Recently Columbia Business School released its online application for the 2010-2011 admissions season. Columbia’s application deadlines and admissions essays are below, followed by our comments, in italics:
Columbia Business School Admissions Deadlines
January 2011 Entry (“J-Term”): October 6, 2010
Early decision: October 6, 2010
Merit fellowship consideration: January 5, 2011
Regular decision: April 13, 2011
These deadlines are virtually the same as last year’s. Note that Columbia’s J-term deadline coincides with Harvard/Stanford/Wharton’s Round 1 deadlines. Also, remember that Columbia uses a rolling admissions schedule, so the only really firm deadline is the April 13 one. However, even though Columbia doesn’t have a traditional Round 1, Round 2, etc., we still recommend against applying at the last minute. Applying as late as March or April means competing for one of the very few seats still open at that point.
Columbia Business School Admissions Essays
What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (750 words)
This question carries over unchanged from last year. It’s the standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that many top MBA programs ask. Where some applicants is in failing to explain why Columbia is the best place for them to earn their MBA, given the school’s culture, academic strengths, ties to certain industries, etc. Yes, Columbia has a big name and proximity to Wall Street. Those strengths are obvious. What else does Columbia offer that you can’t find anywhere else? If you can’t answer this question, then maybe you haven’t done enough research on the school.
Please tell us about yourself and your personal interests. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (500 words)
This question is new this year, and it replaces last year’s question about Columbia’s Master Classes, which included a video prompt that applicants watched before answering the question. It seems as though that question didn’t give the Columbia admissions office what it wanted (i.e., helping them learn more about each applicant), so it replaced that question with one that better helps them get to know you. Note the emphasis on “…rather than what you have achieved professionally.” Don’t be afraid to get a little casual here and show some personality.
(Optional) Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee? (Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.)
As we always advise, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any.
Finally, note that last year’s “team failure” essay is gone, leaving just two mandatory essays. Again, when a school drops an essay it usually isn’t giving the admissions office what it wants. For whatever reason, that essay wasn’t adding enough information on candidates for it to be worth application readers’ time.