As Admissions Officers we often encounter myths about Columbia Business School. Below are a few of the ones we see regularly. I hope this post debunks a few myths and helps you with the application process!
MYTH: “Applicants should find a recommender with the highest possible title.”
It is tempting to seek a recommender with a senior title, but if the CEO of your organization doesn't work with you directly, he/she will not necessarily be able to speak to the recommendation questions asked by the admissions committee. We ask recommenders to answer specific questions that are best suited for those who see your work on a regular basis. It is in your best interest to find those business professionals who are invested in your career and want to see you succeed.
We prefer that recommendations are professional and that at least one is from a current supervisor. We want to get to know you, so choose recommenders who know you best!
MYTH: “There is a single reason why an applicant is admitted.”
The Admissions Committee does not follow a formula when admitting future Columbia Business School students and does not assign a weight to any part of the application. The review process is holistic and the Admissions Committee takes into consideration all aspects of the application. We admit students for a variety of reasons, but an applicant will never be admitted or denied for only one reason.
We commonly run into this myth when talking to applicants about the GMAT and GRE. While the GMAT/GRE is certainly part of the application process, and we encourage applicants to do their best, it is only one aspect of the application and scores do not singularly determine an applicant’s fate.
MYTH: “We are looking for a specific type of candidate”
Often the admission team is asked "What is the most important characteristic an applicant should have?" or "What is the type of applicant you want to see?"
One of the goals of the Admissions Committee is to bring in a diverse class with students who have different backgrounds and interests. We do not have a cookie cutter applicant we are hoping to admit to the class. We are not admitting resumes, algorithms, or test scores. We admit individuals with their own unique stories and journeys.
It is important to focus on who you are rather than trying to be someone you think the Admission Committee wants.
You are your most valuable and irreplaceable asset!