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. Ranked the #1 school for women by the Wall Street Journal, Columbia’s student body is nearly 35% female. International students make up nearly 30% of the school, and 20% of alumni go on to live and work abroad.
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.”
SBC Columbia Advice
- 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 has a unique early decision option. If you are truly interested in the school, applying early can give you the added edge due to a stronger indication of interest.
- 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.
- Columbia has rolling admissions, so they are reviewing applications and making decisions on an ongoing basis throughout the entire admissions period. It is best to submit your application as early as possible.