Our updated 2012/2013 “How to Apply to Columbia” Guide is the starting point for prospective applicants. This 12-page PDF is available for immediate download and is provided to prospective applicants at no cost.
In the weeks and months immediately following the collapse of the financial markets in the Fall of 2008, there was rampant speculation about how the worst economic meltdown of our times would impact business schools and, specifically, the MBA admissions process. With many top programs, the changes were subtle and gradual and with more than a few, there were virtually no major differences in the process prior to and after 2008. Neither of these two descriptions apply to Columbia, where change has been immediate, dramatic, and all-encompassing. In fact, MBA applicants are unlikely to find more obvious evidence of the new world order than when applying to Columbia Business School.
What does this mean and what does it look like for your candidacy? In a nutshell, it means that Columbia is paying closer attention to your career goals (particularly in the short term) than any other business school … which is saying something considering how carefully most MBA programs are checking out short-term goals. This intense focus on career feasibility is only one of many peculiarities that make Columbia rather unique. In many ways, the school is a series of fascinating contradictions. Known for being a finance powerhouse, Columbia is going out of its way to broadcast strengths in other areas. Located in the largest city in American and a stone’s throw from some of the world’s foremost finance experts, the school’s foundation is rapidly becoming an unrivaled international focus. Actively seeking students who will get involved and foster a sense of community, Columbia remains – both in perception and in actuality – the closest thing to a commuter school that exists among the world’s elite MBA programs.
All of this actually serves to create a wonderful opening for those students who are able to probably identify what matters most to Columbia and then communicate a desire to be part of the school’s transformation, while also showing a nuanced and balanced understanding of both the power and limitation of an MBA as it related to securing a job.
If that sounds intimidating, you can rest easy in knowing that we have created this 10-step approach to applying to Columbia. The following guide will help you understand all of the key hot button issues and major thematic touch points – as well as critical admissions strategies – that will make or break your prospects for gaining admission to one of the world’s most famous business schools.