The Columbia Business School was established in 1916 and has some of the country's top programs; its MBA program is no exception. Based in New York City, New York, the school is one of the M7 business programs and attracts many solid applicants yearly. Below, we’ll cover how to get into Columbia Business School and what you can expect during the application process.
Columbia Business School Acceptance Rate: 15.2%
Columbia Business School’s recent acceptance rate is 15.2%. The acceptance rate varies yearly, but you can expect it to be around 15-20% yearly. Please note that many business schools have stopped providing acceptance rates, so this rate is based on the number of students enrolled, which makes it a bit higher.
If you want to attend Columbia Business School, ensure you have a strong MBA profile when applying. Here is a table of the acceptance rates for the past few years.
Number of Applicants
Number of Accepted Students
As you can see, the acceptance rate for the past few years varies between 15% and 22%
How Hard Is It to Get Into Columbia Business School?
Columbia Business School is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 15.2%. This means that out of 100 applications received, only 15 applicants are admitted. The admissions process is competitive, and applicants must present a well-rounded profile that aligns with the school's values and mission.
Columbia Business School Admissions Statistics
Knowing how to get into Columbia Business School is not the only thing you should look at when applying to MBA programs. It’s also a good idea to look at the admissions statistics of the school you’re applying to to know what to expect. Here are Columbia Business School’s admissions statistics for the past year.
Columbia Business School evaluates candidates holistically, considering various factors such as academic performance, standardized test scores, essays, recommendation letters, and interviews. Therefore, while GPA is a significant consideration, it is not the sole admission determination.
Columbia Business School Average GMAT Score: 730
The average GMAT score for recently admitted Columbia Business School applicants is 730. Columbia requires applicants to either submit a GMAT or GRE score, which gives applicants the choice to choose. If you plan on submitting your GMAT score, ensure it’s above 730 to be considered a competitive applicant.
Columbia Business School Average GRE Score: 168
The average GRE score for recently admitted Columbia Business School applicants is 168. Aim for a GRE score of 168 or higher to be considered a competitive applicant.
Columbia Business School Average Year of Work Experience: 5 Years
The average work experience of recently admitted Columbia Business School students is five Years. The top industries admitted Columbia Business School students worked in are financial services, consulting, marketing/media, and technology. You should aim to have five years of work experience when applying.
What Is Columbia Business School Looking For In Applicants?
Columbia Business School evaluates applications by assessing their academic records and considering their background. They appreciate students who have done well in school, show leadership skills, and can work with others in teams. If you want to be admitted, demonstrate all these traits when applying to Columbia.
Columbia Business School Admissions Requirements
Like most post-graduate programs, the Columbia Business School application has an extensive list of requirements. According to their website, to apply to Columbia’s MBA program, you must submit these items:
Columbia Business School Regular Decision Deadline
Columbia Business School has three application rounds for its MBA program. The deadlines for these application rounds are early September, early January, and early April. Ensure you don’t miss these deadlines if you consider applying to Columbia.
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Columbia Business School
These are some things to keep in mind when applying to Columbia Business School:
Because the admissions committee reviews applications on a rolling basis, applying earlier will give you an advantage, as there are more open spots in the program.
Attend an Info Session
Columbia hosts many virtual events for potential applicants. Attending even one of these sessions can be a great way to learn about the program, ask specific questions about the application process, and determine which application process is right for you.
Talk to Current Students
Reaching out to people currently in the Columbia Business School MBA program is a great way to learn more about the application process, the school, and the coursework. Columbia offers "Student Chat" events on most weekdays during the Fall and Spring semesters and on most Mondays and Thursdays during the summer.
These are virtual events where you can ask current MBA students any questions you have about the program. Visit Columbia Business School’s event page to sign up for one of these sessions.
Choose Professional Recommenders
MBA programs prefer recommendation letters from people who have seen you in the professional sphere rather than the academic world. Try to ask previous employers or supervisors for letters of recommendation before you ask your college professors.
Columbia Business School Essay Prompts
Columbia Business School applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays. Here is the short answer question prompt:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?
You must answer this prompt in 50 characters or less. Now, let’s take a look at the essay prompts:
Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)
The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the skills and strategies needed to develop as inclusive leaders. Through various resources and programming, the goal is for students to explore and reflect during their educational journey on the following five inclusive leadership skills: Mitigating Bias and Prejudice; Managing Intercultural Dialogue; Addressing Systemic Inequity; Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking; and Creating an Inclusive Environment. Describe a time or situation when you had the need to utilize one or more of these five skills, and tell us the actions you took and the outcome. (250 words)
We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams, an extremely active co-curricular and student life environment, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program. Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? Please be specific. (250 words)
Applicants also have the choice to answer an optional essay. Here is the prompt for that:
If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)
Please note that deferred enrollment candidates will answer two short essay questions instead of the essays listed above.
Columbia Business School Interview
Columbia Business School's interview process is rigorous due to the large applicant pool. At least two committee members initially screen applications. If selected, applicants are notified within six weeks. Interviews are primarily in-person with alumni or via phone/Skype if no alumni are nearby.
The blind interview format requires elaborating on experiences, as interviewers only have access to resumes. Interviews typically last 45-60 minutes and cover career goals, backup plans, handling setbacks, ethical dilemmas, extracurricular activities, community involvement, global awareness, teamwork, leadership, communication skills, and a chance to address any additional points or questions.
FAQs: How to Get Into Columbia Business School
If you still have questions, check out these frequently asked questions about how to get into Columbia Business School.
1. Is There an Interview in Columbia Business School's Application Process?
Yes, Columbia Business School does include an interview in its application process. After the admissions committee reviews your application, you will be denied admission or invited to interview. This interview could be conducted in person by alumni near your location.
However, if no one is available near you, the interview will be conducted remotely over Skype or telephone by a current student or admissions officer. The person interviewing you will have no prior knowledge of your application except for your resume.
2. Does Columbia Business School Offer Research Opportunities?
Yes, Columbia Business School does offer research opportunities. The school places a significant emphasis on the importance of research. You can participate in the Predoctoral Fellows Program or apply to the highly selective Summer Research Internship.
3. Does Columbia Business School Offer a Dual Degree Program?
Yes, Columbia Business School does offer dual degree programs. There are 11 different approved dual degree programs in a variety of fields. If you are interested in obtaining a dual degree, you must apply separately to both the Business School and the school from which you want your other degree.
4. Does Columbia Business School Offer Concentrations in the MBA Program?
While the Business School does not offer formal concentrations, there are ways to tailor your degree plan to focus on an area of your choice. The school website offers informal lists of classes you can take in order to concentrate on a particular area of study.
5. Do I Need to Have a Bachelor's Degree in a Business-Related Field to Get Into Columbia Business School?
No, you don’t need to have a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field to get into Columbia Business School. In fact, according to the Columbia Business School Director of Admissions, Nicole Shay, the MBA program accepts applicants from various fields of study, including “journalism, social sciences, and arts.” The school values the diverse perspectives that students of varying backgrounds can bring to the program.
6. Does Columbia Business School Accept Transfer Credits?
No, Columbia Business School does not accept transfer credits. However, the school does offer exemption exams before each semester that allow students to test out of core courses. If you test out of a subject, you must then replace it with an elective. This means that testing out of subjects will not reduce the number of hours that you must take in order to graduate from the program.
Overall, the Columbia Business School hosts one of the country's top MBA programs with a unique admissions process and many paths to take. While that does make the application process seem pretty intimidating, admission is not unattainable.
By knowing how to get into Columbia Business School you can increase your chances of gaining admissions and earning your MBA!
About Inspira Futures
At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.