Are you considering Columbia Business School? To help you put your best foot forward, Personal MBA Coach’s Nicole Shay sat down virtually with former colleague and current CBS admissions director Jordan Blitzer. Since joining CBS in 2017, Jordan has focused on recruitment for the school’s full-time MBA program, engaging with MBA hopefuls from across the globe.
As a former Associate Director of Admissions at Columbia Business School, Nicole worked closely with Jordan until early 2021.
Below, Personal MBA Coach has shared a few of the key questions that Jordan and Nicole covered. To get more insider information about CBS, including what Jordan wishes applicants would do differently, what is new on campus and common misconceptions about CBS, watch the full interview here. This is a must-see for prospective CBS students!
Nicole: Have there been any big changes to the application process in the past year, either related to COVID or otherwise, that you want to address?
Jordan: One question we get a lot is around in-person vs. virtual events. As I mentioned, the campus is still closed to visitors to prioritize the space for our students for in-person instruction. Another question we get quite often, and you probably get this a lot too, is around online test-taking. We absolutely accept tests taken online and see them as valid.
Not COVID related, we still have our traditional goals essay, but we now allow our applicants to choose between two of three options for the other essays. We really want people to talk about the things that are important to them so we can get to know them even better. We also reduced our recommender requirements and now require one recommendation. I think our applicants were a little stunned at first, but it has made the process more manageable overall.
Finally, the biggest general change (not COVID related) is that we joined The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. This means there is now an opportunity for folks to apply to CBS through The Consortium. This is brand new territory for us since we are the newest school to join the group. I am excited to see from an admissions perspective how that all plays out with our process and building our class.
Nicole: I’m curious if you have any advice on which of the three essays to choose if someone is really stuck on how to choose. Do you have any advice at this point given you’ve only been giving this option for several months?
Jordan: A lot of the MBA process is about reflection and honesty with oneself. If you feel you can answer two of the prompts meaningfully over the other, pick those two. We really do not have a preference of which we want to see. Again, it is about being able to meaningfully answer the prompts and sharing more about yourself.
Nicole: Something that we often emphasize with clients is that even though the themes of different essays in different schools are the same, maybe goals, fit, etc., they are not the same question. It is very easy to tell if you try to smush one essay’s content into another essay. I know that I can detect it very easily, and I emphasize this with people so it’s good to hear from you that it is real.
Any tips that you have to bolster authenticity or mitigate this cookie-cutter way of approaching essays?
Jordan: Something that I encourage people to do is identify someone in your life, it’s probably not going be your significant other, parent/guardian, or grandparent. It’s someone who knows you but doesn’t know you that well. Give them your essays and don’t give them the prompt. Have them share with you a little about how you’re coming off – does this sound like me? Does this feel the person you know?
It’s helpful for it to be someone sort of distant because you don’t want the person filling in holes for you. Your parents might fill in a gap and connect the dots in a way that an admissions committee member cannot.
Have this person give a little bit of feedback and general thoughts on your responses, and then have them predict what the prompt was. Then you can really say to yourself “Okay, I answered the question” or “Oh, something is amiss here; they didn’t catch what my dream job was.”
I think it is a good way to see if you hit or missed the mark.
To get more insider information about the Columbia Business School admissions process, we encourage you to check out the full interview here.
About Personal MBA Coach:
Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 14 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2 by leading sources including Poets & Quants.
We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes former M7 admissions directors and former M7 admissions interviewers.
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Scott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and founded Personal MBA Coach 14 years ago with the goal of providing customized one-on-one support. Scott also serves on the Board of Directors for AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and is invited to speak at MBA Admissions events globally. Our clients have been accepted to all top schools globally with a 96% success rate. They received $6.5M in total scholarships last year.