Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2025

Columbia Business School Manhattanville Campus


Columbia Business School has increasingly become the place to be for climate change curriculum. After all, the larger university is also home to the Columbia Climate School. At the same time, CBS has devoted intensive resources to develop new coursework around areas ranging from climate and sustainability finance to energy market development. And CBS’ leadership in the field climate change was a major attraction to Isabella Todaro.

“It was important to me that the business school has dedicated resources to developing curricula specifically tailored to my interests and to solving such a key global issue,” she tells P&Q. “CBS offers many courses dedicated to climate change and business and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of experiential learning and fellowship opportunities focused on climate change.

I see CBS’s dedicated approach to climate change as a feature of its integration with the broader Columbia University system. I’m eager to study alongside graduate students from the Climate School, SIPA, and the Law School – all of which are leaders on climate change education in their own right.”


MBA Students

You could say 2023 has represented the best of times at Columbia Business School. For one, the Manhattanville location still enjoys that new campus scent. Opened in 2022, the Henry R. Kravis Hall and the David Geffen Hall boasts 492,000 square feet of space and cost $600 million dollars to build. Think spacious and teched-out classrooms and welcoming student lounges and dining areas. That doesn’t count two dozen interview rooms to make recruiters comfortable. Make no mistake: the new buildings match the prestige of the school, which ranked #1 in the 2023 Financial Times MBA Ranking. This was a crowning achievement for the school, which had ranked among the Top 5 in 16 of the past 24 rankings (including 2nd in 1999 and 2007).

One major force behind CBS’ rise? Think outcomes, as alumni were earning $226,359 in base within three years of graduation, third-best behind just Harvard Business School and Stanford GSB. On top of that, CBS graduates enjoyed one of the highest placement rates. While alumni satisfaction wasn’t factored into The Financial Times ranking, Columbia scored an impressive 9.51 out of 10 here too.

“These factors suggest that graduates are enjoying high-level returns on investment in an increasingly unpredictable market,” says Michael Malone, the former associate dean of admissions at CBS. “Columbia has added to its traditional strengths in consulting and financial services by building stronger employment relationships in areas including e-commerce, fintech, and real estate. By diversifying career opportunities, Columbia can provide its graduates with what every MBA student wants most: choices.”


CBS Campus – Including the Interstate

The Financial Times wasn’t the only ranking where CBS excelled. Long known for excellence in Finance, the school earned the 2nd-highest score in Finance curriculum in the annual student survey from The Princeton Review in 2023. Among the business school deans and MBA directors surveyed by U.S. News & World Report, CBS notched the 4th-highest score. That doesn’t include ranking among the Top 10 for Real Estate, Marketing, International Business, Nonprofit, and Business Analytics in the same 2023 U.S. News survey.

“Quoting a line from a CBS alum and the former VP of Entrepreneurship Club – “A CBS MBA will already put you at the top in the business capital of the world,” says Uvika Chaturved.

Impressed? This year, two CBS professors – Sheena Iyengar and Rita Gunther McGrath – landed on the bi-annual Thinkers50 list, which honors the most influential minds in business. Not surprisingly, the program ranked 2nd for its research prowess by The Financial Times (and 3rd by the University of Texas-Dallas annual business school research survey). One area where the school is underrated? Think entrepreneurship. Among the 15 startups that drew the most investment from 2018-2022, four were founded by CBS MBA graduates – more than Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, or the Wharton School in that range.


Columbia Business School Campus

Maybe the biggest myth about Columbia Business School involves the students themselves. Among most urban business schools, you’ll hear them described as uber competitive and cutthroat, where they are supposedly only out for themselves and carry a win-at-all-costs mentality. For GT Svanikier, a ’23 alum and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA, his classmates turned out to be the opposite.

“Upon meeting my peers, I discovered that they were some of the most cooperative and amiable individuals I had ever encountered. We all share a strong drive and a vested interest in each other’s accomplishments. Although CBS is renowned for its finance program, I have personally found its curriculum and recruitment standing across several industries such as beauty, media, and tech to be quite formidable.”

And the distant, commuter community stereotype turned out to be a myth too, adds Zoe Mattana.

“I’ve been so impressed by the warm, welcoming spirit of the CBS community and its genuine desire to see students thrive. While on vacation in Greece this summer, I wore a CBS hat and had several excited alumni who I’d never met tell me how much they loved the program. They were eager to connect for coffee back home in the States. Their excitement and warmth demonstrated the close-knit, supportive nature of the CBS network, which extends globally.”


Clare Norton, who joined Columbia Business School this year as senior associate dean of enrollment management

CBS is also home to over 50,000 alumni, not to mention one of the deepest and most diverse rosters of student clubs, which range from aerospace and defense to sailing. While the school ranks among the elite in every MBA ranking, you won’t find its administration resting on their laurels. Recently, P&Q reached out to Clare Norton – the school’s Senior Associate Dean for Enrollment Management, Admissions, and Financial Aid. From new developments to sustainability programming to student events, here are here thoughts on the state of Columbia Business School.

P&Q: What have been the two most important developments in your MBA program over the past year? What type of impact will they have on current and future MBAs?


Expansion of Data and Digital-Related Classes

“With business analytics becoming a core course, students now have a strong foundation in this critical area, preparing them to leverage data-driven insights in their careers. Additionally, we have expanded our offerings in analytics and data-focused classes, providing more opportunities for students to develop expertise in this rapidly growing field. The number of data and digital-related classes on offer at CBS continues to grow with 3 times more sections and more than double the number of students taking classes in this area. 88% of 2022 MBA graduates took at least one full-term elective focused on product, tech, digital, analytics, or programming. The impact of these developments is significant for both current and future MBAs. Current students benefit from a more comprehensive and relevant curriculum, equipping them with the skills required in today’s data-driven business world.

As for future MBAs, they will have even greater access to cutting-edge courses and resources, empowering them to excel in the ever-evolving landscape of data and digital technologies. The recent addition of new classes like “Real Estate Analytics” and “Regulatory and Legal Matters on Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets” further enriches the MBA program, providing specialized knowledge in emerging areas with substantial career potential. The emphasis on business analytics and the expansion of data and digital-related classes have significantly enhanced the MBA program at Columbia Business School, benefiting both current and future students by equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed in today’s data-centric business environment.

Digital Future Initiative

CBS Campus

Columbia Business School has unveiled a dynamic stride towards the future with the inauguration of four groundbreaking research labs under its Digital Future Initiative. These innovative labs serve as convergence points for esteemed faculty and adept practitioners, pooling their expertise to propel the forthcoming wave of technological advancements. Spearheaded by accomplished Columbia Business School faculty members, these labs operate in synergy with a diverse and comprehensive team comprising research scientists, industry fellows, and student researchers. Notably, the labs capitalize on Columbia Business School’s rich tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration, tapping into the reservoir of knowledge spanning engineering, law, policy, and medicine across Columbia University. This multifaceted approach amplifies the labs’ potential and fosters the advancement of ambitious projects, seamlessly knitting academia, industry, and society into a tapestry of progress.

The Briger Family Digital Finance Lab, led by William von Mueffling Professor of Business Ciamac Moallemi, will explore the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), which is changing the core functions of financial markets with novel mechanisms such as automated market makers and collateralized lending pools. Projects will focus on the fundamental economics of blockchains, decentralized market microstructure, and mechanisms for decentralized organization and governance.

The Algorithmic Economy Lab, headed by Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business Omar Besbes, will further the study of data-driven algorithmic decision-making. From personal finance or credit scores to supply chains and employment screening, advanced analytic capabilities are driving important decisions and outcomes in the private and public domains. Projects will explore the various facets of algorithmic decision-making, from the real-world impact they can drive, to the questions of transparency, privacy, and fairness that these processes invite.

The Humans in the Digital Economy Lab, run by James P. Gorman Professor of Business Stephan Meier, will bring together experts from across fields/disciplines to explore how technology and digitalization affect and interact with humans in organizations. Projects will center on aspects of work, such as automation across industries, the composition of the workforce, and the reimagined workplace.

The Media and Technology Program, led by Carson Family Professor of Business Miklos Sarvary and Michael Fries Professor of Managerial Practice Jonathan Knee, recognizes the fundamental overlap between the evolution of media and entertainment and the technological breakthroughs that continue to shape it. The lab will focus on funding and disseminating advanced research on how technology has transformed the media sector and how new challenges associated with this transformation can be addressed. The Program also puts a major emphasis on developing courses and teaching material for the educational programs at CBS.”

Columbia Business School Campus – Kravis Hall

P&Q: Give us your one-minute pitch for your business school. What makes you unique?

Norton: “At Columbia Business School, we’ve been shaping leaders for over a century. What makes us unique? Well, we blend management fundamentals with data science and real-time business intelligence, giving our students unmatched insights in areas like the digital future, entrepreneurship, finance, climate, and more. Our cutting-edge curriculum keeps evolving with the industry, ensuring you get both core concepts and specialized knowledge. Our professors are top-notch, bringing research-based insights and real-world experience to the classroom. Plus, we’re located in the center of global business and our global alumni network of 50,000+ is out there changing the world. So, if you want a business school that’s ahead of the curve and focused on your success, Columbia Business School is the place to be.”

P&Q: What are some key elements in your teaching of leadership? What types of options does your school offer that deepens student experience with leadership and makes them more competitive in the marketplace?

Norton: “Key elements in our teaching of leadership include experiential workshops, personalized coaching, and team-based projects. Additionally, we offer leadership immersion programs and executive mentorship opportunities to enhance students’ competitiveness in the job market. Our courses are taught by award-winning faculty from across disciplines, and our professors bring a combination of research-based insights, theoretical frameworks, and practice-based understanding to the classroom. Our internationally recognized centers, including the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, build on the classroom experience with programs, events, mentorship, networking opportunities, and more.”

Next Page: Profiles of 12 Columbia Business School MBAs

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