Our updated 2015/2016 “How to Apply to Columbia” Guide is the starting point for prospective applicants. This 12-page PDF is available for immediate download and is provided to prospective applicants at no cost.
"Columbia is one of the most interesting and unique business schools in the world, defined by what we see as a series of unique contradictions (no fault of the school’s, we might add). It’s a program with incredible international resources, yet is a draw for many international candidates primarily because it is seen as so quintessentially “American” being in New York City. And the location creates another curious push-pull, which is that being in Manhattan gives CBS a huge resource advantage and almost a “business school buffet” where students can access anything and everything they need … yet Columbia must battle against having a “commuter school” feel more than just about any other program by virtue of so many students already living in New York before attending. Then, of course, there is the Employment Report. Perhaps no other business school combines the traits of “incredible launching pad for careers” and “very concerned about applicants’ career goals” quite like Columbia. On its face, many of these contradictions seem like problems, but they aren’t. They can actually make for an incredible b-school experience … as well as a chance to candidates to thread a needle and show just how perfect they can be for Columbia.
What does this mean and what does it look like for your candidacy? In a nutshell, it means that Columbia pays closer attention to your career goals (particularly in the short term) than any other business school … which is saying something considering how carefully most MBA programs are checking out short-term goals. One might go so far as to call Columbia “paternalistic” in their approach, but at the very least, the school is being extremely cautious about who it admits into the program and is using career services as a sounding board to help determine whether specific career aspirations are achievable with a Columbia MBA. Further, it means showcasing how you will get involved, be part of a community, and bring a unique, expansive perspective with you to campus.
All of this actually serves to create a wonderful opening for those students who are able to probably identify what matters most to Columbia and then communicate a desire to be part of the school’s transformation, while also showing a nuanced and balanced understanding of both the power and limitation of an MBA as it related to securing a job.
If that sounds intimidating, you can rest easy in knowing that we have created this 10-step approach to applying to Columbia. The following guide will help you understand all of the key hot button issues and major thematic touch points – as well as critical admissions strategies – that will make or break your prospects for gaining admission to one of the world’s most famous business schools."