November 26, 2016

Joined: Oct 02, 2013

Posts: 5

Kudos: 10

Self-reported Score:
680 Q42 V41
700 Q42 V44

Leveraging Location


This review is for CBS

Program Full Time MBA

Class of 2016

Experience during the program

Anyone that is considering Columbia is also likely considering a bunch of great schools that have many of the same positives; namely access to a great network, excellent professors, smart classmates, professional opportunities, and (everyone's favorite) Grade Non-Disclosure. From what I can tell there are 2 things that make Columbia stand out: New York City and finance classes/opportunities. I chose Columbia because it was a top 10 school (I didn't think anything less was really worth the investment) and I wanted to live in NY (mainly for personal reasons).

However, after going I can say that I think there are a few other things that make Columbia awesome:
- A surprising level of community, especially for a "city school." Orientation is definitely weighted towards the community side of things with a dash of academic and professional things scattered throughout, I think this is to make sure we have that community despite nobody really living on campus (not a lot of on campus housing, usually only goes to international students and a small set of west coasters). Throughout the year there are weekly happy hours on campus that are typically preceded by CBS Matters where 1-2 people from your cluster (~70 students you have all your core classes with) present about their life and what is important to them. CBS Matters is definitely my favorite thing about Columbia. In addition to on campus happy hour on Thursdays there is Rugby Happy Hour on Wednesdays at a bar a few subway stops away. It is open to the whole school, not just the rugby team (although I would highly recommend joining the rugby team because it's awesome), and usually has equal or better attendance than school-sponsored happy hour.
- A ton of travelling. This is something I haven't done as much as many of my classmates, mainly because it can get really expensive/often eats into time I could be spending with my husband. However, there are TONS of opportunities to travel. In the summer before school starts a huge chunk of the school takes part in the "pre-MBA World Tour" which includes student-organized trips pretty much all over the world (I got to take part in the final leg in the Hamptons with about 200 classmates). Then over fall break every cluster organizes a trip, we went to the Dominican Republic (one of my clustermates is from there so he planned most of it) and during winter and spring break the school offers “Global Immersion” classes and study tours to a ton of different places (Israel, Japan, South Korea, India, and Argentina are usually offered) to tour companies and sights. I took a Global Immersion class in Madrid about the European Financial Crisis which included full days of speakers who experienced the crisis first hand and evenings seeing the city, eating a lot of great food, going out to clubs, and touring the soccer stadium.
- NYC. I really only thought about this from a personal perspective coming in but it is a helpful resource since every industry and almost every big company has offices in NY you can find time to meet with people from any industry or company you might be interested in without having to plan your whole day or week around it. I took an immersion seminar last year where every Friday we visited a different consulting firm (BCG, Deloitte, PwC/Strategy&, and 10eqs) and there were a bunch of others offered too (big data, luxury goods, innovation). There are also conferences hosted on or near campus almost every week (I went to the media, marketing and women in business conferences). I just don't see those kind of things being possible outside of NY.

There definitely are some downsides to Columbia as well...
- Business school is expensive and NYC is expensive, put them together and you end up paying a painful amount of money. You pay a premium for being in NY for sure, so if you aren't getting value out of that location then you can probably get a lot of the positives of Columbia somewhere cheaper.
- It is generally understood that our marketing professors aren’t very good. My core marketing class was painful and electives were generally taught by mediocre visiting professors – pretty disappointing when you see the industry legends teaching the finance courses.
- The facilities are...for lack of a better word...bad. They are working on a new campus that should be opening around 2018 and so they aren't putting much work into the current one. It is small and below the standards I would expect from such a great school. Very few dining options and the library is pretty consistently overrun by undergrads.
Tough answering whether it is worth it right out of school (especially for me since I am still on the job hunt). I would say that if you have a good sense of what you want to get out of it and you focus on that it will be worth it (but since priorities vary so much person to person it is also very easy to get distracted).

Overall BSchool experience (3.0)
Schools contribution (3.0)
Classmates rating (3.0)

Strengths of the program:

Alumni Network

Best fit at this program:

Investment Banking

Can be improved:


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