The tag line of Columbia Business School (CBS) is “at the very center of business,” a marketing pitch that fits the school very well. MBA candidates say CBS’s New York City location stands out—for the access students have to industry leaders, alumni, notable faculty drawn from the local community, and plentiful opportunities for in-semester internships and experiential learning.
As one of the top-ranked business schools in the United States, Columbia Business School typically draws approximately 6,000 applicants a year for its August- and January-entry programs, with an intended total class size of roughly 750–780 students. MBA candidates want to join the ranks of powerhouse alumni such as famed investor Warren Buffett (MS ’51) and modern-day start-up success Siggi Hilmarsson (MBA ’04), who founded the Siggi’s yogurt brand, now sold in supermarkets globally. Although Columbia Business School is best known for its finance program, more of its graduates entered the consulting field (34.0%) than finance (33.2%) in 2020, and interest in media/technology has soared in recent years, with 7.6% of graduates entering the industry in 2010 and 19.8% in 2020. The five companies that hired the most Columbia Business School graduates in 2020 were McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, Amazon, and Deloitte. Earning a spot in this competitive program requires time, effort, and preparation, and mbaMission offers several resources and services to help you on your application journey.
Columbia Business School Insider’s Guide
Our Columbia Business School Insider’s Guide takes an in-depth look at life as a CBS student. Informed by insights from students, alumni, program representatives, and MBA admissions officers, this robust guide offers detailed descriptions of the school’s location, class size, curriculum, teaching methods, facilities, alumni involvement, and rankings, as well as courses, faculty, and clubs related to the most common career paths for Columbia MBA program graduates. Learn more about CBS’s cluster system, core curriculum, Master Classes, and hybrid teaching method, in addition to the Leadership Lab, the Jerome A. Chazen Institute’s Global Immersion Program classes and Global Study Tours, the famed Value Investing Program, the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise. The Columbia MBA Program Insider’s Guide also discusses opportunities to bond with classmates via such things as CBS Follies and the Fall Ball.
Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2021–2022
Columbia Business School requires its applicants to submit three written essays but provides some level of agency by allowing them to choose from multiple topics for two of the essays. A short-answer goal statement of just 50 words must also be provided. One essay is 500 words and asks applicants to demonstrate that they have a good understanding of their career goals in both the short and the long term and of why an MBA is a crucial step in their professional path. Applicants can then choose two of three prompts for the 250-word essays—one focused on why CBS is a good fit, one on a diversity challenge, and one on a favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with them. Something important to consider when deciding which of these shorter essays to write is how you will showcase who you are beyond the professional realm. Columbia Business School highly values MBA applicants who present a well-rounded view of themselves.
In our MBA essay analysis, we provide in-depth guidance on each of Columbia Business School’s 2021–2022 essay questions:
- Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
- MBA Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)
- MBA Essays 2 and 3: Please respond to two (2) of the three (3) essay questions listed below:
- Option 1: The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a new co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on five essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias, Communicating Across Identities, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Managing Difficult Conversations. Tell us about a time you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)
- Option 2: Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)
- Option 3: Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)
Click here to read our analysis
Columbia Business School MBA Class Profile (Class of 2023)
|MBA Applications Received
||847, divided into 11 clusters
|January-Entry Class Size
||233, divided into three clusters
|August-Entry Class Size
||614, divided into eight clusters
|GMAT Scores (Average)
|GMAT Scores (Range)
|GMAT Scores (Middle 80%):
|Undergraduate GPA (Average)
|Undergraduate GPA (Middle 80%)
|Average Years of Work Experience
|Range of Years of Work Experience (Middle 80%)
|Age Range (Middle 80%)
|Minority of U.S. Origin
Columbia Business School MBA Rankings
The 2020 Poets&Quants national ranking placed the Columbia MBA program at number seven, unchanged from the previous two years, and Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the school sixth domestically in 2021, up three spots from its 2019 position (Bloomberg Businessweek suspended its MBA rankings in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic). In the 2020 Financial Times rankings, Columbia Business School was ranked fifth in the United States, up from sixth the previous year, and rose one spot to eighth internationally. In The Economist’s 2019 survey, CBS ranked 12th in the United States and 15th globally—down three and five spots, respectively, from the previous year. In the 2022 U.S. News & World Report survey, the school tied with Berkeley Haas at seventh after ranking at eighth the previous year, and was ranked fourth in the following specialty areas: executive MBA, finance, and real estate.
Columbia Business School MBA Deadlines (2021–2022 Application Season)
Early Decision/January Term
October 6, 2021
Rolling admission for entire cycle,
with an end date of April 8, 2022
Apply by January 5, 2022,
to be considered for merit-based fellowships