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Columbia Business School

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CLASS SIZE 900
FEMALE 44%
INTERNATIONAL 47%
MEAN GMAT 730
MEAN GPA 3.5

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.

columbia mba finance

FAQ

What is the tuition for Columbia's MBA program?

The tuition for Columbia’s MBA program is $84,496 per year. The total cost of the Columbia MBA program is $127,058 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 730.

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

The average GMAT score for the incoming class at Columbia is 730. 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; 100% 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 Round 1 deadline is September 13, 2023. The Round 2 deadline is January 5, 2024. The Round 3 deadline is April 3, 2024. The J-Term deadline is September 13, 2023.

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.

Videos

The Other Gender Gap at Work

The gender wage gap is a well-documented phenomenon — women in the US are, on average, paid less than men, even when working the same occupation. But what about the gap between genders in impact and meaning at work? Columbia Business School Professors Vanessa Burbano and Stephan Meier explain how their cutting-edge research reveals that women find more meaning in their work than men, and what it can tell us about the gender wage gap. Learn more on Columbia Business School's CBS Insights page https://leading.business.columbia.edu Read the full paper here https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/10.1287/mnsc.2022.01807

EMBA-Global: Diverse and High-Calibre Student Cohort

Launched in 2001, EMBA-Global was jointly developed by London Business School and Columbia Business School to inspire and cultivate entrepreneurial thinking and a truly global perspective. The EMBA-Global gives you the opportunity to study in London and New York, two of the world’s leading business and cultural capitals. Let’s hear from our community on what they have to say about diverse and high-calibre student cohort. Gain two degrees from two world-class business schools and expand your global network. To learn more about program, visit https://www.emba-global.com/

Admissions

The Class Profile

900 students joined the CBS MBA Class of 2025, with 681 starting in August and 219 starting in January. 2023 entrants reported on average a GMAT score of 730 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5. Students also averaged five years of prior work experience, and 100% had at least one year of full-time work experience upon matriculation. Women make up 44% of the Class of 2025, and 43% of students identify as U.S. minorities. Forty-seven 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 21% of the Class of 2025 was previously in the consulting industry. As undergraduates, 33% of the class majored in business, while 20% pursued degrees in economics and 17% studied engineering.

Application Procedures

For the 2023-2024 admissions season, CBS moved from rolling admissions to the more traditional rounds of deadlines. The three rounds of deadlines fall in mid-September, early January and early April. J-Term applicants need to apply by the September deadline. 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.

Application Checklist

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

Essay Topic Analysis

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

Interview Reports

Columbia Q&As

Columbia LiveWire and DecisionWire

MBA LiveWire

April 11, 2024 6:54pm ET
Interview Invite to Columbia
Round: Round 2
Received via email April 11, 2024
GMAT: 698
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
Post MBA Career Name: Technology
Note:

R2 further evaluation candidate, just got invited to interview!!
Couldn't believe the update!! CBS is my top choice

April 11, 2024 2:46pm ET
Interview Invite to Columbia
Round: Round 3
Received via portal April 11, 2024
GPA: 3.5
GRE: 312
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
Post MBA Career Name: Entrepreneurship
Application Location: NYC
Note:

was moved to further consideration in round 2. received invite today.

April 4, 2024 7:52pm ET
Applied to Columbia
Round: Round 3
Received via n/a
GPA: 3.7
GRE: 338
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
Application Location: Ghana
Note:

I'm aware the odds are against me, but I'm holding out hope.

April 4, 2024 4:04am ET
Applied to Columbia
Round: Round 3
Received via portal
GPA: 2.5
GRE: 304
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
Post MBA Career Name: Finance
April 1, 2024 10:58pm ET
Waitlisted at Columbia
Round: Round 2
Received via email on March 21, 2024
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
April 1, 2024 11:58am ET
Applied to Columbia
Round: Round 4
Received via n/a
GPA: 3.59
GRE: 316
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
Post MBA Career Name: Finance
Application Location: NYC
March 26, 2024 10:44pm ET
Accepted to Columbia
Round: Rolling Admissions
Received via n/a March 26, 2024
GPA: 3.7
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
Post MBA Career Name: Healthcare
Application Location: New York
Note:

Previous master's degree, boss/alumnus wrote rec. 5 YPE. Dream school for me. Overly excited! Never give up.

March 25, 2024 5:26pm ET
Accepted to Columbia
Round: Round 2
Received via portal
GPA: 3.8/4.0
GMAT: 770
Program Type: Traditional Two-Year
Post MBA Career Name: Entrepreneurship
Application Location: New York
Note:

Admitted R2--only school I applied to this cycle but received no $. Thinking I won't attend.

MBA DecisionWire

?
April 12, 2024 9:31am ET
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: U. Chicago Booth , Northwestern / Kellogg $
$45000
,
NYU Stern
Applied: U. Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, Northwestern / Kellogg, NYU Stern
Entering Year: 2024
Post MBA Career: Consulting, Technology
GMAT: 740
Notes:

Partner at UChicago but scholarship at Kellogg. Not sure what to do!

?
April 11, 2024 11:21pm ET
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: Boston College / Carroll $ , $
$$$$$
,
USC / Marshall
Applied: Cornell / Johnson, USC / Marshall, UCLA Anderson, , Dartmouth / Tuck, Boston College / Carroll
Entering Year: 2024
Post MBA Career: Consulting, Other
GRE: 325
Location: East Asia
Notes:

Seeking advice before making my decision! International with 5 years of experience in marketing & recruitment, looking to pivot to consulting (human capital focus). My main aim is to break into the consulting industry and work in the US after my MBA, so I'm pretty open in terms of work location and company size. (cont. in comments)

?
April 11, 2024 11:15pm ET
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: UCLA Anderson , USC / Marshall
Applied: UCLA Anderson, USC / Marshall
Entering Year: 2024
Post MBA Career: Technology, Undecided
Notes:

Accepted to part-time programs. Relocating to the Bay Area post-MBA. Want to pivot to a strategy/operations role preferably in tech or finance but also interested in exploring other industries. Really like both schools after visiting and talking to students and am unsure about which to pick.

?
April 11, 2024 5:02pm ET
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: Duke / Fuqua , UCLA Anderson , UT Austin / McCombs
Applied: UT Austin / McCombs, UCLA Anderson, NYU Stern, Michigan / Ross, Duke / Fuqua
Entering Year: 2024
Post MBA Career: Technology, Consumer Goods, Entrepreneurship Companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Lenova, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Oracle, Tesla, Twitter, Uber, 3M, Anheuser Busch InBev, Coca Cola, General Mills, LVMH, Mondelez, Nestle, Nike, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever
Notes:

UCLA no scholarship and conditioned to get a GPA over 3.0 in the first quarter (fall)

Academics

Faculty

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.

Curriculum

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.

Academic Divisions

Accounting
Decision, Risk, and Operations
Economics
Finance
Management 
Marketing

Degree Offerings at Columbia

Full-time MBA Program
https://academics.gsb.columbia.edu/mba

Executive MBA Programs
New York, Americas, Europe
https://academics.gsb.columbia.edu/emba

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, Teachers College
https://academics.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/academics/dual-degrees

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

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.

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

Three months after graduation in 2023, 84% of the 678 Columbia MBA students seeking employment reported receiving a job offer and 81% accepted a job offer, 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. 36.3% of the class joined the consulting industry and another 35.7% joined financial services. Technology took in 10.8% of graduates while roughly 3% each pursued real estate or consumer goods.

Eighty-six percent of the Class of 2023 seeking employment stayed in the U.S. Five percent headed to Europe and four percent settled in Asia.

Financing

Tuition for the 2023-2024 academic year totals $84,496. The cost of the year, however, is placed at $127,058 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 2023 – 2024
Tuition $84,496
Mandatory fees $5,633
Health insurance $4,541
Books and supplies $320
Food and housing $24,822
Personal expenses $6,246
Computer $1,000
Total first-year budget $127,058

Contact

Mailing Address:
Columbia University
Admissions Office
Geffen Hall Room 216
645 W 130th St
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 1-212-854-5553
Fax: 1-212-662-6754
Email: [email protected]
Web: https://home.gsb.columbia.edu/
Twitter: @ColumbiaMBA