition offers grants to students to start up businesses. Awards are granted to the most outrageous, grand and inventive plans.

Making business education relevant and flexible for the global community is crucial. Columbia strives for degree relevance, offering practical approaches to management. According to a recent BusinessWeek Online article, CBS will cut down the length and number of required courses and changed its electives system, allowing students to take courses that are more based on their career interests.

CBS’s reason for making these changes is threefold:
o    Updates curriculum according to current trends.
o    Tailors students’ foundational knowledge to ensure that they can get a summer internship after their first year.
o    Ensuring knowledge is relevant to the business community after graduation.

With faculty that is recognized for their expertise in the area of Finance, Columbia is an especially good choice for candidates interested in pursuing careers in the banking and finance industries. Required first-year coursework includes:

o    Financial accounting
o    Corporate finance
o    Global economics

For candidates with a clear commitment to finance as well as experience in the finance field, applications should emphasize well-roundedness and interests outside of finance. Essays provide this opportunity.

Last but certainly not least is character.  Columbia admits candidates that are able to understand, work with and lead others.

This emphasis on partnership and teamwork at all levels is apparent in CBS’s curriculum.

o    Columbia’s Program on Social Intelligence (PSI) - This program begins at orientation and continues in much of the curriculum intends to teach students how to read and to understand others and how people relate to them—in other words, it helps increase “social intelligence.”

o    Clusters - The cluster is a group of 60 students with whom you take all your first year courses. For such a strategy to work Columbia needs candidates cooperate, work well in groups and participate and learn jointly. In fact, Columbia’s tendency over the past few years has been to avoid admitting candidates with GMAT scores of 780-800. There has been an increasing focus on well-rounded candidates with well-developed interpersonal, leadership and managerial skills.


MBA Application Elements - Columbia Business School

The school encourages taking the GMAT multiple times to attain highest score in order to be optimally prepared for first year study and post-grad jobs.

In the recent years, no admission of any students with 790 or 800 GMAT score. Conclusion: overall suitability is more important than any single element.


Emphasize interests other than finance, or if you have proven interests in other fields prior to business school, don’t hesitate highlighting them even if it involves changing a prior career to one in finance. Extracurricular activities and interests are important. The length of the service could be less important than the extent of active involvement.

Show your willingness and proven success at working with others.

Highlight, if it is a true interest of yours, your entrepreneurial efforts.

Show that Columbia specifically is where you want to be. This can be done by noting specific Columbia programs that interest you in your essays or interviews.

Diversity is strongly emphasized at Columbia. CBS strives to create a balance of students based on background, ethnicity and gender.

There is also a preference for people who can demonstrate that they will integrate some degree of social enterprise in their short and long term career goal

Work experience is generally required. Usually only dual-degree applicants have no or little work experience. Ideally students will have at least two years of experience, unless the student has unique circumstances and can demonstrate unique abilities through internships and student/community activities.

A non-mandatory informal interview is part of CBS’s application process. Usually conducted by alumni knowledgeable about CBS culture without knowledge of the applicant. This is an important opportunity to learn about the school and what it is looking for in a candidate. About 65% of applicants are invited to go through this process. some students get admitted without being interviewed.

They are typically more determined to study at CBS; if no decision is made, then the ED applicant gets rolled into the regular applicant pool. Typically these students are able to demonstrate a strong interest in the Columbia program. 

o    The numbers can rise and throughout the year based on withdrawals and admissions.
o    A waitlist manager tracks all waitlist students' information and profiles.
o    The school’s ultimate goal is to accept waitlist students and ensure diversity of the student body.


Columbia MBA Program - Key Statistics & Information

o    Full-Time Enrollment: 1,264
o    Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.5
o    Average GMAT Score: 716
o    Acceptance Rate: 15.9%
o    Average Starting Salary and Bonus: $134,233
o    Full-Time Graduates Employed at Graduation: 75.3%
o    Average Age of New Entrants: 28
o    Average Work Experience: Approximately 4-5 years
o    Founded: 1916
o    Curriculum incorporates the Decision Brief Method
o    Columbia alumni live in over 100 countries
o    Average class size: Fall: 700; Spring: 400

Columbia and London Business Schools, in partnership with University of Hong Kong Business School, have created the EMBA-Global Asia program for globally focused executives and managers seeking to deepen their understanding of Western and Eastern business with a focus on opportunities in Asia.

o    EMBA-Global Asia has one intake each May.
o    Program completion in 20 months (possibly 16 months with certain elective courses).
o    Study over several consecutive days per month in one of the learning hubs.
o    Intensive timetable, with full days of lectures, group work and assignments during study blocks.
o    Core courses take place in Hong Kong, London and New York, with study in one or more other markets as part of the International Seminars or Assignments.
o    Each of the three schools makes an equal contribution to the teaching of the core courses, with faculty traveling to teach wherever the class is in residence.
o    You have access to the elective portfolios of London, Columbia and HKU Business Schools.

**In addition, Columbia Business School has an Executive partnership program with Berkeley Haas.

Our MBA Admissions Consulting Products & Services

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Once you have decided to pursue an MBA, JD or other graduate degree, you have essentially completed the first step in the admissions process, and your motivation is a great precursor to success. But which schools? What are the next steps? How do you present yourself in such a way to truly demonstrate your strong drive and fit in your ideal school?

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Choosing to return to school is a big investment, but know that the value of an MBA, JD or graduate degree from a top school is indisputable. Our services help you effectively present your strengths and hide your weaknesses. Through our one-on-one consultations with you, we create a roadmap to success together. Our consultants commit themselves to helping candidates put forth their best application. Our consultants will build strong relationships with you, the candidate, and will understand your nuances and gifts. They will help you present yourself effectively against stringent and selective admissions standards and criteria.

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Special Circumstances

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Professional Background

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  • Engineer / Scientist
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Ethnic/Cultural Background

  • European
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  • South Asian
  • African
  • Oceanian

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