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How To Get Into Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School

How To Get Into Columbia Business School

If you want to get into Columbia Business School’s MBA program, you might want to highlight your leadership potential and any engagement you’ve had with the CBS community.

Elizabeth Kiefer, of Business Insider, recently spoke to Columbia alumni and admissions officers about what the b-school seeks in applicants and how prospective applicants can bolster their applications.

SEEKING LEADERS

CBS seeks applicants who have leadership potential and can show examples of that potential.

One of the areas where applicants can highlight this is through recommendation letters.

“When I read your recommendation, [and] it’s from an expert practitioner who is your boss, does that person say: ‘I’ve been in this space for 10 to 20 years, [and] this is why I think she has the potential to be a leader in the future because this is what I’ve seen her do’?” Michael Robinson, the director of admissions at Columbia Business School, tells Business Insider.

Leadership examples may be hard to pinpoint. However, Meredith Shields, co-founder of Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting, says applicants should look at key characteristics of leaders to help get some thought starters.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the top four leadership qualities found during a 10-year study of the highest-performing CEOs include:

  1. Decisiveness
  2. Ability to engage others (e.g. motivate)
  3. Ability to adapt well to change
  4. Reliability (in producing results)

“Even if you’ve only been working for a few years, chances are you can give examples of how you’ve exhibited some of these leadership qualities,” Shields writes for P&Q.

COMMUNITY FIT

CBS also seeks applicants who can fit well into their community.

To understand fit, it’s important to understand what kind of community CBS offers. Experts say applicants should try to attend CBS events and try to connect with the CBS community.

“By the time I was applying to CBS, I’d gone to a number of events, met with admissions officers, [and] spoken to current students and alums, so I knew how to map my career-to-date and interests onto what I wanted to get from and contribute to CBS across academics, career, and community,” Stephanie McCalmon, a Class of 2019 MBA at CBS, tells Business Insider.

Knowing the school and understanding what kinds of people attend CBS can help you ensure your story and goals line up.

“In the end, we want people who are going to add value to our community, and you can’t really add value without knowing the community, taking the time to immerse yourself, and asking: ‘Is this the right thing for me, given what I want to do?'” Robinson tells Business Insider.

Sources: Business Insider, Poets & Quants, Harvard Business Review