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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: J-Term / Alumnus / Off Campus

300px-Columbia_University_01The following is a report from a recent applicant who provided their Columbia MBA admissions interview questions.

I applied for the January term. Application was submitted on October 1st, and I received an interview invite about 3 weeks later. Interview is with an alumnus, and I had to choose from a random list that was sent to me. A list consists of 6 names, and I had to go through two lists before finding someone who was able to fit me into his schedule. In total, it took me about 2-3 weeks to schedule the interview. I would say that this was a longer period of time than average, and I was at a slight disadvantage because of the rolling admissions process as Columbia.

The interview itself went really well. My interviewer graduated from the CBS MBA program in mid-2000’s, and we spoke a lot about how the program has changed since then. The location was supposed to be at a coffee shop, but because of the crowd we actually ended up doing it in the lobby of a hotel. Still, no real issues in terms of distractions, and the interviewer was very polite and apologetic.

Questions were standard: 1) Tell me about yourself, 2) tell me more about your most recent job, 3) explain a gap in your resume, 4) given your experience, it seems you would have come across some ethical dilemmas in x role, tell me about that, 5) why an MBA? 6) why Columbia specifically? 7) what would you do if you don’t get admitted?

After all the general questions, he went on to my hobbies, and we hit it off pretty well as we had similar tastes in books and movies. Once we established some similar interests, things lightened up quickly, and we discussed random things for about 20 additional minutes.

He then ended up asking if I had any questions. I basically kept the questions light, asking him about his background and why he chose Columbia. The interview concluded with him giving me advice on which courses I should take and what I should do if I end up on the waitlist. In total, the interview lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.

Overall, it was a great interview. My biggest piece of advice would be to be prepared for a formal interview, but keep it light and try to find something in common. It’s more of a fit interview, and the interviewer liking you is just as important, if not more, as your credentials.

For more Columbia MBA admissions interview questions, visit our Columbia Interview Archive!

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