Columbia MBA Business School

Columbia MBA Class Profile and Essay Questions

Columbia is the only top-tier MBA program that allows full-time students to enter in either the fall or the spring (January). The January cohort catches up with the fall cohort in the the second year by attending classes in the summer, when fall students are doing internships. CBS illustrates the two-track schedule with the following graphic, which the school apparently created on a vintage Commodore Amiga 3000 running software from the 1990s.

Should you apply for January entry? For most people, the answer is no. Entering in January means that you can't do an internship between years 1 and 2, and those internships are often the most critical and valuable element of business school. So unless you know exactly what you're going to do after graduation and have secured a job, the January cohort is not for you.

The Columbia 'Early Decision' Round

CBS has an "Early Decision" round. (I've written about it here [LINK].) It's an awful system of exploitation that needs to end.

What you need to know is that you probably shouldn't apply during the Early Decision round. Instead, you should wait until it ends and apply during the "rolling admissions" period.

Essay Questions (2020)

Applicants must complete one short-answer question and three essays.

Short-Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

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 full-time MBA experience includes academics, recruiting, and networking. What are your personal priorities and how do you anticipate allocating your time at Columbia Business School? (250 words)

Essay 3:

Please select and answer one of the following essay questions: (250 words)
a. Please tell us what you feel most passionate about in life.
b. If you were given a free day and could spend it anywhere, in any way you choose, what would you do?

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. (Maximum 500 Words)

Knight-Bagehot Fellows:

Rather than answer Essay 1, current Knight-Bagehot Fellows applying to Columbia Business School should use the space allocated to the first essay (500 words) to complete the Wiegers Fellowship application essay.

Wiegers Fellowship Essay Question:

What are your career goals? How has the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship affected these goals? How will an MBA help you achieve these goals? (500 words maximum)




CBS Class Profile
1 Median GMAT Score 717
2 GMAT Range - Middle 80% 680 - 760
3 GMAT Range - 100% 550 - 780
4 Undergrad GPA 3.5
5 Undergrad GPA Range - (Middle 80%) Admitted 3.1 - 3.9
6 Work Experience (Years) 5
7 Work Experience - (Middle 80%) 3 - 8
8 Average Age 28
9 Age Range - (Middle 80%) 25 - 31


Columbia Application Deadlines
Round August Entry Deadline
1 Early Access October 4, 2017
2 Merit Fellowship January 5, 2018
3 Final Deadline April 11, 2018
January Entry
1 Final Deadline October 4, 2017
*All deadlines are at 11:59 PM New York Time