Tuesday Tips: Columbia MBA Essay Tips for 2022-2023

Columbia MBA

Columbia Business School has released the application and essay questions for students beginning the MBA program in 2023. The questions are similar to past years but have been updated to focus on career goals and fit.

Columbia is a fast-paced program in a fast-paced city. The kind of MBA student who is a good fit for Columbia and its setting in New York City will be those who plan to take full advantage of the unique opportunities offered by that environment. Another aspect is having the academic background to handle the rigor of Columbia.

What is the AdCom looking for in Columbia MBA applicants?

One of SBC’s former CBS Admissions Officers shared, “With CBS, it really is a holistic approach, but the fit is VERY important.  They want to know why CBS- that is a big part of their culture. They want to know you’re going to fit in.”

Students at Columbia have big plans for their lives, MBA or not. Therefore, plan to brainstorm your career objectives, strengths, and weaknesses. Also, think about your overall life dreams before you start working on this application.

Admission options at Columbia are flexible. Including full-time MBA programs to a January entry without a summer internship. In addition, Columbia has an excellent executive MBA program. Columbia also offers an early decision option for candidates committed to Columbia.

The Columbia admissions cycle is rolling, so the earlier you submit your application, the sooner you will hear back. We recommend you try to submit your application as early as possible while maintaining high quality.

Columbia MBA

Feeling stumped by the Columbia MBA essays? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help with MBA admissions consulting.

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.”

This is a deceptively simple question. It requires you to condense your career goals into a short career vision statement. As part of the question, Columbia provides a few examples, which are concise and to the point.

If your goal is to work at an investment bank after graduation, you could always just say: “Work in finance.” To add a bit more detail, consider adding a little more color. Something like: “Work in real estate finance for a private equity firm.” This tells the admissions committee far more about your interests and goals than just “work in finance.” It also sets the tone for the first essay.

Columbia MBA 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)

This question asks about your short- and long-term goals. We find that those who seek a top-tier MBA at a school like Columbia have Big Ideas. Also, the program will expose you to people and opportunities that will expand your horizons. Think about your true passions, and feel free to explore your biggest dreams.

As you talk about your future, you may need to refer to your past career and experiences. Also, think about the pivotal moments you can describe. In addition, use examples that support your future goals. In conclusion, your goals should have a logical progression, but you should show how you plan to adapt.

columbia mba essay tips

For example, perhaps you want to be a general manager of a company or division. But right now, you have been working primarily in marketing. Subsequently, you might take classes in finance and strategy and take part in consulting projects while interning at a start-up. All of these will provide experience for your general management path.

Most importantly, Columbia wants to know who you are and how you are different from other applicants. Don’t try to be an ideal applicant. Instead, reveal your genuine personality, motivations, and goals.

You might mix personal and professional interests to answer this prompt. In addition, you could focus on either of those angles, depending on the topics of your other essays. Finally, specifics will help you set yourself apart with this essay.

Columbia MBA Essay 2

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)

Your passion for Columbia is very important in admissions. This essay will help you showcase your fit with the program.
First, take the time to learn as much about Columbia’s MBA program and culture as you can. For example, read the website, watch admissions sessions online or visit in person, and try to network with current and former students. As a result of this research, you will know the school well.

Passion is Essential for Columbia MBA Applicants

Second, know yourself and why Columbia is a fit. And, make sure to tailor your answer to your individual goals for learning and career. Also, keep in mind Columbia’s academic and professional opportunities.

Finally, make sure you will benefit the community. Think about the unique skills and experiences you will share. Columbia wants to meet students who have a strong desire to attend their program. In conclusion, show your passion for the school and make the case for your admission.

Columbia MBA Essay 3

Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)

Columbia admissions wants to know you better as a person. Choose a topic based on your personal tastes. For example, if you are a reader, you may pick a favorite childhood book. What do you remember about the story, and did it kindle your reading passion?

In contrast, a movie might have spurred emotions. Consider what was memorable about the film, and how you felt. You may associate a specific song with a meaningful relationship. How did the song impact your life?

Whichever art medium you choose, it should reveal more about you as a person. Make sure you use specific examples that help the reader understand how you think and feel. Finally, your essay should provide an understanding of your personality and motivations.

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)

Note that this question is entirely optional. You do not need to answer if there is nothing more to communicate.

Focus only on specific areas of concern. For example, you may need to address a lack of demonstrated quantitative abilities or the lack of a recommendation from a current supervisor. Or, you might have gaps in work experience or low grades.

In addition, Columbia has stated submitting bullet points is also fine. For example, if you only need to point out a grade in one class, that may only require a few lines.

Remember, it is best to explain the issue briefly. Then, show how you have addressed it. Finally, explain why this issue should not impact your admission to Columbia.

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Wharton, Columbia CBS and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Anthony, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise.

Meet Erin, who has over seven years of experience working across major institutions, including University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School, and NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.

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