See below for questions and analysis. Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.
Short Answer Question
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (51 characters maximum)
Examples of possible responses:
“Work in business development for a media company.” “Join a strategy consulting firm.” “Launch a data-management start-up.”
Pretty straightforward, just watch the character limit.
Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (100-750 words)
Also pretty straightforward. Pay attention to every word in the question though. There is no need to repeat in great detail your experiences to date, just comment on your goals. Goals not goal, so you should be discussing at minimum a short-term and long-term goal. These goals should show a logical progression after your current experience. If they do not, then a brief explanation is a good idea. When answering the part about how Columbia will help you achieve the goals, don't consider only the academic part of your experience. There are many ways Columbia GSB will prepare you to accomplish your goals and it is important to write about all of them. Be as specific as possible here, which requires you to do in-depth research about Columbia, the program, classes and extra-curricular offerings.
Columbia Business School’s students participate in industry focused New York immersion seminars; in project based Master Classes; and in school year internships. Most importantly, our students are taught by a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (100-500 words)
See the video before writing your answer.
This topic is important to Columbia and it means more than simply being located in NYC. The admissions committee has made the decisions to keep this question because it helped them identify who is truly knowledgeable about the program and who will fit in well. While at first glance, this question may seem like it won't help you differentiate yourself from other applicants, it is important to think through this in detail so that the decision to live and study in NYC does not appear to be arrived at lightly. You have a few things you could discuss (Master Classes, internships, Immersion Seminars, research faculty, etc). Don't feel like you need to or even can address all of those areas. Pick the relevant ones for you.
CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 words)
Watch the video and get inspired. If nothing else, it should help you develop passion for Columbia and write more powerful essays. Explain who you are and what makes you unique. There is no right or wrong answer here, the key is to make it personal and reveal something interesting about you. It isn't necessary to impress here though don't feel the need to be modest either if you have something exciting to share. Have fun with this question.
An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.
This is not meant for everyone. Read the question carefully and if it doesn't apply to you then leave it blank. There is no need to tell them more impressive things about you here as that would only hurt your application.
For the most part, the essays remain the same as last year’s essays. The main difference is essay length. Notice that Columbia has given applicants a word limit range rather than a traditional hard word limit. While the total word count may seem high if you add up the upper limits of each question, you can submit a quality application that is shorter than the maximum allowed. While it will really depend on your individual circumstance, the question that will likely have the most responses below the word limit is #2. It is possible to convey a great deal of information about your interest in CBS and NYC in fewer than 500 words.
**Note: If you are a re-applicant, you only need to submit one new letter of recommendation and one essay.
How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate how you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals. (Maximum 500 words).
This article was originally published by Personal MBA Coach.