GMAT Changed on April 16th - Read about the latest changes here

It is currently 26 May 2018, 01:25


GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance


we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.


Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

Columbia’s Application is Live! (Online): Analysis 2016-2017

  new topic post reply Update application status  
Author Message
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consultant
User avatar
Joined: 21 Jun 2010
Posts: 761
Location: CA, USA
Schools: Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, MIT, NYU, Yale, +
Columbia’s Application is Live! (Online): Analysis 2016-2017 [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 17 May 2016, 19:59
Expert's post
This post was
From Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts),, email:

Interested in learning if we think you can be successful as an applicant or re-applicant?

Feel free to sign up for a FREE Profile Evaluation directly from Dr. Shel Watts, a Harvard and Oxford graduate with Harvard admissions experience and over 25 years of work with MBA applicants. Fill out the profile evaluation form on our homepage at or send your resume to

Ask about our current Columbia January-start and Early Decision specials. Comprehensive packages beginning at $1595 (Compare with our competitors who charge $3,400!); Basic editing of one application for $985. Valid through May 25, 2016. Opt to work directly with Dr. Shel on your MBA applications!

Columbia’s Application is Live! (Online): Analysis 2016-2017

Columbia Graduate School of Business (GSB) has become one of the first MBA programs to put its new 2016-2017 application online. The application is now live! This means that you can begin to prepare your online application form and have the recommendation forms sent to your recommendation writers, who can complete them and submit them. Columbia Business School uses a rolling admissions process, wherein the admissions committee reviews applications as they are submitted and awards seats to selected applicants on a rolling basis; therefore, many applicants benefit by submitting their applications early, because that is when there are the most available seats for which to compete.

Last year, Columbia’s admission rate was only 18%, meaning that approximately 82% of all applicants were rejected! With those odds, every part of your application, including the online application form, is important for admissions success. Below, we summarize some of the key aspects of the 2016-2017 Columbia Graduate School of Business full-time MBA application form and requirements. Columbia GSB has one of the most extensive MBA application forms, so give yourself ample time to complete it!


As noted above, Columbia uses rolling admissions. This point is crucial for applicants, because once Columbia has filled up all of its spots for an admissions season, chances for late-applying candidates will be slim! Now that the application form is online, you can prepare and submit it when you are ready, but there are some final deadlines for the 2016-2017 admissions season:

Final deadlines:

Full-time MBA Program, Entry: Jan 2017
The application is now available and applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Final deadline: October 5, 2016

Full-time MBA Program, Entry: August 2017
The application is now available and applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Early Decision deadline: October 5, 2016
Merit Fellowship deadline: January 4, 2017
Final deadline, Regular Admissions: April 12, 2017

Academic Area of Focus and Future Career Information

One of the first sections of the Columbia GSB full-time MBA application requires that you specify what your primary and secondary areas of academic focus will be, whether you will be applying for a dual degree and what you desire for future work experience – namely, your desired internship and your target post-MBA job.

For your primary and secondary areas of academic focus, you are given a scroll down list that includes many options, such as accounting, entrepreneurship, finance and economics, healthcare, management, marketing, real estate, private equity, social enterprise and value investing. For your future career, you are also given a scroll down list that includes many options, from consulting to financial services to biotechnology. Are your choices in this section important? Absolutely. This is because one concern that top MBA programs have about the candidates they admit focuses on post-MBA career placement.

Top business schools do not want to think that they will have a placement problem with you if they admit you. So if you are someone who has spent your entire career doing technological work with a top computer company and you indicate that you want to change to retail clothing and gain a post-MBA job in marketing with a top retail clothing company, you may find the admissions committee is very nervous about granting you admission. Will a potential employer want to hire you, given your prior experience? That is what they will ponder, among other things. If they think your choices in this section indicate you will be hard to place in a job after the MBA, this may be problematic for you. So, consider your choices well!


Candidates must submit a 1 to 2 page resume or CV. You should take advantage of the extra space if you have significant extracurricular activities to write about, since excellence in the extracurricular realm is one area in which you are judged as the admissions committee decides whether to admit you.

Remember, what you will be submitting to Columbia is an application resume, not a job resume. They are different in key ways, so you do not need to restrict yourself to a one-page resume unless that is strategically best for you.


The Columbia application asks applicants to list their three most recent full-time employment roles. For each of these roles, you must provide your starting and ending position and your starting and ending compensation. You must also indicate whether you have had direct or indirect reports and how many hours a week you tend(ed) to work. For each job listed, the application allows 500 characters in which to describe your duties and responsibilities, and then a cap of 50 words to explain your reason for leaving. Applicants will also have an extra space in the application to provide an explanation for any gaps in employment history, limited to 1,000 characters. Take particular care to focus on the most important aspects of your role, and also be very careful and thoughtful when explaining why you left a particular job.

Extracurricular Activities

Unlike some applications for other top MBA programs, Columbia provides ample space for you to describe your extracurricular achievements. Applicants can list up to three collegiate extracurricular activities and up to three post-collegiate extracurricular activities. The cumulative of these activities should be listed in order of importance rather than in chronological order.

This section not only helps the admissions committee see applicants as well-rounded individuals; it also allows the committee to better understand what is important to the candidate. You have 200 characters for each of the activities in which to describe your participation.


There is a place on the online application where you must list each undergraduate and graduate institution from which you received a degree and upload PDF versions of the transcripts from these institutions. Columbia indicates that unofficial transcripts are fine and that it will verify the transcripts if you gain admission. You must also list your GPA as it appears on your transcript.

Columbia specifies that you should not list in this section study abroad programs, courses that were not taken for credits or certificates like the CFA and CPA. It instructs candidates to list these programs in the optional essay. They can also be included in the resume.

Essay Requirements

Columbia has broken with the trend of the past few years, in which top MBA programs have reduced the number and lengths of their admissions essays, sometimes only requiring one or two short essays. In contrast, this year Columbia extended the lengths of its first two essays and it offers four essays for first-time applicants! The essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle read as follows for first-time applicants:

Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (51 characters maximum)

Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (100-750 words)

Essay 2: Columbia Business School’s students participate in industry focused New York immersion seminars; in project based Master Classes; and in school year internships. Most importantly, our students are taught by a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (100-500 words)

Essay 3: CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 words)

Optional Essay: An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

There are a few things to pay attention to with these prompts. First, note that the short answer question (goal statement) allows up to a 50-character response – characters, not words. The average word in the English language is 5 characters, meaning you will have to very carefully come up with one concise sentence that describes your post-MBA goal.

Second, although these essay prompts have been slightly revamped, they are nearly identical to the essay prompts that Columbia has offered in the past few years. This means that the admissions committee finds the information it receives through these topics very useful. Make sure to consider your responses carefully!

Lastly, the optional essay should be used to explain any extenuating circumstances that you have had, like a drop in GPA one year or a gap in employment. The optional essay is also an excellent use of space for applicants who currently run a business, a start-up, or a non-profit in addition to working full-time. If you have any other test scores or certifications under your belt (such as the CFA or CPA or other supplemental coursework not listed on your transcripts), these should also be listed in the Optional Essay.

Standardized Test Scores

Full-time MBA applicants will be required to upload unofficial GMAT or GRE scores into the application, as well as unofficial TOEFL, PTE or IELTS scores if you earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university that provided instruction in a language other than English. The application only requires that you submit your highest score for each of these tests, but you cannot combine test scores from multiple dates. Columbia does ask, however, how many times you have taken the GMAT/GRE.

The good news for applicants is that while most MBA programs require that you have taken the GMAT or GRE prior to applying to business school, Columbia will allow applicants to retake the test within three weeks of the application being submitted. This is great news for candidates. This means that if you just received your test scores and you are not happy with your results, you may have time to retake the test and have those scores sent to Columbia to be factored into your admissions odds.


Applicants will be required to submit two letters of recommendation. You will provide the contact information for your recommendation writers on the online application. Both recommendations should be from individuals who can attest to your professional performance and potential. Columbia Business School asks that one recommendation come from a current direct supervisor. If this is not possible for any reason, a statement of explanation will need to be submitted in the Employment section of the application. A former supervisor or professional in a position senior to you can write the second recommendation. Re-applicants are required to submit only one recommendation letter; however, that recommendation must be from someone who did not write a letter for you in your prior application.

Re-Applicant Essays

If you applied to Columbia previously and within the past 12 months, you are considered a re-applicant and you can complete the re-applicant essays rather than the four essays for first-time applicants, since the admissions committee will have your prior application. These are Columbia’s re-applicant essay questions for 2016-2017:

Goal: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (51 characters)

Reapplicant Essay: How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate how you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals. (Maximum 500 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. (Maximum 500 Words)

Good luck as you complete your Columbia application and do not hesitate to reach out to us at MBA should you need assistance!

Need help with your Columbia application? Contact us! We are happy to help.

We welcome you to sign up for our FREE informative Newsletter, which provides useful tips, insider information and guidance for applying to top MBA programs. Sign up on the right hand side of our homepage at

Best wishes,
Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts)
President, MBA

Dr. Shel Watts, the Founder of MBA Admit,.com, is a Harvard and Oxford graduate with Harvard admissions experience and over 26 years of work with MBA applicants. Clients can opt to work directly with Dr. Shel in the admissions process.

Direct email address:


Columbia’s Application is Live! (Online): Analysis 2016-2017   [#permalink] 17 May 2016, 19:59
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Columbia’s Application is Live! (Online): Analysis 2016-2017

  new topic post reply Update application status  

GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group | Emoji artwork provided by EmojiOne

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.