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Real Humans of the Columbia Business School MBA Class of 2019

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As first-year MBA students at Columbia Business School (CBS) finish up their finals and head off to their summer internships, we’re excited to feature a handful of the MBA Class of 2019 reflecting on what led them to choose CBS for business school and how their experience so far has met—or exceeded—their expectations.

Though still in Uris Hall on the main Columbia University campus, CBS will occupy state-of-the-art facilities as part of the Manhattanville campus currently under construction a little farther uptown within the next few years. But even with its new home still a few years into the future, CBS has no problem attracting leading business school applicants from around the globe. Strategically branding itself as the business school “at the very center of business,” CBS’s New York City location makes it an ideal launch pad for students seeking careers in finance on Wall Street.

But in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, CBS also clearly demonstrated that it is far from a one-trick pony. Though the largest slice of the most recent graduating class—36.9 percent—did still head into finance, that’s down sharply from before the 2008 crash, when investment banking regularly lured a full half of the class or more. Today, consulting is a close runner up, attracting 33.1 percent of the Class of 2017. And the fast-growing startup and tech scene has also become a huge pull.

And just as job opportunities beyond the MBA are widely varied thanks to CBS’s New York City location, so, too, are the opportunities current students can take advantage of. The CBS curriculum includes more than 200 electives, including many that feature heads of industry visiting the classroom and sharing their expertise. Internship opportunities are also vast—and many CBS students complement traditional summer internships with school-year stints at nearby firms to get even more real-time experience because they can.

A More Selective Class Is Also More Diverse
The 753 students in the CBS MBA Class of 2019 were culled from 6,188 applicants, representing a 1 percent uptick in applicant volume over last year and an 11.4 percent increase over five years ago. That places Columbia among the most selective business schools in the world, accepting a mere 16.5 percent of applicants seeking a place in this most recent class. Although we should note that the class size did fall year over year, from 776 to 753.

As you might imagine, Columbia’s increasing selectivity means that average stats for admitted students are harder than ever to beat. The average GMAT score for the Class of 2018 was 724, and the average undergraduate GPA was 3.5.

These rising stats, though, have certainly not had a dampening effect on diversity within the class. Quite the contrary. With women making up 41 percent of the class, minority U.S. students, 34 percent, and international citizens, 43 percent, Columbia is in line with other M7 schools in terms of bringing together individuals from widely varied backgrounds to learn from each other.

Today’s Real Humans of the CBS School MBA Class of 2019 captures some of the dynamism and variety that makes the school special. Read on to hear from five top students—from a range of backgrounds pursuing equally varied post-MBA career paths—on why CBS was right for them.