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Columbia’s New EMBA Application is Online: Analysis 2016-2017

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Columbia’s New EMBA Application is Online: Analysis 2016-2017 [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2016, 14:34
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Columbia’s New EMBA Application is Online: Analysis 2016-2017

Columbia Graduate School of Business (GSB) has put its new 2016-2017 EMBA Americas application online. The application is now live! This means you can begin preparing your application for the January-start EMBA program at Columbia! The earlier you submit, the better, because the Columbia EMBA program uses a rolling admissions process, wherein the admissions committee reviews EMBA applications as they are submitted and awards seats to selected applicants on a rolling basis. Therefore, most applicants benefit by submitting their applications early, because that is when there are the most available seats for which to compete. The final deadline for submitting an application to the Columbia EMBA Americas program is on October 26, 2016.

The Columbia EMBA Americas program is distinct not only because it begins in January, but also because it was designed for students who live far from New York City and who would have difficulty attending classes on every weekend in New York City.

Please remember that to maximize your chances for admissions success, every part of your application – including the online application form – is important. Below, we summarize some of the key aspects of the 2016-2017 Columbia EMBA Americas application form and requirements. Columbia has an extensive EMBA application form, so give yourself ample time to complete it!


As noted above, Columbia uses a rolling admissions proces. 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:

EMBA-Americas (Designed for candidates who live far from New York City)
January 2017 entry*
The application is now available online.
Final deadline, Regular Decision: October 26, 2016

Columbia also has other EMBA programs that begin in the middle of 2017, which include a Saturday-program and a Friday/Saturday-program. Those applications will be available in August 2016 and here are those deadlines:

EMBA-New York Saturday
May 2017 entry^
Early Decision**: January 11, 2017
Regular Decision: February 22, 2017

^Application will be available in August 2016.

EMBA-New York Friday/Saturday
August 2016 entry
Regular Decision: June 1, 2016

August 2017 entry^
Early Decision**: March 22, 2017
Regular Decision: May 31, 2017

^Application will be available in August 2016.


Candidates for the Columbia EMBA Americas program 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 provides a section for your employment history, but it seeks information about full-time employment only. You can include information about up to three 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.


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.

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.

Essay Requirements

The essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle read as follows for first-time applicants to the Columbia EMBA Americas program:

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

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 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? (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 bepleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 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. (Maximum 500 Words)

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 51-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, these essay prompts are consistent with the essay prompts that Columbia offered last year. 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

Columbia EMBA Americas 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. As an alternative to the GMAT or GRE, you can provide an Executive Assessment score (the new test for EMBA applicants that was recently introduced by GMAC). 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.

Financing your MBA/ Sponsorship

All Columbia EMBA Americas applicants must submit a signed sponsor letter (PDF) on company letterhead from an authorized firm member detailing the nature and terms of support. The candidate’s employer must agree at minimum to offer “time sponsorship” to the candidate, which means the employer is willing to release you from all job responsibilities on class days and keep your required travel time to a reasonable minimum. (Self-employed applicants should submit a sponsorship letter for themselves that confirm their availability on class days.)

In addition, some employers offer to financially support Columbia Executive MBA applicants. If you are in that happy position, your sponsor letter should also explain the financial support you will receive. Note, however, that employer finanical sponsorship is not required. (Self-employed candidates must submit a signed letter in which they agree to assume full responsibility for paying for the program.)

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.

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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.

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Columbia’s New EMBA Application is Online: Analysis 2016-2017   [#permalink] 18 May 2016, 14:34
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Columbia’s New EMBA Application is Online: Analysis 2016-2017

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