Columbia MBA Application

Columbia Program Overview

For Columbia Business School students, the advantage is location, location, location. While Columbia’s academics are certainly on par with other top-tier schools, its status as the only Ivy League business school based in Manhattan draws the most accolades from graduates. As the school claims, New York’s flourishing financial community—which includes Wall Street and thousands of multi-national corporations— is a “living laboratory” for students interested in discovering the business world up close through internships and frequent visits from top CEOs.

While Columbia’s academic strength is its Finance department, graduates from the program tend to have well-rounded interests, international connections, and a solid network of alumni willing to help them explore all their options. Columbia Business School is incredibly diverse both domestically and internationally—much like New York City itself. Columbia’s student body is 44% female for the MBA Class of 2025. International students make up 47% of the school, and 20% of alumni go on to live and work abroad.

Columbia’s MBA Class of 2025 acceptance rate was 22.4%. In the 2024-2025 US News Best Business Schools ranking, Columbia comes in at #12 (tied).

“With Columbia, it really is a holistic approach, but the fit is very important. Top Columbia focus points for application include: involvement outside of work/classroom and leadership or potential for leadership. They want to be certain that you’re going to fit into its tight-knit community and super involved student life. Logical and attainable career goals are important as well,” shared a former CBS Admissions Officer on the Stacy Blackman Consulting team.

Contact us for an assessment of your CBS MBA candidacy today. Here’s a snapshot of our CBS expertise on the SBC admissions consulting team:

With such a jumble of cultures and opportunities—especially in NYC’s already noisy setting—Columbia’s biggest worry is that students will have a hard time finding their footing and making connections with each other. The cohort system is a considerable help; better still is what alumni describe as Columbia’s unusually positive atmosphere, perhaps forged as a response to the school’s difficulties and distractions.

Says one graduate: “Columbia Business School uniquely combines competition with cooperation—many times my fellow students sent me copies of their class notes before exams, and we studied together with ease. However, we all fought to make our best possible effort and to land the best job interviews possible.”

Admissions Stats

Here’s a snapshot of CBS’s MBA Class of 2025, relative to Wharton:

Class of 2025 Admission Stats Wharton Columbia
Average GMAT 733 730
GMAT Range 530-790* 610–790
Average GPA 3.6 3.5
Selectivity 23% 22%
Yield 62%* 56%*

* Estimated

Enrollment Stats Wharton Columbia
Entering 2023 MBA Enrollment 874 900
Women 50% 44%
International 31% 47%
Minority of US Origen 37%* 43%*

* Estimated

Rounds & Deadlines

Search our MBA deadlines chart for updates on rounds and dates.

CBS’s Class of 2026 MBA Admissions Essays

Here are CBS’s main essay prompts. Essay tips can be found here.

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 three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Essay 2: The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the skills and strategies needed to develop as inclusive leaders.  Through various resources and programming, students explore and reflect on the following five inclusive leadership skills:  Mitigating Bias and Prejudice; Managing Intercultural Dialogue; Addressing Systemic Inequity; Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking; and Creating an Inclusive Environment.

Describe a time or situation when you had the need to utilize one of these five skills, and tell us the actions you took and the outcome. (250 words)

Essay 3: We believe Columbia Business School is a special place with a collaborative learning environment in which students feel a sense of belonging, agency, and partnership—academically, culturally, and professionally.

How would you co-create your optimal MBA experience at CBS? Please be specific. (250 words)

CBS Application Timing

In recent years, Columbia has moved beyond its traditional strength in finance and seeks to recruit a diverse and well-rounded student body. Many applicants cite “finance” as their primary motivation for attending Columbia, and their career aspirations reflect this. Understanding and appreciating other strengths in the school’s curriculum may earn you big points. Also, having a career goal that is not in the finance realm may help to set you apart.

Columbia offers an accelerated MBA program that begins in January. The curriculum is identical to that of the fall entry program; the only difference is that “J-term” students take their second-term core courses during the summer instead of doing an internship. Admission to the January program is somewhat less competitive, so if you are willing to forgo a summer internship, applying to the accelerated program might improve your chances of getting in.

From the Blog

Check out CBS MBA Applicants, Heed This Sage Advice, with all the deets on Columbia’s curriculum, culture, and admissions practices shared by SBC consultant Hannah, a former CBS admissions officer.

Sample CBS MBA Essays

Winning essays from our successful admits are new on the SBC site and can be found here:

CBS Essay Examples

More CBS Application Tips

View our extensive overview of how the application for CBS varies from that of Wharton here.

Columbia Class of 2025 Key Statistics
Applicants: 5,895
Enrolled Full-Time MBA Students: 900
Average GMAT Score: 730
Average GPA: 3.5
Average Age: 28
Average Work Experience: 5 years
Rolling Admissions: Yes for J-term. No for August entry.
Women: 44%
International Students: 47%
Minority of US Origen: 43%

Columbia Important Dates

Round 1 Deadline: September 10, 2024
Round 2 Deadline: January 7, 2025
Round 3 Deadline: April 1, 2025

January 2025 Entry

First Deadline: June 18, 2024
Second Deadline: August 15, 2024


(323) 934-3936

Latest Blog Post

MIT Sloan Deadlines for 2024-2025

Are you interested in the full-time MBA program at MIT’s Sloan School of Management? Then open up your calendar! The MIT Sloan deadlines for the 2024-2025 MBA admissions cycle have been announced. MIT Sloan Deadlines ...