Columbia Business School
Columbia Business School (CBS) is part of Columbia University’s campus in the Manhattan borough of New York City. More specifically, the CBS campus can be found in the Manhattanville neighborhood, just North of its prior location in Morningside Heights. 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 $80,472 per year. The total cost of the Columbia MBA program is $122,460 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 22%. 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 $175,000. 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 2023 entry is September 28, 2022. The Regular Decision deadline for August 2023 entry is April 5, 2023. The Regular Decision deadline for January 2023 entry is September 28, 2022.
What percent of Columbia MBA students are women?
The percentage of the class at Columbia that are women is 44%.
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 22% of applicants to the Class of 2024, and 844 students ultimately entered the program. Eighty percent of students in the class were 25 to 31 years old at the time of matriculation, and 2022 entrants reported on average a GMAT score of 729 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 44% of the Class of 2024, and 42% of students identify as U.S. minorities. Fifty-one percent of students are international citizens. Those with professional backgrounds in financial services constitute 29% of the class, making financial services the most represented industry, while 22% of the Class of 2024 was previously in the consulting industry. As undergraduates, 33% of the class majored in business, while 20% pursued degrees in economics and 16% studied engineering.
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 late September; 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.
- GMAT/GRE/Executive Assessment/TOEFL score(s)
- Application Fee
Essay Topic Analysis
Columbia MBA Essay Questions & Analysis 2023-2024
The following analysis examines the admissions essays for Columbia Business School. The Columbia MBA essay questions below are for the 2023-2024 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 2023-2024 Let’s take a […]
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 MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Zoom
It was a standard interview, and lasted about 45 mins. Was asked on why MBA, Why Columbia and goals (both short-term and long-term). He asked to elaborate a bit more on my long-term goals to understand the context, and few follow-ups on that. The tone was very conversational, and felt like the interviewer was really […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Alumna / Zoom
My interviewer was very conversational and friendly. Here is what she asked me: 1. Why MBA? Why Columbia? 2. What are your short- and long-term goals? 3. What is your plan B if you don’t get into business school/your desired role? 4. How do you approach diversity as a leader? 5. Is there anything else […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Rolling / Alumni / Zoom
Was matched with an alumni based in NYC who’s from the same country as myself (I’m an international) and from a similar industry. The interview was very conversational and relaxed – the vibe felt more like a casual chat rather than a formal interview (which I loved!). Questions: 1) Tell me about yourself. 2) Why […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Rolling / Alumnus / Off Campus
Was matched with the interviewer in my city (London) and arranged to meet him about 3 weeks after the invite due to his schedule as I wanted to meet in person. I was able to do a bit of research on him prior to the interview, which was a plus so I knew some stuff […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Off Campus
Since I and the alumnus were from Mumbai, he invited me to his office for the interview. The interview was blind (resume-based). The questions he asked were: 1. Tell me about yourself. 2. Career goals. He grilled me about the goals a lot – checked my knowledge of my industry. 3. Why MBA, why CBS? […]
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Zoom
The interview went pretty nicely. The school matched me with someone in the VC industry. I was nervous because I thought the wildly different background would work against me – quite the opposite. Questions asked were: Walk me through your background +a few follow ups from that. Why CBS? Why now? Why do you want […]
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Off-Campus
I was paired up with my interviewer via the Columbia portal. We set a date and time, but not a location until the day before. The interviewer was an active corporate executive in my area and I was flexible with the scheduling process. Interview was slated for 45 minutes ended up going 75. We met […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alum / Virtual
My interview was an alum who graduated in 2002 and he has been interviewing candidates for a long time. I was nervous going in to the interview, but it was very casual conversation. I was only asked standard questions. Questions I was asked: 1. Tell me about yourself. 2. Why MBA? Why now? 3. Why […]
CBS MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumnus / Virtual
I had a virtual interview with an almunus. It was an hour long conversation, discussing: 1. Introduction (he asked a lot of questions here on Why selected particular major, about my work projects, what did I recommend, he tried to understand my background in depth) 2. Why MBA? Why not a PhD/other masters? (He again […]
CBS Interview Questions & Report: Early Decision / Alumni / Zoom
9/01 – Applied 9/22 – Received Interview Invite via email. Submitted interview request form, matched with an alumni, and scheduled a virtual interview. 9/26 – Zoom interview, resume-based only. The alumni interviewer (~10 years out of CBS) submitted feedback immediately after the interview. I think they were filling out the feedback form as we spoke. […]
Admissions Director Q&A: Morgan Janela of Columbia Business School
We welcome Morgan Janela, a Director of Admissions at Columbia Business School, for our latest Admissions Director Q&A to discuss all things CBS MBA admissions. Morgan oversees the operations and evaluations team, and serves as a member of the Admissions Committee for the MBA and Executive MBA programs, reading, evaluating, and interviewing candidates. Before leading […]
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 […]
Columbia LiveWire and DecisionWire
CBS employs about 170 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 early 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, with the exception of Operations Management, which is taken in the first semester of the second year. 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 four 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 6 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 19 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, and an EMBA-Global Americas and Europe program with London Business School. Full-time MBA students may also pursue one of 11 dual-degree tracks, including the three- or four-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
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.
In January 2022, Columbia Business School officially and fully moved to its new Manhattanville campus, which had been under construction since 2008 and began to open in the spring of 2017. At 492,000 square feet, the two new buildings, Henry R. Kavis Hall and David Geffen Hall, combined are more than double the size of the school’s previous facilities at Uris Hall. The buildings feature technologically-advanced classrooms, multifunctional spaces, lounges, dining facilities, and study rooms. The campus offers bolstered connections between the school and the broader Columbia community, and a central public green space of 40,000 square feet. 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-five percent of the Class of 2022 had received job offers and 92% 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 $175,000. Nearly 37 percent of the class joined the financial services industry, with roughly 17% of graduates taking roles in investment banking. Consulting employed a similarly high percentage of graduates by industry at roughly 34% percent, followed by media/technology at 16%. Approximately 4% of the class chose positions in real estate.
Tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year totals $80,472. The cost of the year, however, is placed at $122,460 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 2022 – 2023
Mandatory fees $4,103
Health services and insurance $5,497
Books and supplies $320
Room and board $24,822
Personal expenses $6,246
Total first-year budget $122,460
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