Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2025

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

P&Q: Sustainability has emerged as a major attraction to prospective MBA students. How does your full-time MBA program integrate sustainability across its curriculum?

Norton: “Climate and sustainability are integrated throughout our full-time MBA curriculum, with dedicated courses on sustainable business practices and their impact on the global economy. We encourage students to develop solutions that prioritize environmental and social responsibility. The following are some key areas where we are weaving in sustainability throughout our programs and within the university:

* Research: We are generating new insights and research on climate solutions, corporate climate change initiatives, prediction markets, carbon reduction pledges, consumer psychology and behavioral nudging, and clean growth and climate change.

* Curricular innovations: We have expanded the breadth and depth of the climate and business program with three new courses. Our climate focused courses include “Climate Finance,” “Climate Policy,” “Climate Change and the Energy Transition,” “Measuring and Managing Climate Risk,” and “Climate Tech,” alongside courses dedicated to ESG, impact investing, sustainable marketing, and project finance.

* Case studies: Case studies that expose the disruption, challenges, and opportunities due to climate change have been incorporated into the core curriculum through distinct topics, such as retail and sustainability, marketing and greenwashing, externalities, and DCF analysis of renewable energy projects.

* Manhattanville Campus: Our new Manhattanville campus received the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification for our use of sustainable construction and design elements and our MBA and EMBA programs have transitioned to being paper-free, eliminating 20 tons of printed paper per year.

* Across Columbia University: We’ve placed an incredible emphasis on climate across Columbia University at large, including the formation of the Climate School and our involvement in LEAP.”

CBS MBA Students

P&Q: Two years ago, P&Q asked you to share how you’ve integrated AI, STEM, analytics, and digital disruption into your programming. Since then, what types of enhancements have you made in these areas?

Norton: “Over the past two years, we have further integrated AI, STEM, analytics, and digital disruption by launching specialized certificate programs, creating state-of-the-art labs, and collaborating with industry leaders to offer cutting-edge workshops for students. We’ve added new classes in these fields, including: “Real Estate Analytics,” “Blockchain Markets Infrastructure and Uses,” and “Regulatory and Legal Matters on Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets.” Additionally, Columbia Business School launched four new research labs as part of our Digital Future Initiative that will bring together leading faculty and practitioners to help organizations, governments, and communities optimize and accelerate the technological advances of the future.

We also launched our new Dual MBA/Executive MS: Engineering & Applied Science program with Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). The dual degree program equips students with both the management skills and the science and technology core that enables them to move seamlessly from the classroom to product development to large-scale innovation—and ultimately help create and grow companies and drive change.

We are welcoming our first class this year. They represent 13 countries, have studied engineering, math, economics, computer science, and more, and have worked in a variety of different sectors and fields, including technology, healthcare/biotech, fintech, green business, consulting, engineering, and more.”

CBS Campus

P&Q: How many courses outside the business school can MBAs take during your program? To what extent has your business school embraced coursework from other schools and departments at your university? Are students from other schools and departments at the university allowed to take MBA electives?

Norton: “MBA students can take graduate courses in other Columbia schools to compliment the Columbia Business School MBA course offerings. Up to 6 credits from other graduate programs can be applied toward MBA degree requirements. MBA students often pursue classes at the Law School or the School of International and Public Affairs, but MBA students have also pursued courses in the arts in recent years including cooking, poetry, and dance classes. The business school partners with other schools to offer interdisciplinary, experiential-learning courses. One example is the “Healthcare Management, Design, and Strategy” course that pairs MBA students with medical students who work on a set of real-world, company-sponsored projects. Students at other Columbia graduate schools can request seats in MBA courses and are permitted to join when space permits.

We also have a variety of dual degree programs, including our Dual MBA/Executive MS: Engineering & Applied Science program, which is welcoming its first class of students this fall.”

P&Q: What is your biggest student-run event of the year and what does it reflect about your school?

Norton: “The biggest student-run events of the year are the Fall Ball and Spring Gala hosted by the Student Government Executive Board. With over a thousand attendees each, they reflect how meaningful community is at CBS. Our students care deeply about making meaningful connections with one another beyond the classroom and the professional space.”

Columbia MBA Students


1) Leadership Development: “CBS’ emphasis on leadership development led me to choose Columbia for my MBA. I am a leader. I’ve held leadership roles on sports teams, in extracurriculars, and in my most recent professional role. Due to these experiences, I strongly believe that leadership development is incredibly important. Through the application and outreach process, I learned that CBS shares that same belief. As first years, we begin orientation with LEAD, a leadership development course, and we’re encouraged to continue that development with other courses and by engaging with the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics. Personally, I’m excited to take courses, such as Power & Influence and The Leader’s Voice: Communication Skills for Leading Organizations, to further develop my leadership skills.”
Harleigh Bean (’25)

2) Healthcare:A key reason that I chose Columbia Business School is its top-tier healthcare program. Columbia’s Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program stands out by offering students opportunities for one-on-one coaching with industry experts through its Healthcare Mentorship Program. This extensive curriculum is taught by seasoned industry leaders including courses at other Columbia graduate schools, and various industry events and roundtables that provide learning beyond the classroom, such as the Healthcare Leadership Series. Moreover, I have also heard from alumni and current students that the student-run Healthcare Industry Association does a fantastic job of organizing educational, networking, and recruiting events to complement the HPM program.”
Zoe Mattana (’25)

3) Social Enterprise: “The organization that excites me the most at CBS is the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise. Co-directed by professors Bruce Usher and Dan Wang, the Tamer Center strives to leverage business practices, research, and economic resources to impact the world of social enterprise. Through this initiative, I hope to become involved in opportunities to provide financing to venture startups in the climate start-up industry, partake in research on financing clean energy projects, and contribute to the Three Cairns Fellows program to support initiatives on the intersection of business and climate.”
Nicholas Bilcheck (’25)

4) CBS Follies: “Among the many CBS traditions, Follies is my favorite. At the end of each semester, our classmates put on a show featuring choreographed dance performances and humorous skits filled with inside jokes that capture the unique culture of CBS.”
Ijeoma Chimeze (’23)

5) CBS Matters: “At Columbia, we have something very special called “CBS Matters,” a tradition that allows students to share their story: what shaped them, what brought them to business school, and why CBS matters to them. Presenting students invite family, friends, faculty, and beyond, and share in whichever manner they wish. I’ve seen crisp PowerPoints, photo-dumps, video content, and stories expressed through song – there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is personal, intimate, and serves as a powerful reminder that we are not alone and never will be. I will forever cherish the memory of the day I shared mine.”
Sean Conley (’23)

Columbia Business School Interior


“It was ultimately helpful to me to really know why I was going back to get an MBA. I’ve applied to graduate school several times – I think this time it stuck because I had enough time and experience to really understand – in specifics – what I want to do in my career and what exactly I’m going back to school to do and learn. Plus, I finally had the confidence to say out loud (in my apps) that I’m interested in industries – tech, VC – that are historically very male, and not accessible to people with a policy and nonprofit background. So, my advice is to know what you want, to be specific, and to really go for it!”
Isabella Todaro (’25)

“My advice would be to trust the process. If Columbia Business School is your destined path, you’ll find your way. Connect with alumni and current students to align experiences. It’s essential to really know the school and all it has to offer – do thorough research, go to networking events, and beyond all – don’t be afraid to be your true and authentic self. Put your best foot forward, and remember, what’s meant for you won’t miss you – you’ll land exactly where you’re meant to be.”
Taania Khan (’25)

“I think what set me apart during the application process was being intentional from the start. I gathered insights from various sources such as admissions, professors, current students, and alumni, and integrated them into my application in a unique and authentic way. I had a clear understanding of my purpose, the impact I wanted to make, and how I planned to utilize my two years at the school. Lastly, I made sure to effectively and authentically communicate my goals, highlighting my proven track record as a changemaker and innovator, as well as my intrinsic values and skill sets that would enable me to create an impact at the school.”
Ijeoma Chimeze (’23)

MBA Student Hometown Undergraduate Alma Mater Last Employer
Zeynep Alraqeb Cologne, Germany University of Cologne German Federal Bank
Harleigh Bean Upper Marlboro, MD Washington and Lee University Office of Steny H. Hoyer (Maryland’s 5th District)
Jose Antonio Alonso Beckmann Mexico City, Mexico Universidad Iberoamericana Celosa Tequila
Nicholas Bilcheck Milford, CT Bucknell University Efficio Consulting
Uvika Chaturvedi New Delhi, India Purdue University TRST
Natasha Khan Bay Area, CA Hofstra University Khancept / TriValley Real Estate Group
Taania Khan Bay Area, CA Hofstra University Khancept
Lanier Mason Hempstead, NY Molloy University Ernst & Young
Zoe Mattana Demarest, NJ Tulane University Lumia Dental
Taiye Opabunmi Ibadan, Nigeria University of Ibadan Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Paige Prieto Flower Mound, TX Baylor University United States Air Force
Isabella Todaro Chesterland, OH Georgetown University Climate Neutral

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