Columbia holds rolling admissions in which applications are evaluated and decisions made as applications are received. This arrangement helps reduce the stress of the business school application process, Carlson says. “We are able to let people know within . . . six weeks of when they’ve submitted an application: you’re either going to be interviewed or the process is going to end,” she says. “That’s been really helpful for candidates.”
For the full-time MBA program, students either start in August for the the two-year program, or in January for the 16-month accelerated program that has no space for an internship and is geared toward students who are company-sponsored, are entrepreneurs, work in a family business, or otherwise don’t need an internship. The programs merge in fall of the second year as students take electives as a single class.
RECENT ADMIT: 18 DAYS FROM APPLICATION TO ADMISSION
Admissions director Robert Shea says he just called an applicant yesterday to admit him. Shea had read the application the day after it was submitted; the applicant was interviewed, and approved for entry – 18 days from application to admission. The process went so quickly because several admissions team members had spoken with him at an event, he had a high GMAT, clear goals, and friends in the program. “It’s because we all had met him,” Shea says. But, adds associate director of admissions Susan Sullivan about the speedy admission, applicants “shouldn’t all expect that.”
Interviews for the full-time MBA program are generally conducted by alumni, who are given frequent refreshers for the work. “They should be thinking about these interviews as, ‘Would I want this person working with me, would I want this person as part of my network?’ As an applicant you should be prepared for a professional interview, with a person who’s thinking, ‘Would I want this person as part of my broader network?’
Q&A with the Columbia Business School admissions team:
An applicant has written their essays, read them over, and corrected typos – what else should they do to get them ready to send?
Anne Carnahan, associate director of admissions: Do two-step research: spend a lot of time thinking about yourself; do the external research – what can Columbia Business School offer?
Michael Robinson, senior associate director of admissions: (In one woman’s) application years ago she wrote about how we did not have a Texas club. She was here, she helped start one. I remember going to the first Texas Club happy hour and we had the 10-gallon hats and the boots. She helped to make the community better.
Eileen Menis, admissions assistant: We definitely speak to a really nice person. We really want students who work well collaboratively. You can tell by your social skills, and your IQ, and your EQ. It’s kind of a gut feeling.
Natasha Stanislas, admissions assistant (smiling): You can ask a hundred questions that are right off the website, and if you’re nice, it’s OK.
What sorts of things impress you about an applicant, beyond their GPA and GMAT score?
Robert Shea, admissions director: Someone should be accomplished and directed and have their life together.