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Columbia To Expand J-Term For MBAs By 20%

Columbia Business School 2019 graduation

Columbia Business School graduation

Columbia Business School says it plans to increase the size of its J-term cohort by 20% due to increased demand for its accelerated MBA option. The school expects to enroll a January class of 240 students, up from the more typical 200 MBA candidates it brings in for the January start.

The school’s J-term allows MBA students to join a smaller cohort for four consecutive terms beginning in January and finish their degree in 16 months. The condensed format brings down the opportunity costs of being out of the workforce for a full two years. Students give up their opportunity for an internship so the shorter MBA  tends to attract students who wish to remain in the same industry, entrepreneurs, and students in family businesses.

“Based on the demand and quality of applicants we witnessed this summer, we are open to expanding admission to this year’s J-term by up to 20%,” a CBS spokesperson tells Poets&Quants. He attributed “the expansion of up to 20%” to “demand being the primary catalyst for doing so.” The larger sized cohort is “applicable only to this upcoming cycle,” he adds.


Columbia first disclosed the change in a webinar with MBA admission consultants earlier this week. The final application deadline for the J-term that starts in 2021 is Oct. 2.

The size increase for the January start follows the welcoming of a larger class for its August start. Reversing a two-year slide, Columbia saw a huge increase in total MBA applications and an incoming Class of 2022 that is much larger than — and at the same time remarkably similar in key metrics to — the Class of 2021. In its new class profile, CBS reports an MBA application total of 6,971, up from 5,876 for the fall of 2019 — an increase of more than 1,000, or 18.6%. That blows away the school record of 6,188 set in 2016-2017. The school admitted 1,130, only slightly more than last year’s 1,122, dropping its acceptance rate to 16.2% from last year’s 19.1%; CBS also enrolled more: 782, a 3.7% increase on last year’s class of 754.

The two cohorts, each comprised of four terms, merge in the fall of the second year to complete electives as a single class. In the recent past, it has been considerably easier to get into the January intake which attracts roughly 30% of the entire graduating class. For the August cohort two years ago, the acceptance rate was just 16.4%, with a yield of 66.0%. In fact, CBS gets as many applicants per class seat (8.8) at HBS for that intake. For the smaller January intake, however, the acceptance rate is a surprisingly high 52.1%, with a yield rate of 86.8%. The disparity is largely the result of far fewer applicants for the January intake that leads to the accelerated MBA. Some 234 out of 449 applicants were accepted with 203 enrolled for the January cohort last year.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.