Columbia Applicants Asked To Watch Video


The school’s new essay questions arrive just after major changes in the way Harvard Business School will assess new MBA applicants was announced less than two weeks ago (see “Behind Harvard’s Big Admission Changes“). HBS cut in half the number of required essays for applicants to its full-time MBA program. Instead of requiring MBA candidates to write four separate essays, for a total of 2,000 words, applicants to Harvard will now have to turn in two essays, for a total of just 800 words. Applicants who are invited to admission interviews at Harvard will then have 24 hours to file a third essay of 400 words about their interview experience.

The alternations at Columbia were not nearly as dramatic. “Harvard’s approach this year represents a different approach and reallocation of admissions office resources,” adds consultant Abraham. “In contrast, Columbia is fiddling with the dial — not changing the station.”

Columbia Business School, for example, maintained the same number of required essay questions, slightly rewording some of them and adding the one new video-based query. Columbia retained last year’s 200-character short answer question, “What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?”, and the 500-word question, “Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career, and how do you plan to achieve your immediate and long-term, post-MBA professional goals?”

The school also retained last year’s 500-word question to “describe a personal experience and how it has influenced who you are today. The essay should have a personal rather than a professional focus,” the school said.

An optional fourth essay allows applicants to discuss “any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.”

The questions follow last week’s publication of Columbia’s announcement of its new application deadlines. For applicants who want to enter Columbia in August of 2013, the early decision deadline is Oct. 3 of this year, while the regular decision deadline is April 15, 2013. For applicants who want to enter in January of 2013, Columbia posted a deadline of Oct. 3, 2012. About 70% of Columbia MBA students begin their studies in the fall term. After mandatory orientation in the second half of August, regular classes begin in September. Most August-entry students complete a summer internship between their second and third terms.

Because the School uses a rolling admissions process, the school says it is always to your advantage to apply well before the deadline.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.