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Columbia MBA Interview Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Off-campus

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The following Columbia MBA interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Decision applicant who was admitted. Congratulations to them!

These interview reports have been very helpful and I would like to give back to the community.

My ED interview was in August 2016. I was only given one interviewer to contact and the interview was conducted at the alumnus’s office. Blind interview with résumé only, very conversational. I wore a suit but would have been equally comfortable business casual. Interviewer had a hard stop an hour after our meeting time.

We shared our respective backgrounds. I mirrored interviewers introduction format, which was a brief sentence on background/upbringing, standard walk through résumé, and conclusion with brief sentence on why CBS was next logical step in the context of my introduction. A conversation then started and it seemed like there was no specific list of questions. However, the following standard questions were asked when they fit into the context of our conversation.

Why MBA now? Standard
Why CBS? Standard
Post-MBA goal? Standard
A question about my industry. This resulted in a long conversation and some probing questions, which was fine given this is my industry.
Are you applying to other schools? No, applying ED.
Do you have any questions for me? Standard. Though I had planted questions ready, I asked questions that furthered our conversation.

I had a few overarching themes in my profile I wanted to convey, and was given the opportunity to do so in the course of our conversation. I felt over-prepared (in a good way) and did not explicitly use much of the material (behavioral questions, plan B, etc.) that I had prepared. Other interview reports on Clear Admit show a larger range of questions, so I would imagine this really varies by candidate and interviewer. My guess is that the interviewer got a good sense of my personal characteristics, professional experience and goals through our conversation, and did not feel the need to run down the “formal” list of questions.

Felt a wave of cautious relief after the interview and later received an acceptance.

Timelines are very fast early in the ED period – approximately 3-4 weeks from app to invite, 1-2 weeks from invite to interview date, and 2-3 weeks from interview to decision, and may be on the quicker end of this range the earlier you are.

I think the conclusion here is that unless there is a specific item in your application the school still needs to dig up, the interviewer will just try to find out “if you are someone they want in their section.”

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