Columbia Business School Unveils New MBA Application Essays

Courtesy Columbia

Columbia Business School has released new essay questions for the upcoming application cycle, replacing one essay from last year and reducing the total word count by about 20 percent.

The short-answer question—”What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?”—is now limited to just 100 characters, half the maximum allowed length from last year.

The first essay is: “Given your individual background, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time?” (500 words). Last year the first essay asked the “why” question but also asked how applicants planned to achieve their post-MBA professional goals.

The second essay question is: “Columbia Business School is located in the heart of the world’s business capital—Manhattan. How do you anticipate that New York City will impact your experience at Columbia?” (250 words). As it did last year, Columbia asked applicants to view two essays before answering this question. You can view them here and here.

The third essay is: “What will the people in your cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you?” (250 words). It replaces an essay from last year asking applicants to describe a personal experience and how it has influenced who they are today, which had a maximum length of 500 words.

A 500-word optional essay, for any additional information not covered in the other essays, has not changed.

Bob Shea, director of admissions at Columbia, said the goal of the changes is to understand the applicant better.

“Our goal throughout the application—especially the essays—is to understand why the candidate is interested in Columbia, how he or she will contribute to their class, and the impact he or she hopes to make on the world once they receive their degree,” he said. “We make tweaks to the questions each year based on the prior year’s responses in an effort to help us better understand the candidate’s thoughts in each of these areas.”

MBA admissions consultants, including Manhattan GMAT and Essay Snark, have already begun weighing in on how applicants should approach the new Columbia application.

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