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.
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 $118,777 per year; this includes budgeted living expenses.
How hard is it to get into Columbia’s MBA program?
The acceptance rate for Columbia is 19%. 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 729.
What is the average GMAT score for admission to Columbia’s MBA program?
The average GMAT score for the incoming class at Columbia is 729. The 80% GMAT range is 700 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 median starting salary for graduates of the Columbia MBA program?
The median starting salary for Columbia MBA graduates is $150,000. 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 for August 2022 entry is October 6, 2021. The Regular Decision deadline for August 2022 entry is April 8, 2022. The Regular Decision deadline for January 2022 entry is October 6, 2021.
What percent of Columbia MBA students are women?
The percentage of the class at Columbia that are women is 41%.
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.
The Columbia MBA: Community and Connections
If you’re interested in coming to a community with the opportunity to make an impact, get involved outside the classroom, and receive a world-class education, Columbia Business School is the place for you. Explore why the MBA Program and how it feels to be at the very center of business.
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.
The Class Profile
CBS accepted just over 19% of applicants to the Class of 2023. They received 6,535 applications combined for their August and January entry terms, and admitted 1,215 candidates. 847 students ultimately enrolled in the CBS MBA program—233 in January and 614 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 2021 entrants reported on average a GMAT score of 729 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5. As undergraduates, 37% of the class majored in business, while 18% pursued degrees in economics and 15% 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 31% of the class, making financial services the most represented industry, while 22% of the Class of 2023 was previously in the consulting industry.
Women make up 41% of the Class of 2023, and 40% of students identify as U.S. minorities. Forty-eight percent of students are international citizens.
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, a recommendation letter, 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.
Essay Topic Analysis
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 2021-2022 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 […]
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 […]
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumni / Virtual
Pretty standard small talk & intros for first 5 minutes. Talk me through your resume. Why do you want an MBA and why from Columbia? What are your short-term and long-term career goals? What is your backup plan if those goals don’t work out? How do you think you’ll contribute to the culture at Columbia? […]
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Zoom
Interviewed 11/5. Interview was blind, although I had sent over my resume ahead of time. Questions: – Tell me about yourself / walk me through your resume. – Why an MBA – which flowed naturally into Why Columbia. – What does your team structure look like at work? – What are top leadership qualities you […]
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Virtual
Pretty conversational Alum was senior – Class of 2008 Standard questions resume based. Tell me about yourself. Few questions on career achievements. Few on Extra curriculars. Why MBA? Why Columbia? Why now? It was very 2 way. Lots of opportunity to ask about the interviewer’s Bschool experience.
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Deferred Enrollment / First-Year Student / Zoom
30-minute blind interview with a first-year student. It was fairly casual and more like a conversation. The three questions were: 1. Tell me about yourself/Walk me through your resume. 2. What are you short-term and long-term goals? 3. Why Columbia/Why NYC?
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Alum / Skype
Resume-based alumni interview. Very straightforward and interviewer was friendly. Standard questions (Why CBS, why MBA, why now, leadership examples) were asked. No surprises. Seemed like an overall assessment of fit, so I prioritized building a solid relationship with the alum throughout the interview.
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Alumnus / Zoom
I was emailed with the interview invitation and matched with someone based on location. I matched with an alum from the Class of 2020. It was meant to be a blind interview, meaning that it was resume-based and he had not seen my application. I set up the meeting on Zoom once we locked down […]
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Rolling / Alumna / Zoom
Really great experience. Columbia sent an interview invite via email and you get matched with your alumnus via their portal. After you are matched with someone (it seems to be by city and by industry you work in), it is on you to set it up by reaching out to them via email. I reached […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Rolling Admissions / Alumni / Zoom
Interview lasted shorter than expected – I shared a copy of my resume prior to our meeting, but it seemed like he never read my resume. Right off the back he started with a comment saying, he interviewed 3 applicants during this admissions cycle and they have all been admitted so that was a nice […]
CBS MBA Interview & Report: Extended Round / Adcom / Skype
My interview was with an admissions director via a CBS platform where you could do a video chat. The interview was relaxed, the interviewer was nice and towards the end the interview felt more like a conversation. 1. Tell me about yourself. 2. Why MBA and why CBS? 3. Is there anything else apart from […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Second-Year Student / Virtual
Roughly 45-minute virtual interview with a current student (Hermes Society Member). Ended up lasting an hour as I hit it off with my interviewer and we spent extra time chatting about NYC, student clubs, ect. Atmosphere was relaxed and conversational. My interviewer was friendly and I could sense her passion for Columbia. I found it […]
Admissions Director Q&A: Emily French Thomas of Columbia Business School
We are excited to kick off our annual Admissions Director Q&A series, in which MBA admissions directors shed light on their program’s application process, essays and more. To start the 2021-2022 round of exclusive Q&As, we welcome Columbia Business School’s Director of Admissions Emily French Thomas. Emily has been a proud member of the Columbia […]
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 […]
Columbia LiveWire and DecisionWire
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, called academic divisions, such as accounting, finance or 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 11 dual-degree tracks, including the three-year JD/MBA program through CBS and Columbia Law School.
Decision, Risk, and Operations
Degree Offerings at Columbia
Full-time MBA Program
Executive MBA Programs
New York, Americas, Europe, Asia
Architecture, Dental and Oral Surgery, Engineering and Applied Science, International and Public Affairs, Journalism, Law, Nursing, Physicians and Surgeons, Public Health, Social Work, Teachers College
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.
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.
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.
Ninety percent of the Class of 2020 had received job offers and 87% 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 $70,000 to $375,000. Approximately 33% of the class joined the financial services industry, with 15% of graduates taking roles in investment banking. Consulting employed a similarly high percentage of graduates by industry at 34% percent, followed by media and non-health technology at just under 20%. Approximately 4% of the class chose positions in healthcare.
Of 2020 graduates, about 32% selected financial services roles and 37% accepted consulting roles. Marketing and management functions were undertaken by approximately 11% of graduates each.
Tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year totals $77,376. The cost of the year, however, is placed at $118,777 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 2021 – 2022
- Tuition $77,376
- Mandatory fees $3,797
- Health services and insurance $5,138
- Books and supplies $398
- Room and board $24,822
- Personal expenses $6,246
- Total $118,777
Recent Columbia News
Submit a CBS, Chicago Booth, HBS, INSEAD, or UPenn Wharton Interview Report – Receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card
If you’re interested in sharing your MBA interview experience, we are awarding a $10 Amazon gift certificate to each applicant who submits an MBA interview report for CBS, Chicago Booth, HBS, INSEA
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumni / Virtual
Pretty standard small talk & intros for first 5 minutes. Talk me through your resume. Why do you want an MBA and why from Columbia? What are your short-term and long-term career goals? What is you
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CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Virtual
Pretty conversational Alum was senior – Class of 2008 Standard questions resume based. Tell me about yourself. Few questions on career achievements. Few on Extra curriculars. Why MBA? Why Columb
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