Columbia essay questions – Applicants must complete one short answer and three essays:

Short Answer

What is your post-MBA professional goal? (Maximum of 200 characters.)

Examples of possible responses:

“After my MBA I want to build my expertise in the energy sector and learn more about strategy and decision making by joining a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy and power companies.”

“After my MBA I hope to work in business development for a media company that is expanding its market share in Asia.”

“My short term goal is to work with an investment firm that utilizes public private partnerships to invest in community development projects.”


1. Considering your post-MBA and long term professional goals, why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? Additionally, why is Columbia Business School a good fit for you? (Maximum of 750 words.)

2. Describe a life experience that has shaped you. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (Maximum of 500 words.)

3. Essay three has three options (please choose one of the following):

* Option A: The annual A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition is a student initiative managed and run by the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). The competition encourages Columbia MBA students to explore creative entrepreneurial ideas that are sufficiently ambitious in scope and scale to be considered “outrageous.” Students explore these ideas while learning firsthand what goes into the development and presentation of a solid business proposal.

Develop your own “outrageous” business idea. In essay form, compose your “elevator pitch.” (Maximum of 250 words.)

* Option B: Columbia deeply values its vibrant student community, the building of which begins at orientation when admitted students are assigned to clusters of 65 to 70 fellow students who take most of the first-year core classes together. During the first weeks of school, each cluster selects a Cluster Chair. Further strengthening the student community are the over 100 active student organizations at Columbia Business School, ranging from cultural to professional to community service-oriented. Leadership positions within the cluster and/or clubs offer hands-on management and networking opportunities for students as they interact with fellow students, administrators, faculty members, alumni, and practitioners.

You are running for either Cluster Chair or a club leadership position of your choosing. Compose your campaign speech. (Maximum of 250 words.)

* Option C: Founded nearly three decades ago, the Executives in Residence Program at Columbia Business School integrates senior executives into the life of the School. Current executives in residence include more than a dozen experts in areas ranging from media and investment banking to private equity and management. A hallmark of the program is one-on-one counseling sessions in which executives advise students about their prospective career choices.

Select one of the current executives in residence with whom you would like to meet during your time at Columbia. Explain your selection and tell us how you would best utilize your half hour one-on-one session. (Maximum of 250 words.)

An optional fourth essay will enable you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

REAPPLICANTS: Those reapplying one year or less from the date of their previous application need only to submit one new essay:
How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate your short-term and long-term goals. Explain how the tools of the Columbia MBA will help you to meet your goals and how you plan to participate in the Columbia community. (Maximum of 750 words.) This essay should be inserted into the text box designated “Essay 1.”

Application Deadlines:
January 2012 entry – October 5, 2011
August 2012 entry – early decision – October 5, 2011
August 2012 entry – regular decision – April 11, 2012
August 2012 entry – Merit Fellowship Consideration – January 4, 2012

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