Columbia Posts App Deadlines & Essays

Columbia Business School MBA candidates Roberta Donzelli and Matt Austin - Ethan Baron photo

Columbia Business School MBA candidates Roberta Donzelli and Matt Austin – Ethan Baron photo

Columbia Business School moved its early decision MBA application deadline up a couple of days sooner this year, setting an Oct. 5, 2016, cutoff date. Columbia’s new deadlines follow the new dates set by Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Columbia also was the first highly selective business school to release essay questions for the 2016-2017 admissions season. The full application will be released on May 16th.

The big change this year is less about the questions and more about the potential length of the answers: Columbia is giving applicants a bit more room to express themselves.

“I think Columbia is making the assumption that the applicant is a grown-up, and that’s a good thing,” says Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions, an MBA admissions consulting firm. “Look at the first, and most important question, the one about goals. There’s no real change from last year except you get the chance to tell that story in anywhere from 100 words to 750 words.


“The 100 word minimum actually encourages both brevity and creativity,” adds Massar. “You can offer a tweet storm, a sonnet, or a very succinct answer that captures everything you need to tell them. I’m guessing most people won’t play small ball, but here’s hoping they will think long and hard about how much in their story is relevant, and how much is just filler.

This new format allows you to focus on your strengths. For example, you can overweight the question that you feel most passionate amount.”


Goal: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters)

Essay #1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (100-750 words)

Essay #2: Columbia Business School’s students participate in industry focused New York immersion seminars; in project based Master Classes; and in school year internships. Most importantly, they are taught by a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (100-500 Words)

Essay #3: CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 Words)


Early Decision/January

October 5, 2016

Merit Based Fellowship Deadline

January 4, 2017

Final Regular Decision

April 12, 2017

*Candidates have three weeks from the date when they submit their application to send updated test scores/materials.

January Admitted Student Second Deposit Deadline

November 11, 2016

Updated Deposit Language (will post after June 1):

Columbia said that all admitted students are required to submit two nonrefundable tuition deposits to secure their place in the class after admission. Admitted students for the January-entry and August-entry Early Decision must submit deposits within two weeks of admission. If you are admitted for August-entry Regular Decision on or before January 31, 2017 you must submit your deposit by February 17, 2017. If you are admitted from February 1, 2017 through April 14, 2017 you must submit your deposit by April 28, 2017. Applicants admitted after April 14, 2016 will have two weeks to submit their initial deposit. Students for the January-entry are required to submit a second deposit by November 11, 2016. All early August-entry Early Decision and Regular Decision admitted students are required to submit a second deposit by June 1, 2017 in order to secure their spaces in the class.


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