Client Case Study: Financial Analyst Reapplies to CBS as an Entrepreneur

Our Client Case Studies detail how Amerasia consultants have helped clients address unique challenges associated with their application.

Client: Andrew M.

  • Education: Top 25 Public University, Accounting/Finance Degree, 3.5 GPA
  • Experience: Big 4 Accounting Firm (3 years), Social Media Entrepreneur (10 months) 
  • GMAT: 700 - 720

Situation: Re-applicant to Columbia Business School

Andrew was a re-applicant, having applied to Columbia Business School the year before.  He knew that he would be under the gun to answer “what had he improved since late applying to Columbia.”  However, since last applying, his professional situation had taken a turn for the "worse." Andrew had been laid off from his New York City based financial services job.  Further complicating his situation, Andrew did accept a new role – an unpaid position that was outside of his finance industry.

Challenge: Career switcher from the traditional to the non-traditional

Andrew’s challenge would be to explain how his current “volunteer” career path (working for a social networking start-up) built towards the finance-oriented goals he stated in his prior application to Columbia Business School.  He also needed to be make sure that he was not signaling to the Columbia admissions committee that he was a "career switcher" looking for an “escape hatch” from his current foray into the start-up world.  The zig-zag nature of his work experience would also call into question his ability to discern a specific career path.  Would it seem reasonable to the Columbia admissions committee that Andrew could not find a finance-related job in the nine months since leaving the financial services industry?

Addressing the Challenge: Understanding Columbia's direction and aligning new career trajectory

Andrew worked with his consultant to assess the pieces of his candidacy and logically connect the dots for both Andrew and any potential evaluator of his candidacy.  First, Andrew and his consultant examined what the Columbia admissions committee was seeking in their candidates.  Conducting his due diligence Andrew discovered that Columbia was seeking to further its entrepreneurial strengths while strengthening its cohesive business school community.  In truly evaluating his fit with the Columbia MBA program, Andrew and his consultant evaluated his current work and extracurricular experiences.  Andrew truly had a passion for his new found role as an entrepreneur and in the social networking space.  Drawing parallels between his new career path and what a Columbia MBA could offer, Andrew felt confident in moving forward with new career goals as a “technology entrepreneur.”  Working with his consultant, Andrew articulated his new positioning and supported his transition by demonstrating how his finance skills were able to add a “professional” element to a rapidly growing organization.


From day one, Andrew had his heart set on the Columbia Business School.  Both years he elected to only apply for the Columbia MBA.  But only in his 2nd year of applying did Andrew work with an Amerasia MBA admissions consultant.

He was accepted Early Decision and is now bringing his finance, technology, passion, and social networking skills to Columbia.

You can read more about this topic and basically everything else related to the Columbia Business School application process in our "How to Apply to Columbia" guide. We make this guide - as well as guides to HBS, Wharton and INSEAD - free to applicants everywhere in order to lend a hand but also show our expertise. You will see that it dwarfs other "insider guides" that are out there. If you like what you read, or are just interested in admissions consulting already, be sure to email us at to see how our expert team of admissions consultants can help you.