Columbia Announces New App, Essay Questions

Columbia Business School. Ethan Baron photo

Columbia Business School’s application for 2019 will be available this Monday, May 21, the school announced Friday (May 18) in an email. And it will include two new essay questions among the three required.

CBS joins Harvard Business School as the two schools that have released application deadlines and questions for next year’s entry. The early-decision deadline will be October 3. The Merit-Based Fellowship application deadline will be January 4, 2019, and the final regular decision deadline will be April 10, 2019.

Columbia’s “goal” question precedes its essay questions; similar to last year’s, it opens with: “What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?” with a 50-character limit. Also similar to last year, the next prompt states: “Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job?” That question has a 500-word limit.

Essay two varies slightly from the previous year. This year’s prompt, which allows 250 words to answer, is, “How will you take advantage of being ‘at the very center of business’?” Applicants are further asked to watch a minute-and-a-half video featuring Dean Glen Hubbard. Last year’s second essay prompt stated: “The full-time MBA experience includes academics, recruiting, and networking. What are your personal priorities and how do you anticipate allocating your time at Columbia Business School?”

The biggest change comes in the third essay prompt, which states: “Please provide an example of a team failure of which you have been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently?” Applicants applying to last year’s entry are asked to pick one of two prompts, which were: “Please tell us what you feel most passionate about in life” and “If you were given a free day and could spend it anywhere, in any way you choose, what would you do?”

IMPROVEMENT TO SECOND QUESTION, ‘JURY IS OUT’ ON THIRD QUESTION

According to Betsy Massar, owner and operator of Master Admissions, the second question could be “problematic” for applicants.

“Even with the video of a very animated Glenn Hubbard, the second question is problematic because students get discombobulated by trying to understand what CBS is really looking for,” Massar wrote Poets&Quants in an email. “It also is difficult for students to articulate an authentic answer to this question that shows much differentiation. So that increases anxiety.”

Massar says she is unsure how applicants will respond to the third prompt.

“Unless they are an athlete, I think students will need to think really hard to come up with anything that wins the readers’ hearts and minds,” she says. “I’m sorry they removed the ‘CBS Matters’ question, because that one and last year’s question about being passionate really got people to be introspective. I worry this is just a process question, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

“On the good news side: I’ve been a big fan of the first question; yes, it is the same as last year’s, but that ‘in your imagination’ part really encourages students to think a little bit beyond, and to try to incorporate some vision or purpose in their goal. It’s also a good question for students to start with as they approach the entire business school application process, because if they think about it right, they can connect the dots between their past and their future.”

COLUMBIA BECOMES SECOND PROMINENT SCHOOL TO RELEASE APPLICATION DEADLINES AND INFO

CBS is the second prominent school to announce application deadlines and essay questions so far this year. Earlier this week, Harvard Business School made big news by not only announcing application deadline dates, but also announcing the termination of the Round 3 application period. Harvard’s Round 1 application is due on September 5, a month earlier than CBS’s first round deadline. But the Round 2 deadlines for both schools fall on January 4.

During last year’s application cycle, nearly 6,200 people applied to CBS and 1,019 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of around 16.5%. The average GMAT score for last year’s entering class was 724, with a range of 530 to 790. The average work experience was five years and average age of students enrolling was 28. The class boasted 41% women, 43% international students, and 34% under-represented U.S. minorities.

COLUMBIA ESSAYS & GOAL:
 
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 over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long term dream job? (500 words)
 
Essay #2: How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? Please watch this short video featuring Dean Glenn Hubbard (250 Words)
 
Essay #3: Please provide an example of a team failure of which you have been a part.  If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (250 Words)

Optional Essay: Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee?  If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.  This does not need to be a formal  essay.  You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)

DON’T MISS: MEET THE COLUMBIA MBA CLASS OF 2019 or HARVARD KILLS AN MBA ADMISSIONS ROUND