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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 $74,400 per year. The total cost of the Columbia MBA program is $110,978 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 732.

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

The average GMAT score for the incoming class at Columbia is 732. The GMAT range is 530 to 790.

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%.

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. The average age of a Columbia MBA student is 28 years.

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

The average starting salary for Columbia MBA graduates is $130,000 (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 2 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 4, 2019. The Regular Decision deadline for their rolling admissions process is April 10, 2020.

What percent of Columbia MBA students are women?

The percentage of the class at Columbia that are women is 39%.

What type of interview does Columbia use for MBA admissions?

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


The Class Profile

CBS accepted just over 16% of applicants to the Class of 2020, and 756 students ultimately entered the program. Eighty percent of students in the class were 25 to 31 years old at the time of matriculation, and 2018 entrants reported on average a GMAT score of 732 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.6. Students also averaged five years of prior work experience, and 99% had at least one year of full-time work experience. Women make up 39% of the Class of 2020, and 33% of students identify as U.S. minorities. Forty-two percent of students are international citizens. Those with professional backgrounds in financial services constitute 25% of the class, making financial services the most represented industry, while 23% of the Class of 2020 was previously in the consulting industry. As undergraduates, 29% of the class majored in business, while 19% pursued degrees in economics and 17% studied engineering.


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 or GRE 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 phone with a current MBA student.


Application Checklist

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

Essay Topic Analysis

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

Columbia Business School MBA Essay Topic Analysis

The following essay topic analysis examines Columbia Business School’s (CBS) MBA admissions essays for the 2019-2020 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all other the leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays. 2019-2020 Columbia Business School MBA Essay Analysis Let’s take a closer look […]

Recommendation Questions

Find out what top MBA programs ask recommenders.

MBA Recommendation Questions

We know it’s a bit unnerving to solicit recommendations without knowing what your recommenders are being asked. Luckily, we’ve done all the legwork for you and have gathered all of this admissions cycle’s MBA recommendation questions from the top business schools in one easy-to-manage spot. Below you will find more details on those questions that […]

Interview Reports

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 Business School MBA Interview Questions & Report: Rolling Admissions Round / Alumnus / Cafe

I interviewed for the Merit Decision deadline round of the Rolling Admissions at CBS. My interview was at a chain cafe with an alumnus of CBS. It was a blind interview and a very low stress one at that. He began with an introduction of who he was and what he does for a living. […]

Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions & Report: J-Term / Alumnus / Off-campus

My Columbia Business School interview was in a coffee shop with an Alumnus that graduated MBA 2018. The atmosphere was relaxed but a bit noisy. Questions Why MBA Why now What happens if you don’t get into Columbia Walk me through your resume. How will I engage with the Columbia community, what clubs I would join. […]

Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Second-year student / On-campus

The following Columbia Business School MBA interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Decision MBA applicant. Good luck to them! It was a very conversational interview. The second-year student has not read my application and he only had access to my resume. He kicked off with the typical tell me about yourself […]

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

The following Columbia Business School MBA interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Decision MBA applicant. Good luck to them! I received an invitation to interview and was matched with one alumnus in my area. The match was definitely not random since we are in the same under-represented industry, similarly sized companies, […]

Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumni / Los Angeles

The following Columbia Business School MBA interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Decision MBA applicant. Good luck to them! Went to his office, he had requested my resume in advance to review. Mostly conversational, but expressed some concern in my quant skills, as I don’t currently have a quantitative job, which […]

Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions & Report: Rolling / Alum / Off campus

The following Columbia Business School MBA interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by a Rolling Admissions MBA applicant. Good luck to them! My interview was quite conversational and different from a “Typical” B-School interview. The Alum invited me to his home and I dressed professionally irrespective of the setting. He had read my resume […]

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

The following Columbia Business School interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Decision MBA applicant. Good luck to them! This was a blind interview (the alumnus only had my resume). The interview started with the questions ‘Walk me through your resume/tell me about yourself’. It was extremely conversational. The interviewer did have […]

Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Adcom / Skype

The following Columbia Business School interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Decision MBA applicant. Good luck to them! Was a really short one- done in 20 mins which was surprisingly short. Very standard questions- nothing to throw off- Intro, why MBA, why CBS, what are your goals and how will you […]

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

The following Columbia Business School interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Decision MBA applicant. Good luck to them! I met with my interviewer off-campus in the city where I live (East Coast city, not NYC) at a coffee shop over the weekend. I wore a suit and they also wore business […]

Columbia Q&As

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 […]

Columbia Business School Admissions Director Provides Insight into 2015-16 Essays

Columbia Business School (CBS) kicked off the application cycle for the Class of 2018, sending its application live in late April, before any other leading business school. Though this year’s essay questions aren’t hugely different from last year’s, the school’s admissions director took time to share her perspective on the subtle changes with Clear Admit […]

Admission Director Q&A: Amanda Carlson of Columbia Business School

Amanda Carlson was named assistant dean of admissions at Columbia Business School (CBS) in September 2012, and we recently had the opportunity to learn from her about some of the things that sets the school apart. A member of the admissions team since 2002, Carlson knows CBS admissions inside and out, and as assistant dean […]




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.
September 17, 2019 7:15pm
Interview Invite via email.
GPA: 3.6. GMAT: 740. New York.
September 16, 2019 9:00am
Applied via portal.
GPA: ~2.6. GMAT: 490. Cairo.
September 12, 2019 4:03pm
Accepted via phone.
GPA: 3.54. GMAT: 760. New York.
September 12, 2019 3:24am
Applied via portal.
GPA: 3.6. Los Angeles.
September 11, 2019 11:32pm
Accepted via phone.
GPA: 3.6. New York.

MBA DecisionWire for Columbia

Enrolled: Columbia
Admitted: Columbia
GMAT: 740 GPA: 3.7
Post-MBA Career: Consulting
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: Columbia, NYU Stern
GMAT: 750
Post-MBA Career: Investment Banking
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: Columbia, Duke / Fuqua
Post-MBA Career: Technology
Enrolled: Columbia
Admitted: Columbia, Northwestern / Kellogg, UPenn / Wharton
GMAT: 770 GPA: 3.54
Post-MBA Career: Consulting
Enrolled: Columbia
Admitted: Columbia
GMAT: 740 GPA: 3.26
Post-MBA Career: Venture Capital



CBS employs about 150 full-time faculty members to teach students across eight academic divisions and 27 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 14 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 21 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.


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 2018 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 $130,000 in a range from $52,000 to $308,000. Approximately 32% of the class joined the financial services industry, with about 12% of graduates taking roles in investment banking. Consulting employed a similarly high percentage of graduates by industry at roughly 34% percent, followed by media and non-health technology at just under 16%. Approximately 4% of the class chose positions in real estate.

Of 2018 graduates, about 34% selected financial services roles and 39% accepted consulting roles. Marketing and management functions were undertaken by approximately 10% of graduates each.


Tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year totals $74,400. The cost of the year, however, is placed at $110,978 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 2018 – 2019

Tuition $74,400
Mandatory fees $3,905
Health services and insurance $4,332
Books and supplies $900
Room and board $21,375
Personal expenses $6,066

Total first-year budget $110,978

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