Columbia MBA Application

Columbia’s acceptance rate is just 13%. Learn more about this highly-coveted program here.

“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:

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.”

columbia MBA deadlines

Admissions Stats

Here’s a snapshot of CBS’s student class, relative to Wharton:

Class of 2022 Admission Stats Wharton Columbia
Average GMAT 722 726
GMAT Range 620-790* 580–780
Average GPA 3.6 3.6
Selectivity 23.1% 13.6%
Yield 68%* 72%*
* Estimate
Enrollment Stats Wharton Columbia
Total MBA Enrollment 1,708 1,326
Women 41% 40%
International 19% 44%
Minority 17%* 33%*
* Estimated. For Wharton, minority/students of color (including Asian American, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx and Indigenous students) are at about 40.5%. Excluding Asian American students, this 17% estimate reflects Wharton’s stats. For Columbia, the 33% reflects underrepresented minority students.

Rounds & Deadlines

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

CBS’s MBA Admissions Essays 

Here are CBS’s main essay prompts and 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 3-5 years, and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Essay 2:
Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)

Essay 3:
Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)

CBS Application Timing 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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 Key Statistics
Applicants: 6,971
Entering Full-Time MBA Students: 1,130
Average GMAT Score: 726
Average GPA: 3.6
Average Age: 28
Average Work Experience: 5 years
Rolling Admissions: Yes
Women: 40%
International Students: 44%
U.S. Minority Students: 33%

Columbia Important Dates

August 2022 Entry Deadline: October 6, 2021
Merit Fellowship Consideration: January 5, 2022
Regular Decision: April 8, 2022
Deferred Enrollment Deadline: April 15, 2022



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