Columbia EMBA Application Essay Tips & Deadlines [2019 – 2020]
The first 2 Columbia EMBA essay questions ask you to project into the future, both near and long term – they address what you hope, plan, want, and expect. The third essay question probes your perspective and values – it shows the adcom’s interest in getting to know you (in a very succinct way!).
In these essays, a potential pitfall, given the non-anecdotal questions, is to write generic, abstract “stuff”: ideas, thoughts, buzz words, admirable sounding ideals/objectives. However, even though not specified in the questions, grounding these essays in your experience is the key to making them credible and dynamic.
This approach will enable you to create a vivid, meaningful picture of your candidacy. Considering the scant opportunity to discuss past professional achievements in the essays, your resume carries all the more weight in the Columbia EMBA application – attend to it accordingly.
Columbia Executive MBA short-answer question
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
Examples of possible responses: 1) “Work in business development for a media company.” 2) “Join a strategy consulting firm.” 3) “Launch a data-management start-up.”
As their examples show, a factual phrase or bullet will suffice; no need to use a whole sentence. Do include key details.
Columbia Executive MBA essay questions
Columbia EMBA 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)
This question helps you avoid a common, reflexive pitfall: summarizing your career before discussing goals. Yes, goals need a context – and a sentence (or at most two) up front about your current situation can work as a “launch pad” for presenting your goals. CBS is always interested in elaborated career goals, in this case specifying your short-term, 3-5 year, goals. So, give solid detail about the role(s) you plan during these years: position, type of company, scope of accountability, what you want to accomplish, and why you want to pursue this path – this “why” is the key to moving the readers from professional interest to caring about you and your goals.
Your longer-term “dream job” needs less detail and should of course reflect some reasonable trajectory from the earlier role. The wording of “dream job” instead of “long-term goal” plus “in your imagination” provides an invitation (even encouragement) to be open, to “go for it.” Put some heart and risk into this future vision and think beyond just practical considerations. If it’s a dream job, it should be ambitious in a way that is meaningful and enticing to you. Make the reader feel your excitement.
There is no request to explain “why Columbia” in the question, but it would be fine to add a sentence or two about what is truly compelling to you about the program, if you have something thoughtful and insightful to say in this regard.
Columbia EMBA essay #2
Columbia Business School’s Executive MBA will challenge you by offering a rigorous academic experience, global exposure through the international seminar, and the opportunity to immediately apply what you learn to your career. How will you approach balancing the demands of the program with your professional and personal life while you are in school? (250 words)
Discuss the accommodations you will make at work, such as delegating more, adjusting travel schedules, etc. Focus on the most significant two or three adjustments.
Also address your personal responsibilities and how you will meet them with this additional demand on your time and energy; include 1-2 specific changes (probably, sacrifices), e.g. acknowledging that you’ll have less time at the playground with your toddler or mentioning the support of your significant other.
If you’ve already successfully balanced school and working full time, mention it. Nothing is better than actual evidence that you can juggle a demanding schedule.
Columbia EMBA essay #3
Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 words)
The tendency might be to “strategize” to pick the “right person” to discuss – although perhaps counter-intuitive, I’ll advise instead to first identify a few leaders you really do admire – and from among them, choose to write about the one that most engages you personally, intellectually (and perhaps spiritually and/or politically and/or socially…). In other words, have confidence in your own values and perspective. That confidence will shine through and power the essay.
Now, WHY do you admire this person? Root this part of the discussion in your own experience, don’t just make it an abstract explanation. Let it reveal something about you. Don’t be timid. Feel free to take a stand if the topic requires. Most important, how has it informed (and how is it informing) your development as a leader?
Columbia EMBA essay #4 (Optional)
An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.
This question invites you to present new material that will enhance your application, as well as explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender if not using a direct supervisor, etc.). As far as non-necessary points, since you are making the adcom read more than is required, there should be a clear value to the information you’re sharing. Finally, keep it short.
For expert guidance with your Columbia EMBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Columbia’s EMBA program and look forward to helping you too!
Columbia Executive MBA 2019-20 MBA Application Deadlines
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
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• School-Specific EMBA Application Essay Tips
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