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Columbia Business School

globalization at Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School (CBS) is part of Columbia University’s campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City. CBS provides a full-time, two-year MBA program that gives students the option of enrolling in either August or January, as well as an Executive MBA Program. Columbia MBA students enjoy the school’s location in New York City, one of the U.S.’s primary financial centers. They also receive especially strong training in finance, based in part on such customized, practical programs as the rigorous Value Investing Program for second-year students.

columbia mba finance


What is the tuition for Columbia’s MBA program?

The tuition for Columbia’s MBA program is $77,376 per year. The total cost of the Columbia MBA program is $117,633 per year; this includes budgeted living expenses.

How hard is it to get into Columbia’s MBA program?

The acceptance rate for Columbia is just over 16%. It is important to consider the acceptance rate in the context of the student profile of those who are admitted. For example, the average GMAT score is 726.

What is the average GMAT score for admission to Columbia’s MBA program?

The average GMAT score for the incoming class at Columbia is 726. The 80% GMAT range is 690 to 760.

Does the Columbia MBA program accept the GRE?

Yes. The Columbia MBA program has accepted the GRE for a few years now.

What is the average GRE score for admission to Columbia’s MBA program?

Columbia does not publish an average GRE score for its incoming class, but does accept the GRE for admissions.

What is the minimum number of years of work experience required for admission to Columbia’s MBA program?

Columbia’s minimum number of years of work experience is at least 1 year of work experience; 99% of the incoming class had at least 1 year of work experience.

What is the average number of years of work experience for admission to Columbia’s MBA program? (or, What is the average age of a Columbia student?)

The average number of years of work experience among students in Columbia’s MBA program is 5.

What is the average starting salary for graduates of the Columbia MBA program?

The average starting salary for Columbia MBA graduates is $150,000 (median salary). The salary will vary by industry, with consulting and finance jobs generally commanding the higher salaries.

How long is Columbia’s full-time MBA program?

Columbia offers a traditional two-year MBA program. They also offer a 15-month option, that begins in January, known as J-Term.

What are the application deadlines for Columbia’s MBA program?

Columbia’s Early Decision deadline is October 2, 2020. The Regular Decision deadline for their rolling admissions process is April 9, 2021.

What percent of Columbia MBA students are women?

The percentage of the class at Columbia that are women is 40%.

What type of interview does Columbia use for MBA admissions?

Columbia offers interviews by invitation. The interviews are resume-based. This means the interviewer has not had access to the application materials.


Advice to a New MBA: Networks Are Forever

Cultivating and sustaining relationships is a vital part of a new grad's career trajectory, says Vishal Bakshi ’00, member of the Chazen Insitute's India Business Initiative Advisory Board and CEO and Managing Partner of Avatar Growth Capital Partners in Mumbai.

Columbia Business School – Deferred Enrollment Program

The Deferred Enrollment Program offers undergraduate and direct master’s students the opportunity to apply to Columbia’s highly selective MBA program while still in school. Students then have the flexibility to begin the full-time program in two to five years to first gain foundational work experience. Hear from our community on what they have to say about Columbia Business School. To learn more, visit


The Class Profile

CBS accepted just over 16% of applicants to the Class of 2022. They received 6,971 applications combined for their August and January entry terms, and admitted 1,130 candidates. 782 students ultimately enrolled in the CBS MBA program—211 in January and 571 in August. The class profile information below covers both entries.

Eighty percent of students in the class were 25 to 31 years old at the time of matriculation, and 2020 entrants reported on average a GMAT score of 726 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.6. As undergraduates, 29% of the class majored in business, while 20% pursued degrees in economics and 17% studied engineering. Students also averaged five years of prior work experience, and 99% had at least one year of full-time work experience. Those with professional backgrounds in finance constitute 30% of the class, making financial services the most represented industry, while 23% of the Class of 2022 was previously in the consulting industry.

Women make up 40% of the Class of 2022, and 33% of students identify as U.S. minorities.  Forty-four percent of students are international citizens.

Application Procedures

Prospective CBS students can apply either early decision or on a rolling basis, with a final application deadline in April. J-Term applicants must apply by early October; those targeting consideration for merit fellowships should apply by January. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and submit transcripts from each academic institution attended, and beginning in the 2013-2014 admissions cycle, GPAs should be reported in whichever scale is used on candidates’ transcripts. Applicants must also submit their GMAT/GRE/Executive Assessment scores, TOEFL or PTE scores if applicable, essays, two recommendation letters, a résumé, a CBS application form and an application fee of $250. Interviews are only available by invitation from CBS and can be issued at any time following the Admissions Office’s receipt of materials. Interviews are usually conducted near an applicant’s location by an alumnus or offered via Skype with a current MBA student.

Application Checklist

  • GPA
  • GMAT/GRE/Executive Assessment/TOEFL score(s)
  • Transcripts
  • Résumé
  • Essays
  • Recommendations
  • Application Fee
  • Interview

Essay Topic Analysis

Need help with your essays? Get our experts' advice.

Columbia MBA Essay Questions & Analysis

The following analysis examines the admissions essays for Columbia Business School. The Columbia MBA essay questions below are for the 2020-2021 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays. Columbia MBA Essay Questions & Analysis […]

Recommendation Questions

Find out what top MBA programs ask recommenders.

Columbia MBA Recommendation Questions

Columbia Business School’s early decision and regular decision online applications are live, meaning that the Columbia MBA recommendation questions are now available. Columbia’s recommendation for is rather streamlined compared to that of other leading MBA programs. The recommendation form requests that recommenders indicate whether they have an MBA, and asks that they address two prompts in the […]

Interview Reports

CBS Interview Questions & Report: Deferred Program / Adcom / Online

Went well. Very focused on undergrad experience and why I made the decisions I did. Classic Why MBA and Why Columbia questions. Hoping for good news.

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Off-Campus

My interviewer was a BCG consultant and I interviewed at his office after a full-day campus interview. I can tell he was pretty tired. He took lots of notes during the interview. Questions were mainly about my career aspirations and how to achieve these goals. Only one behavioral question regarding my leadership story. The whole […]

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Off-campus, LA (Alum’s Office)

Blind interview – interviewer requested resume a few days in advance. Recent alum, Class of 2018. Very warm and friendly, felt like I had really lucked out. Asked typical behavioral questions one would expect, tone was very conversational and she seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and my goals. Questions: – Walk […]

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Alum / Off-Campus

I have often heard that alum interviews can be tricky, and boy this one was. My interviewer was from the metals and mining industry, and had very little context on the industries I had spent time on (Consulting and PE). As a result, he got lost trying to understand my industries rather than understanding my […]

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Off-Campus

My alum was a much older and experienced one, looking at his profile I was quote intimidated going into the interview. He suggested we meet on a Sunday morning at 8AM at a local coffee shop. I was dressed quite formally and he showed up in jeans and a suit jacket. My interview was definitely […]

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Alum / Off-Campus

My interview was with an alumnus from the batch of 1972. The alumnus was now retired after a very illustrious career where he led business divisions for large conglomerates. I didn’t expect I’ll get a chance to interview with someone as senior, and so when the interview got scheduled I didn’t know what to expect. […]

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Off-Campus

Fairly straightforward. Interviewer was friendly, 10+ year alum, interview took place in the co-working space he uses. I had sent him my resume when I emailed to schedule the interview, and he had it printed (though I had also brought a copy with me). His main focus seemed to be understanding my story – where […]

Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Off-Campus

I met the alumni interviewer at a local Starbucks on a weeknight evening. He was running pretty late so we ended up meeting 15-30 minutes after the planned start time. I’d reached out to him earlier over email to introduce myself and schedule the interview, and he told me we’d have a conversation around 3 […]

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Off-Campus

Interview was very casual. He introduced himself and then asked me to introduce myself. He had gone through my resume in advance and asked some particular questions about my schooling. Below is an overview of some questions he asked. 1. What is the most difficult experience you have been through? 2. What will you do […]

Columbia Business School Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumni / Off-campus

Met at a WeWork. Older alumnus (maybe late 30s, early 40s). Very nice, but also switched into professional mode. Questions: Walk me through your resume. Asked specific question on why I had chosen my double major. Why MBA? Why now? Why Columbia? Worst case scenario, if don’t get into grad school, what’s alternative plan? What […]

Columbia Q&As

Admissions Director Q&A: Emily Thomas of Columbia Business School

Imagine having New York City as your b-school campus—and that being just one of many hallmarks of your MBA experience. Columbia Business School, located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City, may be the place for you. Director of Admissions, Emily Thomas, is here to talk all about the leading MBA program in […]

Episode 81: Admissions Director Q&A with Columbia Business School’s Michael Robinson

Special guest Michael Robinson, Director of MBA Admissions at Columbia Business School (CBS), joins us for a podcast episode that will cover everything you want to know about the leading MBA program. Robinson was an entrepreneur, running a music publicity firm, prior to becoming a member of the CBS MBA Class of 2001. He then joined […]

Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Columbia Business School’s Michael Robinson

After a brief hiatus we are delighted to resume our Real Humans of MBA Admissions series this week with an interview with Michael Robinson, director of MBA admissions at Columbia Business School (CBS). A 2001 CBS alumus himself, Robinson returned to work in admissions at the school in 2002, after a brief stint in business […]




Mailing Address:
Columbia University Admissions Office
4th Floor Armstrong
3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 1-212-854-5553
Fax: 1-212-662-6754
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ColumbiaMBA

Columbia LiveWire and DecisionWire

MBA LiveWire for Columbia

Application results in real time, submitted by site visitors.
October 24, 2020 3:30pm
Interview Invite via email.
GPA: 3.2. GMAT: 760. New York.
October 24, 2020 3:25pm
Interview Invite via portal.
GPA: 3.6. GMAT: 700. LS.
October 24, 2020 7:01am
Interview Invite via email.
GMAT: 710. London UK.
October 24, 2020 4:37am
Interview Invite via email.
GPA: 3.6. GMAT: 770. S.Korea.
October 24, 2020 2:09am
Interview Invite via email.
GPA: 8.1/10. GMAT: 740. India.

MBA DecisionWire for Columbia

Enrolled: Columbia
Admitted: Columbia, Northwestern / Kellogg
GRE: 317 GPA: 3.7
Post-MBA Career: Consumer Goods
Enrolled: MIT Sloan
Admitted: Columbia, Dartmouth / Tuck, MIT Sloan, Northwestern / Kellogg, UPenn / Wharton, Yale SOM
GRE: 320 GPA: 3.9
Post-MBA Career: Consulting
Enrolled: Columbia
Admitted: U. Chicago Booth, Columbia, Yale SOM
GMAT: 760
Post-MBA Career: Technology
Enrolled: UPenn / Wharton
Admitted: Columbia, Michigan / Ross, NYU Stern, UCLA Anderson, UPenn / Wharton, USC / Marshall
GMAT: 730 GPA: 3.6
Post-MBA Career: Consulting
Enrolled: MIT Sloan
Admitted: U. Chicago Booth, Columbia, MIT Sloan
GRE: 330 GPA: 3.75
Post-MBA Career: Undecided



CBS employs about 150 full-time faculty members to teach students across eight academic divisions and 28 special programs, centers and institutes. Columbia’s Executives in Residence features retired industry leaders elected to one-year teaching terms at CBS. Adjunct professors also lead a selection of classes each year.


Columbia Business School’s MBA program exposes students to a versatile range of lecture-, case- and project-based learning and offers students a high level of flexibility. Admitted students are divided into clusters of 65 to 70 people that take most of their core classes together in their first year. Each cluster is further sectioned into learning teams of about five students, who tackle many core course assignments as a group.

Classes at CBS follow a semester system, with three semesters—Spring, Summer and Fall—in each academic year.  Following a weeklong orientation period for first-year students matriculating in the fall, Fall Semester courses begin in late August and run through mid-December. There is then another orientation in early January for students who choose the “J-Term” option that allows them to enter the MBA program in Spring Semester. Spring courses begin for all MBA students in late January and last until mid-May. During Summer Semester, which runs from late May to mid-August, students who entered in the fall complete internships while J-Term students take classes. All students then complete the following Fall and Spring Semesters together, with commencement taking place in mid-May. Columbia does not offer any kind of pre-term academic refresher for incoming students, but instead incorporates opportunities for students to get up to speed on key business areas during orientation.

CBS’s full-term courses span a semester and are worth three credits apiece, while half-term courses are correspondingly worth 1.5 credits each. The full-time MBA program requires students to earn 60 credits in order to graduate, a condition students generally fulfill by undertaking 15 credits each semester. Columbia provides students with a structured core curriculum that includes two full-term courses and eight half-term courses, though students may choose three half-term courses from a “flex-core” section of Columbia’s offerings.

The school’s schedule is structured so that students complete their core curriculum across their first two semesters. Prior to the start of each semester, CBS offers exemption exams that allow students who pass to trade their core courses for electives. All students are given three slots for full-term electives beginning in their second semester. The second year of the MBA consists entirely of electives.

While students do not have the option of selecting a major at CBS, MBA students can choose to focus their studies in one of 15 predetermined areas, such as accounting, leadership and ethics, or finance and economics. One notable example of the school’s numerous special programs is the Master Classes, which are industry-focused electives that give second-year students firsthand experience in evaluating real-world problems alongside industry leaders. Students can also study abroad through Global Study Tours or CBS’s Chazen Global Immersion Program, which gives second-year students the chance to spend a semester studying at one of 20 international partner programs or the Haas School of Business in California.

Other MBA Degree Options

Aside from the full-time MBA program, CBS offers an Executive MBA Program in New York, an EMBA-Global Americas and Europe program with London Business School, and an EMBA-Global Asia program with London Business School and the University of Hong Kong. Full-time MBA students may also pursue one of 10 dual-degree tracks, including the three-year JD/MBA program through CBS and Columbia Law School.

Career-focused Paths

Decision, Risk, and Operations
Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management
Leadership and Ethics
Media and Technology
Private Equity
Real Estate
Retail and Luxury Goods
Social Enterprise
Value Investing

Degree Offerings at Columbia

Full-time MBA Program

Executive MBA Programs
New York, Americas, Europe, Asia

Dual Degrees
Architecture, Dental and Oral Surgery, Engineering and Applied Science, International and Public Affairs, Journalism, Law, Nursing, Physicians and Surgeons, Public Health, Social Work

Campus Life

Clubs, Conferences & Competitions

More than 100 student organizations contribute to CBS’s engaged extracurricular community. CBS builds “Club Time” into students’ schedules twice weekly to facilitate deeper involvement with these social, professional and affinity- and service-oriented student groups. Student clubs organize events and projects ranging from happy hours and galas to the Harlem Tutorial Program. CBS students are also afforded opportunities for involvement in student government through organizations such as the Bernstein Leadership and Ethics Board, the Career Fellows and the Honor Board. In addition, MBA students spearhead many of CBS’s conferences. Some examples include the Private Equity & Venture Capital Conference, the Social Enterprise Conference, the Black Business Students Association Annual Conference, and the Columbia Women in Business Conference.

CBS provides students with further avenues to practically hone their business skills through competitions. For example, the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization runs the yearly Shark Tank Competition that tests the entrepreneurial creativity and viability of students’ business plans. Other competitions open to CBS students include international and regional competitions such as the American Bankruptcy Institute Corporate Restructuring Competition.

Campus Spaces

Uris Hall is one of CBS’s key buildings and has its origins in Columbia University’s move to the Morningside campus in the late 1800s, though it has been renovated many times since its original construction; it now houses many faculty and administrative offices. Nearby Warren Hall also houses CBS’s main facilities. Since September 2008, construction has been underway for a new Manhattanville campus that will contribute two new buildings to CBS, along with bolstered connections between the school and the broader Columbia community. While buildings began to open in the spring of 2017, the business school is expected to occupy space by 2021. Columbia offers limited University-owned apartments, and CBS reports that many students choose to independently find off-campus housing.

MBA Careers

Career Services

The CBS Career Management Center equips MBA students with many resources to secure employment after business school. Students can undertake one-on-one advising sessions or attend workshops, clinics, seminars and panels organized by the center. Furthermore, the newly established Columbia Career Network connects students with alumni mentors with shared interests and hosts both on- and off-campus events to engage alumni with current CBS students. Representatives of corporations are also brought to campus to give presentations on their firms, take part in panel discussions and recruit CBS students for post-MBA roles. At least 400 firms are represented each year by recruiters. On-campus interviews for full-time time positions begin in October, while those for summer internships begin in January.

Career Statistics

Ninety-four percent of the Class of 2019 had received job offers and 90% had accepted a position by three months after graduation, a figure that does not include the percentage of students starting a new business or returning to their previous employers.  The median starting salary reported for graduates was $150,000 in a range from $45,000 to $375,000. Approximately 34% of the class joined the financial services industry, with about 14% of graduates taking roles in investment banking. Consulting employed a similarly high percentage of graduates by industry at roughly 33% percent, followed by media and non-health technology at just under 14%.  Approximately 4% of the class chose positions in real estate.

Of 2019 graduates, about 38% selected financial services roles and 35% accepted consulting roles. Marketing and management functions were undertaken by approximately 10% of graduates each.


Tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year totals $77,376.  The cost of the year, however, is placed at $117,633 for first-years to account for additional costs such as other mandatory fees, healthcare, books and supplies, room and board, and personal expenses.  CBS also notes that students could encounter additional costs due to study tours and optional activity fees.  The school offers resources for non-U.S. citizens needing special authorization for billing through the International Students and Scholars Office, and the Student Financial Services Office offers loan information for U.S. and international students.  Accepted students are automatically considered for fellowships—only first-years entering in August are eligible for need-based fellowships that year—and a separate application is required for students seeking need- or merit-based scholarships.

Program Tuition 2020 – 2021

  • Tuition $77,376
  • Mandatory fees $3,973
  • Health services and insurance $4,896
  • Books and supplies $320
  • Room and board $24,822
  • Personal expenses $6,246
  • Total $117,633

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