Columbia Business School (CBS) whittled its essay questions from four to three to two over the past five years but is now back to posing three essay questions. Maybe the school’s admissions committee felt that, with just two questions, they were not learning enough about applicants? This year, CBS is offering a variety of creative options in its final essay question, giving candidates greater flexibility—and thus greater control over what the admissions committee will learn about them.
Here are the Questions:
1. Considering your post-MBA and long-term professional goals, why you are pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? Additionally, why is Columbia Business School a good fit for you? (Maximum of 750 words.)
2. Describe a life experience that has shaped you. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (Maximum of 500 words.)
3. Essay three has three options (please choose one of the following):
Option A: The annual A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition is a student initiative managed and run by the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). The competition encourages Columbia MBA students to explore creative entrepreneurial ideas that are sufficiently ambitious in scope and scale to be considered “outrageous.” Students explore these ideas while learning firsthand what goes into the development and presentation of a solid business proposal. Develop your own “outrageous” business idea. In essay form, compose your “elevator pitch.” (Maximum 250 words)
Option B: Columbia deeply values its vibrant student community, the building of which begins at orientation when admitted students are assigned to clusters of 65 to 70 fellow students who take most of the first-year core classes together. During the first weeks of school, each cluster selects a Cluster Chair. Further strengthening the student community are the nearly 100 active student organizations at Columbia Business School, ranging from cultural to professional to community service-oriented. Leadership positions within the cluster and/or clubs offer hands-on management and networking opportunities for students as they interact with fellow students, administrators, faculty members, alumni, and practitioners. You are running for either Cluster Chair or a club leadership position of your choosing. Compose your campaign speech. (Maximum 250 words)
Option C: Founded nearly three decades ago, the Executives in Residence Program at Columbia Business School integrates senior executives into the life of the School. Current executives in residence include more than a dozen experts in areas ranging from media and investment banking to private equity and management. A hallmark of the program is one-on-one counseling sessions in which executives advise students about their prospective career choices. Select one of the current executives in residence with whom you would like to meet during your time at Columbia. Explain your selection and tell us how you would best utilize your half hour one-on-one session. (Maximum 250 words)
For an analysis of these questions, see the full post here.