Columbia Business School: What It Offers and What It Takes to Get In

Architectural and exterior photography of Henry R. Kravis Hall and David Geffen Hall, by photographer Iwan Baan Stock photos of CBS Manhattanville campus

Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School: What It Offers and What It Takes to Get In

Columbia Business School (CBS), ranks seventh in P&Q’s ‘Top Business Schools’ ranking. Popular among applicants, it boasts an acceptance rate of 22% though, gaining admission to the prestigious MBA program isn’t easy.

Hanna Stern, an admissions consultant at Stacy Blackman Consulting and alumnus of Columbia Business School, recently offered some insight into what the CBS has to offer and what applicants should know about the admissions process.


One of the biggest advantages of attending CBS is the location. Located in the heart of New York City, CBS offers its students an abundance of unique opportunities.

“CBS really integrates the city with the classroom,” Stern says. “Some classes are immersion seminars, which are industry-focused classes for first-year students. Here, your days are structured as a mix of classroom learning with office and corporate visits and hearing from industry leaders.”

Due to its location, CBS also attracts professors who are experts in their field of study.

“So that means your professor might leave a meeting with their company’s board and come straight to class to tell you about that discussion,” Stern says. “It also means they have frequent guest lecturers in the classroom. You never know when you’ll turn around at the end of a case analysis to find the CEO from that case sitting in the back, ready to tell you what they did in that situation.”


People often label CBS as the “finance school” because of its proximity to Wall Street. But Sterns says the B-school has so much more to offer.

“Of course, its location in New York City offers plenty of opportunities for students interested in finance,” Stern says. “But the best part about New York is that every industry has a significant presence here. Columbia Business School offers a wide variety of targeted tracks for students who want to focus on other industries. This includes healthcare and pharmaceutical management, retail and luxury goods, real estate, and social enterprise, just to name a few.”

Another misconception? The B-school lacks community due to its city campus.

“CBS has such a strong community, and its students are some of the kindest, most supportive, and motivated individuals you’ll ever meet,” Stern says. “You will make friends from every corner of the world at CBS and become a part of an incredibly strong alumni network for the rest of your career.”


A strong academic track record is a must if you’re hoping to get into CBS. But, more importantly, CBS applicants should show how they’ve immersed themselves in the community.

“Of course, they’re looking for candidates with strong academic foundations who can successfully handle the rigor of the classroom,” Stern says. “In particular, they’re looking at those required quantitative courses like corporate finance, statistics, and accounting. The admissions committee wants people who will be successful in those classes, but they’re also looking for people who will make interesting contributions to the classroom discussion based on their previous life and career experiences. They’re also looking for applicants with a demonstrated history of taking on leadership roles.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

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