About Columbia

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About Columbia

Located in New York City, Columbia Business School (CBS) highlights that it is at the “center of business.” That center just expanded, as the school moved into two sparkling new buildings on Columbia’s Manhattanville campus, nearly doubling its space and providing state-of-the-art space designed for collaboration and data-driven learning.

The symbiotic relationship between CBS and the business world is a major program benefit. The school claims more than 100 practitioners as adjunct faculty, and each year many business leaders visit the campus to speak to students. Indeed, CBS notes on its website, “No other top MBA program offers our level of real-world exposure … we immerse students in business by connecting their classroom education to the board rooms, trading floors, and retail stores where theory is put into practice.”

Traditionally strong in finance, CBS recently updated its core curriculum in the field. Experiential learning, entrepreneurial thinking, and global perspectives are also cornerstones of the MBA program. CBS students can take advantage of a wide array of entrepreneurship opportunities and interdisciplinary courses that integrate data science and climate science,

Columbia allows students to enroll in August or January. Each path is comprised of four terms, although January entry allows students who do not want or need an internship to begin core classes in spring, complete the second semester of classes during summer, and merge with the other track during the following fall (for a total of 16-months). The January start tends to appeal to students who wish to continue in the same industry or pursue entrepreneurial interests, and generally have a few more years of work experience than in the two-year program.

Strengths And Specializations

The Columbia MBA program is known for its strengths in a wide variety of areas, including accounting, finance, general management, entrepreneurship, economics, media, marketing, healthcare/pharma, consumer goods, real estate and more recently, climate/sustainability.

Incoming Class

Number of Applicants:  5,643
MBA Class Size: 629
Tuition: $160,944

Post-MBA Careers

Sector: Financial Services 36.9%; Consulting 33.6%; Media/Technology 16%; Started Own Business (N/A)

Top Alumni Recruiters: McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, Deloitte Consulting, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, PwC Strategy&, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Google, Barclays

Avg Base Salary: $175,000

Salary Increase: 132%

Employment in 3 months: 95%

Columbia MBA Rankings


Avg. Age: 28

Avg. GPA: 3.6

Avg. GMAT: 729

International Student Admissions: 51%

Female Students: 44%

Deadlines for 2023-2024: R1: Sep 13, 2023, R2: Jan 5, 2024, R3: Apr 3, 2024

Sources: Columbia, BusinessWeek, Financial Times, US News


Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays in their Columbia MBA application.

Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters)

Examples of possible responses:
“Work in business development for a media company.”
“Join a strategy consulting firm.”
“Launch a data-management start-up.”

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:

The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a new co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on giving essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias, Communicating Across Identities, Addressing Systemic Inequality, and Managing Difficult Conversations.

Tell us about a time you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)

Essay 3:

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? (250 words)

Optional Essay:
Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (500 words)

Deferred Enrollment Program:

Deferred Enrollment candidates will answer two short essay questions instead of the essays listed above.

Question 1: Why are you interested in obtaining a Columbia MBA in the future? (300 words)

Question 2: Who is a leader you admire, and why? (300 words)

Candidates reapplying within 1 year can apply with their previous application and one 500-word reapplication essay.

Fortuna Tips & Advice

View our latest articles for everything you need to know if you’re applying to the Columbia MBA program:

How to Get Into Columbia Business School: Requirements, Tips & Advice

How to Tackle the Columbia Business School MBA Essays

Contact us to request a copy of our team’s Insider Tips Report for applying to Columbia Business School.

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