Meet Columbia’s MBA Class of 2017

Members of Columbia Business School's Class of 2017

Members of Columbia Business School’s Class of 2017

Two years ago, Columbia Business School adopted a new tagline: “At the very center of business.” With an evocative nod to New York City, Columbia flaunts an experience rife with possibilities. Here, your dream job is a cab ride away. And your next boss may be teaching one of your classes.

“Columbia’s location…offers unparalleled access to potential employers and also enables students to obtain a variety of internships during the school year,” touts Laura Kornhauser, a former executive director at JPMorgan Chase who is part of Columbia’s 762-member incoming class. “As someone who is planning to switch careers, I hope to use these internship opportunities to explore different types of firms within my target industry before (and after) the all important summer internship. Columbia’s location also helps draw top business minds to the school as professors. Having the chance to learn from these professors, a large percentage of whom are successful practitioners in their fields, will make the coursework engaging and entrenched in real-world situations.”

If you watch enough “Columbia Follies” videos, you might assume that the school is populated with Hollywood wannabes. However, Columbia is no two year reprieve from the real world. In fact, among business schools, it may be the best simulation of what students can expect after graduation. Like New York itself, Columbia is vast, diverse, competitive, and demanding. To stand out, you need a mix of ingenuity and initiative, a daring and toughness that matches the pulsing urgency of the urban landscape around you.


Columbia's Assistant Dean for MBA Admissions Amanda Carlson

Columbia’s Assistant Dean for MBA Admissions Amanda Carlson

That’s a tall order, but the Class of 2017 brings something special to the table. “This is one of the most dynamic classes we have seen, says Amanda Carlson, the school’s assistant dean of admissions. “[It] includes many students with strong entrepreneurial interests, from exceptionally eclectic backgrounds. We feel this class will produce dynamic leaders who will create incredible growth and opportunity in the global marketplace.”

Getting accepted into Columbia requires that little extra. In 2014-2015, Columbia received 5,829 applications for its full-time MBA program, up from the 5,799 apps it collected the previous year. Among these, Columbia accepted just 18% (down from 18.2% for the Class of 2016) – ranking it among the most exclusive business schools. Even more, the school’s yield edged up from 70.2% to 72.7%, meaning most applicants considered Columbia to be a destination, not a fallback option.

Academically, the Class of 2017’s average GMAT (715) was comparable to the previous class (716). Their GMATs range from 500-780, with the scores coalescing around 680-760 in the mid 80 percentile. The incoming class – which is divided into 11 clusters (including three that started in January) – also comes to Uris Hall with a 3.5 average GPA (spread from 3.1-3.8 in the mid 80 percentile).

Demographically, the 2017 class, on average, is 28 years old, with students as young as 22 and as old as 40. Women comprise 36% of this class, the same percentage as last year. U.S. minority student represent 35% of the class, up three points from the previous year. Considering its reputation for being a melting pot, Columbia’s international student population – 42% — is no surprise. Among the 12 top 20 business schools surveyed before August 21st, Columbia houses the highest percentage of overseas students – further cementing its reputation as an MBA program with a truly global reach and perspective.

Par for the course, 25% of Columbia’s incoming class have been working in financial services, with consulting and media accounting for another 23% and 11% respectively. The school also includes a sizable public sector presence, with 6% of the class featuring military veterans and government officials. In terms of undergraduate degrees, 38% studied the social sciences (plus an additional 7% from the humanities). Another 34% hold business-related degrees, with 19% coming from STEM backgrounds.

Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.

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