Tag Archives: Columbia Business School

Prepare for Short Answer MBA Application Essays

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Ten years ago, lengthy MBA essays were a staple of business school applications. Flash forward to today, and admissions departments worldwide have reduced …

MBA essays

Brainstorm before writing to keep business school essays concise.

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

Ten years ago, lengthy MBA essays were a staple of business school applications. Flash forward to today, and admissions departments worldwide have reduced the word count and number of essays candidates must tackle. Whether the influence is social media, with its condensed communication style, or simply that the admissions committee has grown weary of reading thousand-word essays from thousands of applicants, it seems short and sweet is here to stay.

Many applicants struggle with short-answer essay questions because they feel like they cannot adequately convey everything they want the admissions committee to know in so few words. The challenge of these brief prompts is to give the admissions committee what they ask for while still providing a compelling snapshot of yourself.

I always advise applicants to do two things as they work on their MBA essays: make sure to answer the question asked and spend a lot of time brainstorming up front. You would be amazed at how many applicants start to answer an essay prompt and veer off-subject entirely. With such a limited word count, even answering a “why” question with a “how” response will be a turnoff to the admissions officer reviewing your application.

 The brainstorming phase is the same whether you have a word count of 750 or 200. First, find a theme, or a couple of main points, you want to convey. Consider the essay set for each MBA application as a whole, and make sure your answers do not overlap but rather build upon each other. Then whittle away anything non-essential, and always avoid the passive voice as it eats up valuable space in your allotted word count. Whenever possible, share details that show a glimpse of your personal interests or something amazing that you have done.

The Columbia Business School application, for example, asks this short-answer question: “What is your immediate post-professional MBA goal?” With a maximum of 50 characters, applicants must distill their responses into something that makes a tweet look verbose.

Though a simple question, it requires that you condense your career goals into one clear career vision statement. Rather than submitting a generic phrase like “work in finance,” the aim is specificity. Something like “real estate finance at a private equity firm” tells the admissions committee far more about your interests and goals.

The career goals essay remains ubiquitous at business schools, though the question’s presentation is evolving. At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, for example, the essay is broken into three parts, each with a 500-character limit, or about 100 words. First, you need to describe what you plan to do immediately after your MBA. Then you’ll explain the long-term vision for your career. Finally, since many career paths are forged through circumstance, determine what is your Plan B.

Think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical – and interesting – progression from your current skill set and MBA education? How will your next step flow from the combination of those experiences? Ideally, your alternative path is not a massive departure, but simply shows the areas you could see yourself exploring if your primary plan doesn’t materialize.

You’ll have to boil your ideas down to a clear statement of what you plan to do, but if at all possible, the information provided in your resume, recommendation letters and other essays will logically support those plans.

It can be a challenge to show off your personality, accomplishments and aspirations in fewer words, but the short answer essays offer MBA applicants a chance to demonstrate top-notch writing skills. One of the most valuable skills in business is the ability to communicate precisely and concisely, so make sure every word counts.

Image credit: Flickr user Daniel Foster  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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New Immersive Seminars at Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School recently launched a new immersive experience for its full-time MBA students that provides students the chance to interact with C-suite executives and discuss the future of business, ongoing challenges, opportunities, and strategies …

Columbia deadlines and essays

Columbia Business School recently launched a new immersive experience for its full-time MBA students that provides students the chance to interact with C-suite executives and discuss the future of business, ongoing challenges, opportunities, and strategies at play.

The inaugural seminars, led by Columbia Business School faculty members, featured partnerships with companies across an array of industries, including data analytics, management consulting, brand experience, financial services, innovation, social media, technology disruption, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

“Our students have always enjoyed the benefits that New York City has to offer. They are just a subway ride away from tremendous career opportunities,” says Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, in a statement announcing the program’s launch. “These immersion seminars students meet with industry executives and see theories taught in the classroom being applied in real-time in the business world.”

To drive home the impact these seminars will have on Columbia Business School students, the School launched a new video featuring commentary from two of the program’s leaders, Khalid Azim, Director of Strategic Curricular Networks and Partnerships, and Barry Salzberg, who recently joined the faculty of Columbia Business School after a nearly 40-year career at Deloitte, capped by serving as the firm’s Global CEO at the end of his tenure.

In the video, Professor Salzberg says that the School’s Immersion Seminars combine “the best of academia and the business world” and that students walk away with “opportunity and access to unbelievable people, businesses, and knowledge that you can’t get elsewhere.”

Shana Gotlieb, a member of the Class of 2016, describes her immersion seminar as “the best class I’ve taken” and one that “could only happen at Columbia Business School.”

“We are so grateful to these companies and the executives who took time out of their day to impart lessons to our students. Only in New York City does a school have access to this array of industry titans,” says Azim. “We look forward to capitalizing on the extraordinary momentum spurred by our inaugural seminars and strengthening the experience for future generations of Columbia Business School students.”

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Big Donation Further Funds Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus

Columbia Business School Fall 2016 MBA Application Essay Tips

Photo Credit Paul Warchol

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Big Donation Further Funds Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus

Columbia Business School announced yesterday that alumnus Henry Kravis has increased his gift to the school to $125 million, up from $100 million, in celebration of  Columbia Business School’s Centennial anniversary. The major donation further …

major donation columbia business school

Columbia Business School announced yesterday that alumnus Henry Kravis has increased his gift to the school to $125 million, up from $100 million, in celebration of  Columbia Business School’s Centennial anniversary.

The major donation further funds the new Manhattanville Campus, located between West 125th and West 133rd Streets. Together with its counterpart, the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Business Innovation, the complex will boast 468,000 square feet of space, more than doubling the school’s current size.

“Manhattanville will be transformative for the Business School,” Kravis says. “Today, the way business is done is very much collaborative. Ideas come from everywhere. The Business School is being designed to take advantage of [this], as well as have the flexibility to adapt to whatever changes are going to be necessary to teach business courses in the future.”

“It’s a privilege to help the School imagine its next chapter,” Kravis adds. “Top-quality facilities are now a minimum requirement to attract the best professors and the brightest students. The new buildings will position the Business School to continue its tradition of excellence and also explore uncharted opportunities.”

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Columbia Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

Columbia Business School Launches Neighborhood Small Biz Program

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Tuesday Tips: Columbia Business School Fall 2016 MBA Application Essay Tips

Columbia Business School is highly concerned about fit and your knowledge of the program. New York City is another aspect of the school that pervades its culture and defines some of the unique opportunities of …

Columbia Essay TipsColumbia Business School is highly concerned about fit and your knowledge of the program. New York City is another aspect of the school that pervades its culture and defines some of the unique opportunities of the program. Thorough school research is crucial to your preparation for this application. Before you get started with this set of essays it will be helpful to brainstorm your career objectives, strengths and weaknesses, and to review the personal elements you will want to discuss.

Stumped by the Columbia essays? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

This is a simple question, but may require you to condense your career goals into one clear career vision statement. Columbia presents several examples on their website, all of which have some unique aspect. Rather than a generic statement like: “Work in finance” the goal is to infuse some specificity. Something like: “Work in real estate finance within a private equity firm” tells the admissions committee far more about your interests and goals. Note that the limited character count is intended to get you to the point quickly and that all of the examples Columbia has provided are concise and lack any elaboration.

Essay 1:
Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (Maximum 500 words)

Remember that this essay has two purposes: demonstrate that you know why you are interested in Columbia, and showcase why you are an excellent fit for the program. Both goals should be kept in mind as you answer the question.

This question is entirely future focused and specifically asks you to get away from a recitation of your resume. Spend the majority of the space describing your career goals and what you envision you will learn and experience at Columbia to help you achieve your goals. As you talk about your future you may need to refer to your past career and personal experiences. As you consider what to say make sure you are citing only relevant examples from your career. Think about the experiences you can describe that were truly pivotal and can support your future goals.

For example, perhaps you want to be a general manager of a company or division, and right now you have been working primarily in marketing. You might spend your time at Columbia learning about finance and strategy, being part of consulting projects and interning at a start up to round out your experience and start on your general management path. Make sure your goals are both achievable and aspirational and that you have specifics about Columbia to support your assertion that it is the right place for you.

Essay 2:
Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)

As you decide how to approach this question make sure that your individual goals for learning and career are impacting how you answer. You should consider the industry you plan to enter, and either the key adjunct professors from that industry at Columbia or the access to major companies from that industry in New York City. Consider your personal interests and how you might pursue them in the diversity of such an international city, and also the ways that Columbia’s alumni network can provide opportunities within the metropolitan area.

A mix of personal and professional interests may be covered in this topic, and you may want to emphasize either one of those angles depending on the answers you present to the other core questions.

Essay 3:
CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

If you watch the linked video, you’ll see that CBS Matters is a part of the Columbia cluster experience that centers around a personal presentation. This essay is entirely about your life story and how you will be perceived by your peers at Columbia. If you did not cover anything personal in the prior two essays this is your opportunity to stand out from the pack of other applicants.

This essay is somewhat about what matters most to you, and what you would share if asked who you really are. Dig deep into your passions and background and find the aspects that resonate emotionally with you and seem to convey a truth about who you really are. If you are stumped by this essay prompt you may want to ask friends, family members or colleagues what they view as interesting and unique about you.

Once you have ideas about how to approach this question make sure that you are describing something about yourself that will be interesting both to your peers and to the admissions committee. Something that is a passion point for you and that demonstrates a bit more about your background and motivations will likely be interesting both your clustermates and the admissions committee.

Optional Essay:
An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

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 essay 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 showcase your unique profile.

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Columbia Business School 2015-2016 MBA Essays, Deadlines

Columbia Business School has posted the deadlines and tweaked the essay questions for the 2015-2016 MBA application cycle. For those interested in the school’s January entry option, that application is now available. January 2016 Entry …

columbia MBA deadlines

Columbia Business School has posted the deadlines and tweaked the essay questions for the 2015-2016 MBA application cycle. For those interested in the school’s January entry option, that application is now available.

January 2016 Entry

Deadline: October 7, 2015

August 2016 Entry

Early Decision: October 7, 2015

Merit Fellowship Consideration: January 6, 2016

Regular Decision: April 13, 2016

Essay Questions

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

Essay 2:
Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)

Essay 3:
CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

Optional Essay:
An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

***

Columbia Business School students may enroll in either August or January. The CBS admissions website notes that the paths are identical in terms of competitiveness of admissions, academic rigor, and student resources, but they differ in terms of timing and the opportunity to complete a summer internship.

The August entry has two review periods — early decision and regular decision. Because CBS uses a rolling admissions process, it is always to your advantage to apply well before the deadline.

All applications are due at 11:59 p.m. EST on the day of the deadline. For more information, visit the Columbia Business School admissions website.

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B-Schools Showcase Green Business Practices

Today’s global economy has two faces: one of exponential growth in developing countries, and the flip side—a voracious ravaging of resources by developed nations. While some business leaders continue to march in step to the …

Today’s global economy has two faces: one of exponential growth in developing countries, and the flip side—a voracious ravaging of resources by developed nations. While some business leaders continue to march in step to the “more is better” mantra, others are realizing that business as usual is not sustainable for our planet.

Earth Day may be commemorated officially on only one day of the year, but business schools around the country are using the occasion to show their dedication to tackling issues of climate change and sustainability that are at the core of doing green business.

sustainability and business

Here’s what’s going on this week at some of the top MBA programs:

Business Takes the Lead: How Innovation Will Drive Our Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change 2015 Conference, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School

Fight Less, Collaborate More: How to Solve the World’s Greatest Environmental Challenges, Thursday April 23, 2015, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

UCLA Anderson School of Management is on day two of its annual Social Innovation Week, which runs April 20-23, 2015. Panelists and speakers will discuss social entrepreneurship, social impact in media and entertainment, corporate social impact and one-for-one models.

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business announced yesterday that the team from the full-time MBA program took first place in the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, at Morgan Stanley’s London Headquarters on April 17. The winning team’s investment thesis was about drought mitigation innovation.

University of Michigan Ross School of Business announced today that influential Indian business leader, GV Sanjay Reddy, Vice Chairman GVK, will be the keynote speaker for Commencement on May 1st, 2015. At the event, he will share his views on the power of positive business, and how it creates a social impact on society.

And finally, Columbia Business School deserves a ‘shout out’ for its great article on the business case for going green.

This is just a sampling of the activities currently taking place on business school campuses, where sustainability and good stewardship are more than just buzz words—they are the very key to long-term economic growth and a better planet for future generations.

Earth image courtesy of Flickr user woodleywonderworks, CC 2.0

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