Columbia Business School MBA Application Essay Analysis 2020-2021

September 10th, 2020

| Last Updated on October 23, 2020
Columbia Essay Analysis

Have you made up your mind to do an MBA from a business school in the heart of New York? That too, from an Ivy League School? If so, you have come to the right place. Here we will discuss how you should go about drafting the MBA application essays that you need to submit to Columbia Business School in New York City.

When people talk about Columbia, the one thing that immediately comes to mind is Finance. Yes, it’s very strong for finance and if you look at it, it’s a virtual cycle. Often, when people at Wall street want to take a break from work, they end up coming to Columbia. They do their MBA and get back to Wall Street, and after a few years, when they want to recruit, guess where they come? Columbia again! So it’s a nice symbiotic relationship they have with Wall Street.

You must have heard of Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing. He taught at Columbia. So in terms of its reputation and finance, Columbia is very strong. It’s known as a very strong finance school.

Getting things straight

Columbia Business School is one of the six Ivy League Schools and is one of the oldest business schools. Located in the heart of New York, the students at Columbia have access to numerous industry leaders and conglomerates.

Imparting knowledge the right way

The MBA course at Columbia is structured in a way that the candidates get to learn theory and then put them into practice at trading floors, retail stores and even board rooms in New York. The MBA curriculum at Columbia is said to follow a case-based and collaborative learning pattern.

The pattern is said to lay the foundation for business knowledge. The students can also choose electives and these electives will help them understand the speciality areas or fields in detail. 

What Columbia Business School is looking for

While the business school might be focusing on finance and numbers, they do not fail to look for candidates from diverse backgrounds to join their MBA programs. And by diversity, it could be with respect to education, economy, geography or even culture.

Just like a lot of other top schools, Columbia also looks out for candidates who are intellectually driven and showcase clear leadership abilities. They are looking for candidates who can work in teams and make great contributions.

What’s in it for you

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Columbia is known for Finance. And the candidates benefit from the B-school’s long and on-going relationship with Wall Street. It is a virtual cycle. If you are someone looking to get on the trading floors in New York or someone who is looking to get their business kickstarter, Columbia is the place.

The second thing is the New York City location. The fact that you’re right there in Downtown New York, Manhattan, where there is a melting pot of culture. So many diverse things, so many people. Honestly, very few schools can boast of a location like that. That’s a huge plus that Columbia has.

If you look at their website and application, you’ll see that they also exploit this aspect. They also say “Hey, it’s our location and nobody can offer you this location!” You may have all the money in the world but you can’t be in the heart of New York. In terms of not just culture but also the kind of connection that you have with companies, the Who’s who is headquartered in New York. That might play a huge role.

Columbia Business School MBA Essay Analysis 2020-21 

There are one short answer question and three long essay questions that you need to answer if you need to complete your Columbia Business School’s application. Through these written components, they will get to know you better and understand different aspects. You will get to know more about it as you actually go through the questions below.

Columbia Business School Short Answer Question

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?

Character limit: 50

If you check out this question on the website, you will see that they have given examples of the answers that you can possibly give. The examples they have given are:

i. “Work in business development for a media company.”

ii. “Join a strategy consulting firm.”

iii. “Launch a data-management start-up.”

You need to remember that you can use only 50 characters to answer this question. And fifty characters are only as long as this line. Be clear about your goal first and then make sure that you use the right words to answer the question. 

Columbia Business School Essay Question 1

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job?

Word limit: 500 words

Do you have a career plan? If you do, all you need to do is to convince them about your career plan through this essay. That is all they are asking for.

If you look closer at the question, they haven’t really asked you what your immediate post-MBA career goals are. They are asking you for your career goals over the next three to five years. This is enough time to reach your mid-career goals, right? And that is what you need to tell them using 500 words.

Let us say that you want to be a product manager in an up and coming startup. This could probably because you have an entrepreneurial spirit in you and probably because you also need that experience and learning.

The one thing you will understand once you tell them about such a goal is that you need a larger vision of your life goal. That will define the purpose and this will be your long-term dream job.

The COVID-19 situation across the globe has shaken up a lot of things. It has changed the way we work and more importantly it has brought a lot of things, for example, technology, to the forefront. So, if you think that technology has the answer to solving problems and you want to be in that space or if you think you are a problem-solver or if you want to tell a really great story as a marketer, it could be your answer to the question. You need to clearly tell them about that one calling you to have in life.

In order to structure this essay, you need to first give them a sense of your journey. They have clearly mentioned that they are aware of what you have done so far. But you need to show your progression. How have you grown? So, give them a sense of who you are and then give them a sense of the larger goal you are aiming to achieve.

In the second part, you can talk about your career plan, how you will be operating in that particular industry and function. You also need to mention the companies that you are looking to work with and the kind of impact your role will create. It has to be very detailed. This is how you need to split this essay question.

You can utilize approximately 100 words to give them a sense of your background and your progression over the years. Then use around 150 words to tell them your long-term vision and convince them. You can use the rest of the 250 words to give them the details of all the transferable skills that you have.

Just like we say always, there is no one way to draft the essays. You can choose the number of words for each section based on what you feel is right. The structure we have given above is something we suggest.

Columbia Business School Essay Question 2

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you?

Word limit:  250 words

You might find it hard to answer the question in just 250 words. But well…you have to.

Here’s the trick: You just need to get to the point real quick.

You need to mention how being a part of Columbia’s MBA program will help you professionally. You can speak about how it is advantageous to stay and study in New York and how it might have a great impact on your industry. You can also tell them how you will benefit from the finance classes at Columbia. You need to look at the program from a professional perspective and give this part of the answer.

But you also need to tell them how the B-school will be a good fit for you personally. It could be about the vibe of New York City or about someone you know there. Give them enough details to be convinced. It will be great if you can bring in this personal aspect as well.

You can use about 200 hundred words to describe the professional and personal reasons and then the 50 words for the introduction and conclusion.

Columbia Business School Essay Question 3

Tell us about your favorite book, movie or song and why it resonates with you.

Word limit: 250

While the question seems very simple, it is a really tricky question. The reason why it is tricky is that once people start writing about the book they like, they just go on writing the story of the book, about the author, and so on.

But you just have 250 words!

Even if it is a movie or a song, describe them in a single sentence. That too, if you think it requires a description. You can just give the name of the book, the author’s name. And then you need to start telling them about how the book has influenced you.

If it is a book, you could probably say that when you first read the book, you were going through a phase when you lacked clarity. And the book helped you gain clarity. This something you can tell them.

If it is a movie, you could tell them how it inspires you. And if you choose to tell them about your favorite song, tell them how it cheers you up or inspires you. You need to use the 250 words to tell them how you resonate with the book, the movie, or the song. And with this, you are telling them who you are.

Columbia Business School Optional Essay Question

Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. 

Word limit: 500 words

As we always say, take up the question only if you have a gap in your academics or anything of that sort. You can use the space to explain that. You don’t have to explain why you left a company after one and a half years or why you did not score well in a particular subject. These are not very relevant.

Use this space if you feel that there is something that you need to explain.

Columbia Business School MBA Application Deadlines

If you really want to get into Columbia Business School, you might want to keep these deadlines in mind. Moreover, with these deadlines, you can now plan your MBA application process better.

Columbia Business School MBA Application Deadlines

Early: October 2, 2020

Merit Fellowship Deadline: January 6, 2021

Final: April 9, 2021

So, here we leave you with the most important points and dates that will help you get into the Columbia Business School. This is one of the schools for which you have to write a lot. If you compare it with other schools, they don’t require much writing, but this one has a lot to write. Make sure you get your application form done as soon as possible. Don’t prolong it, the essays can take a long time to write.

Want to know what advice our GMAT Expert, Arun Jagannathan, has to share with you? Watch the video to make notes of all the relevant points you need to keep in mind while drafting your Columbia MBA application essays.

And, if you feel that you need more help in drafting your essays or reviewing your application or let’s say, even brainstorming your ideas, you can always reach out to us.

You can click on the image below and get in touch with our expert.