business

Columbia's Core Values

MBA Admissions Director Linda Meehan is looking for team players with quality work experience and an entrepreneurial way of thinking

More than 4,800 people applied to New York's (No. 8 on BusinessWeek's 2004 list of top U.S. programs) last year. The school accepted 15% of those applicants, and 71% of admitted applicants enrolled in the program.

Linda Meehan oversees the admittance process as the assistant dean and executive director of MBA admissions and financial aid. She and MBA student Bari Glazer recently fielded questions from audience members and BusinessWeek Online's Francesca Di Meglio and Jack Dierdorff. Here's an edited transcript:

Q: Has there been an upturn in the number of applications this year?

Meehan:

No, it's very similar to last year. It's a little early to tell, but they probably will be either flat or down.

Q: What type of person is a good fit for Columbia?

Meehan:

We're looking for interesting people who are involved and want to contribute. We also take into consideration the ability to work well in teams.

Q: Does Columbia look at an applicant's total GMAT score or at his individual scores for the verbal and math sections?

Meehan:

We look at the GMAT score in its totality, and we separate it to look at the applicant's verbal and quantitative abilities. We admit people within a wide range of scores. It is more about the whole application than individual parts.

Q: Is an application submitted after January looked down upon?

Meehan:

We have rolling admissions, and we admit students throughout the entire reading cycle. You improve your chances by submitting a strong application. However, if your application is as strong as you can make it, you should submit it early.

Q: I had applied on Oct. 22 with a paper application and haven't heard from Columbia. Have I already been passed over?

Meehan:

No, because we will be admitting applicants all the way through the reading period and probably into the summer. If you applied on paper, it will take longer to input the data into our online application. Please check from time to time to see if we have put you into our online system. If there is a problem, you may contact us directly by calling (212) 854-1961 or e-mailing our office.

Q: How does Columbia view younger applicants with one year or less of full-time work experience?

Meehan:

We view all candidates equally, and when someone is applying directly out of undergraduate we want them to be focused and have direction.

Q: Is one's age a factor in gaining admittance?

Meehan:

Age is not a factor at all. It is about what people have done, the skills they have acquired, and how their background fits with the direction they want to take after business school. We need to know how Columbia can help them achieve their goals.

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