Category Archives: Columbia Advice

Tuesday Tips – Columbia Business School January Program Essay Tips

Essay Tips for the Columbia GSB January program, which allows candidates to complete a full time MBA program in 16 month.

The Columbia Business School January program is a unique opportunity within top US MBA programs. The accelerated program will give you the experience of a full time MBA without the 24 months away from your career. Because you forgo the summer internship required of most 2-year programs, you can complete the January program in just 16 months.

Career changers will have a difficult time without an internship, so the J-term is best if you have a job lined up immediately after school, or know that you can find a full time position with your network. As the website outlines, the January program is ideal if you are an entrepreneur, will be joining the family business or can return to your employer or industry.

The January program essays are similar to that of the full time Columbia Business School MBA program, yet your additional task is to demonstrate that an accelerated program is the right fit for you. As with all MBA applications, setting your application strategy and refining your career goals will be key.

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

This question is fairly straightforward and consistent with other typical goals essays. The wrinkle to Columbia Business School’s J-term question is that it focuses on your goals, rather than your background or career experience, and that you will want to demonstrate that not only is Columbia Business School the best school for you, but that the accelerated program is a perfect fit for your career goals.

As you describe your short and long-term goals, make sure there is a clear trajectory from what you plan to do immediately after graduation (short-term) to where you want to ultimately take your career (long-term). Columbia Business School should be the natural link between your current situation and the goals you have for your career. While you want to concentrate primarily on your future plans, you may need to set up your goals with some context from your current career.

Because the January intake does not provide the opportunity for an internship, you will need to clearly demonstrate why your goals are achievable without the summer work experience.

Columbia Business School Essay 2
Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. (View link below) Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. (Recommended 500 word limit)

View the Master Class video.

This question is an ideal place to discuss a work challenge that taught you a lesson about experience vs. theory. Many Columbia Business School applicants have a hard time choosing a topic for this question because theory is so closely associated with school or academics. Think a little outside the typical definition and think about some of the theories you might operate within at work, and how you have expanded that knowledge through real life experience.

Perusing the website may also lead to ideas of your experiences that fit the master class model. Showing some familiarity with the master class program is certainly advisable here, and should be integrated organically with the example wherever possible.

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

Failures are a great way to demonstrate your maturity and ability to learn from mistakes. A team failure takes the question into the realm of leadership and teamwork as well. It’s a good idea to choose an example where you had a real impact on the failure, blaming someone else on the team for the failure is not as helpful and demonstrates little about you.

Outline the example clearly and concisely, with clear descriptions of your part and the part of other members of the team. Identify where you think the failure originated, what you learned from it, and describe what you think would have corrected the failure. An ideal optimistic ending for an essay like this is a subsequent success that is related, but at the very least the essay needs to demonstrate that you learned and grew from the experience.

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

If there are any areas of concern, this is the correct place to address them. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue. For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the issue demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since.

If you do not have a weakness to address here, it’s an ideal opportunity to provide any information that you were unable to work into the other three essays. If you have an unusual background, hobby or extracurricular experience, this may be an opportunity to provide that information to the adcomm.

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Tuesday Tips – Columbia Business School Essays

Columbia Business School has changed the essay questions this year, resulting in a leaner set of questions that will require you to think deeply about what you need to communicate and strategize effectively. The three required …

Columbia Business School has changed the essay questions this year, resulting in a leaner set of questions that will require you to think deeply about what you need to communicate and strategize effectively. The three required questions focus on some of the factors that are important to Columbia Business School.

As mentioned on the website, Columbia Business School is seeking strong candidates with demonstrated academic and professional accomplishments, along with “demonstrated, strong leadership; and the ability to work in teams.” Columbia Business School’s students are diverse and international, and Columbia Business School seeks students who have the “potential to become successful global leaders.”

Columbia Business School Application Essay Questions:

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

This is similar to the standard career goals essay and the tips we have provided for Wharton and Kellogg will be helpful here too. Columbia Business School does not ask about the past, so it is important to be future focused on this essay. Make sure to clearly outline your goals, and talk about the past when you specifically need to discuss what has led you to be passionate about the career path you have chosen.

In addition, it’s very important to spend significant time and effort on the second part of the question about Columbia Business School as a integral part of your goals. Researching the school, speaking with students and alumni and explaining your fit with Columbia Business School effectively in this essay can make a huge difference to your candidacy.  A great way to learn more about Columbia Business School, the school blog is a great resource.

2. Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. (View link below). Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. (Recommended 500 word limit)

View with Real Player:
http://merlin.gsb.columbia.edu:8080/ramgen/video1/faculty/MasterClass-promo.rm
View via Google:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4698876883776961370&hl=en

It will definitely be important to be familiar with Columbia Business School’s master classes, which are projects done with second year students who work with a company on a real world problem. For this essay, it will be important to think about an example of a time when you bridged the gap between theory and reality in a practical, work situation. Demonstrate your ability to apply theory, and show how you were able to function in a practical, dynamic situation, even if the outcome was not as expected. Columbia Business School appreciates experience, and this is a great place for you to highlight some of your unique practical experiences.

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

This is similar to the classic mistake essay, yet rather than focusing on your own individual failure, you are asked to think about a team that failed. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your skills as both a leader and team member. The tricky part is to avoid blaming anyone on the team while explaining what went wrong.

The way to approach this question is to analyze what went wrong in the team failure, and what you learned. Briefly outline the situation, discuss the failure and then discuss how you would apply the lessons learned if you were given a second chance. Be as specific as possible about where the situation broke down, as well as what you would do differently. To take the question a bit further, it would be ideal to have a real life example of a time you actually did apply the lesson you learned through this failure.

It would be appropriate to choose either a work or extracurricular example for this question, depending on how you answered the rest of the required questions.

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

This essay is meant as an opportunity to explain anything that may be a concern to the admissions committee. When discussing a low GPA, for example, make sure to offer clear explanations without embellishment or excuses. The best evidence that you are now an ideal candidate for Columbia Business School is your demonstrated achievements since. Highlight any classes taken since, quantitative work projects, and any other academically relevant successes.

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Columbia Business School Essay Tips

Columbia Business School does not have many essay questions – all the more reason to choose your examples wisely in order to provide a well-rounded picture of you. Again, the most important advice is be …

Columbia Business School does not have many essay questions – all the more reason to choose your examples wisely in order to provide a well-rounded picture of you. Again, the most important advice is be your true self, show your personality, values, and humor.

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

This is a forward looking question. They have NOT asked for your past career experiences. You may briefly touch on them to explain your future goals, but you should not dedicate an entire section of this essay to your past.

What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals?
Take this opportunity to reveal your values by explaining why your goals are meaningful to you (and maybe how your goals were inspired). Your career vision need not be one and the same with what matters most to you, but that there should be some correlation. You could touch on your previous career (or volunteer or personal) experiences to articulate how you developed your goals, but do not dwell on past experiences. Also note that they ask “post-MBA” not just “career” goals, so your plans can encompass more than just your career. Further, you need to be concise as you articulate a realistic but ambitious plan and be sure to include both short-term and long-term goals.

How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals?
As with every school, you must be specific about how Columbia Business School will help you. Research their classes and clubs and articulate how you will add to them. They want to see that you are ready to make a difference in their community. Further take note of what’s unique about Columbia Business School and how this will impact your career and future plans. Think about how Columbia Business School can help you to develop as a person and a professional and not just how it can help propel you towards that “dream job”.

In a recent speech delivered to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Dean Glenn Hubbard discussed the new, essential elements of the 21st century MBA. How will your MBA prepare you for a rapidly changing business environment (Recommended 500 word limit)?
First, read the speech provided by the link. Next, do some thinking on the rapidly changing business environment and your future. This question asks you to think not just about Columbia Business School but why you need an MBA overall. Consider what you want to gain from your time at school, personally and professionally, and how this will help you navigate your personal and career goals. Remember that in revealing your priorities for business school, you are communicating what is important to you in how you live your life.

The entrepreneurial mindset is an integral component of the Columbia Business School MBA. Please discuss a time in your own life when you have identified and captured an opportunity (Recommended 500 word limit).
Again, pay attention to what professional and personal examples you are providing across your essays so you can balance them. This question is similar to the greatest accomplishment question in that Columbia Business School wants to see that you set goals and reach them. But they also want to see your creativity and passion. As with all questions of this nature, focus on your thoughts and actions instead of just describing the situation.

Please tell us about what you feel most passionate in life (Recommended 250 word limit).
Even though the word limit is tight, you want to SHOW them instead of just telling them what you feel most passionate about. To that end, provide a colorful and well-rounded examples from your life.

(Optional) Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Columbia Business School Admissions Committee? Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.
As with all essays of this nature, stick with the facts and explain the situation succinctly.

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