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Columbia Business School

Application deadlines

  • January 2008 Accelerated Program
    • Application Review Began: April 25, 2007
    • Decision Period: Within 8 weeks of submission
    • Application Deadline: October 10, 2007
  • September 2008 Early Decision
    • Application Review Begins: August 15, 2007
    • Decision Period: Within 10 weeks of submission
    • Application Deadline: October 10, 2007
  • September 2008 Regular Decision
    • Application Review Begins: January 9, 2008
    • Decision Period: Within 12 weeks of submission
    • Application Deadline: March 3 (international applicants) or April 16 (US-based applicants)

Essays MBA September Early Decision - Fall - 2008

The following essay questions are part of the application to Columbia Business School. In addition to learning about your professional aspirations, the Admissions Committee hopes to gain an understanding of your interests, values and motivations through these essays. How you answer these essays is at your discretion, there are no right answers and we encourage you to answer each question thoughtfully and honestly.

Reapplicants: If you have applied to Columbia Business School within the past year, you are required to submit only the re-applicant essay: How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate your short-term and long-term goals. Explain how the tools of the Columbia MBA will help you to meet your goals and how you plan to participate in the Columbia community. Dual Degree applicants: please address the following questions within your response to essay number 1: Please indicate the Dual Degree programs and schools to which you applied or intend to apply. Please discuss how the Dual Degree will enhance your short-term or long-term goals, and at which school you intend to begin your studies. If you would like to work on your application in Microsoft Word and then paste it into the essay field, please save your document as a text (.txt) file first. Failure to save as text first may result in characters being truncated from the end of your essays, so please be sure and paste in the text version of your essay. You may also work directly in Notepad (or an equivalent text-only editor), which will automatically save your document as a text (.txt) file. The format may not be retained, but this will not affect admissions decisions.

  1. What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals (Recommended 750 word limit)? *
  2. In a recent speech delivered to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Dean Glenn Hubbard discussed the new, essential elements of the 21st century MBA: Read the speech here. How will your MBA prepare you for a rapidly changing business environment (Recommended 500 word limit)? *
  3. The entrepreneurial mindset is an integral component of the Columbia Business School MBA. Please discuss a time in your own life when you have identified and captured an opportunity (Recommended 500 word limit). *
  4. Please tell us about what you feel most passionate in life (Recommended 250 word limit). *
  5. (Optional) Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee? Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.

Overview (by Hjort)

Columbia is located in the New York City Econonic Area- the largest economic area in the US in terms of personal income.

  • Rankings
    • FT 2005 ranks Columbia #3 in the world and in the US.
    • EIU 2004 places Columbia #7 worldwide and #6 in the US - just above Penn and just below Chicago GSB.
    • FT 2005 Value for Money: #65, the best of the ultraelites.

Columbia's best showing in BW has been #6 (twice), its worst showing was #14.

CEOs: Delphi, Anheuser-Busch, Eli Lilly, Clear Channel, Becton Dickinson, Simon Property, EMC, Calpine (MS Civil Eng), Gannett (Law), Harley-Davidson (Phd Mech Eng), Golden West (Law), Allegheny Energy (Law).

Some advantages of Columbia (by Hjort)

  1. It is in the most important commercial city in North America and arguably the most important in the world. No other ultra elite can match this level of access to the culture and business of New York City.
  2. Columbia is a superlative finance school. While candidates often view Penn and Chicago as vying for the top in finance, it is unconscionable to ignore Columbia. After all, on a per capita basis Columbia has repeatedly been the single strongest school in the United States, exceeding Chicago and easily exceeding Penn for many important firms.
  3. Columbia offers far more than outstanding access to finance - it is often viewed as one of the top schools in general management and international business as well.
  4. While Columbia is not one of the strongest ultra elites in consulting, it is still worth remembering that it is stronger than virtually every school in the elite cluster and below.

Why students exclude Columbia (by Hjort)

Three explanations I have come across:

  1. Columbia has a relatively pronounced boom and bust cycle for an ultra elite school that scares off the best candidates
  2. Columbia has not been a leader in the same way that other ultra elites have been and thus is not as attractive to the best candidates
  3. CBS at times has lived off the brand name of the university rather than address shortcomings in the quality of the business school
  • Boom and Bust Business School

There is no denying that CBS has suffered through some low points. As mentioned above, Columbia in the late 1980s was one nadir:

"At that point the school was very demoralized. We had fallen to 14th in the Business Week rankings. The students were very unhappy; they felt the curriculum was out of date and out of touch."

"The alumni felt very alienated and disenchanted. There were many alumni who had no contacts with the school. "

This was certainly not the first low point for the school. Dean Courtney C. Brown's played a crucial role in the 1950s and 1960s by elevating the business school from its lowly status as a cash producing vocational school to a serious academic unit of a major university. At the time of his arrival the business school had a largely undistinguished faculty, substantial morale problems, and a curriculum that was better suited to teaching undergraduates than MBA level professionals.

Since reputations tend to form over a long period of time, current impressions of Columbia are affected to some extent by weak moments in its past. Accordingly, some students might bypass Columbia in favor of schools with less variance.

  • Follow that School

A related weakness is that Columbia has rarely appeared to be a leader in the same way as Penn, Chicago, or Harvard have been. Wharton was instrumental in the creation of serious post-secondary training in business, Chicago in finding a rigorous academic core for business education in economics and the related social sciences, and Harvard in making business school a graduate level discipline. While its emphasis on International Business has been important, Columbia has rarely been a leader in business education.

  • Image Cross-subsidization

At times, CBS has seemed to rely on the image of its parent university and the fact that the parent is a member of the Ivy League to justify relatively weak offerings. This certainly seemed to have been the case when Dean Brown took over the business school in 1954. To this day, CBS uses an implicit "Quality by Association" argument on its home page. The fact that the parent university is part of the Ivy League is one of the three major headings and the first one that one sees when reading from right to left. This is odd since Columbia is a strong business school in its own right, and seems to have little need to invoke the names of other universities or business schools to justify its own prestige. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the Wharton MBA program or HBS placing much stress on the fact that undergraduates at their respective universities compete in the same sports league as undergraduates at Dartmouth or Cornell.


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