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A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution is required for admission to Columbia Business School. Applicants should scan and submit PDF versions of transcripts from each college and university they have attended as a registered student.
Do not send paper transcripts via mail when first applying. If offered admission, you will be required to provide sealed hard copies or encrypted digital copies of your transcripts from each of the colleges or universities you have attended. Offers of admission are not binding until academic records have been verified.Back to top
Applicants should report their grade point average as it appears on their transcript.Back to top
GMAT or GRE Score
All applicants must submit a self-reported GMAT (preferred) or GRE score. Scores are valid for five years. Your scores must be valid when you submit your application. Both the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and Integrated Reasoning (IR) sections are required if you take the GMAT.
If admitted, you must submit an official GMAT or GRE score. Columbia Business School’s GMAT code is QF8-N6-36 and its GRE code is 6442. The Admissions Committee will consider only your highest score when reviewing your application and will not combine subscores from multiple exams into a single composite score.
International students who do not have a degree from an institution in which all instruction is conducted in English must take either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the PTE (Pearson Test of English), or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). You may be exempted only if you have earned a degree from an institution in which English is the language of instruction. We will not accept requests for exceptions to this policy.
The TOEFL, PTE, and IELTS scores are valid for two years. Your scores must be valid when you submit your application.
Be sure to self-report your TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS score when completing your application. If admitted, you must submit an official score report. For the TOEFL, Columbia’s ETS code is 2174, MBA department code 02 - Graduate Schools of Management. For the PTE and IELTS, select "Columbia Business School" from the list of schools provided. The Admissions Committee will consider only your highest score when reviewing your application.
Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.
Short Answer Question:
What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 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.”
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? (Maximum 500 words)
Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)
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? (Maximum 250 words)
An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.
Rather than answer Essay 1, current Knight-Bagehot Fellows applying to Columbia Business School should use the space allocated to the first essay (500 words) to complete the Wiegers Fellowship application essay.
Wiegers Fellowship Essay Question:
What are your career goals? How has the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship affected these goals? How will an MBA help you achieve these goals? (500 words maximum)
All first-time applications require two recommendations. Reapplicants are required to submit one new recommendation. If you have been working full-time for at least six months, one recommendation should be from your current supervisor. The second recommendation should be from either a former direct supervisor or from another professional associate, senior to you, who can share their insights on your candidacy.
If you are a college senior or have worked full-time for fewer than six months, at least one, but preferably both, of your recommendations should be from a person who can comment on your managerial abilities. You may ask a summer employer or another person whom you feel can objectively assess your professional promise. The second recommendation may be from a college professor.
Please note that Columbia Business School and several of our peer institutions use similar, if not identical, recommendation questions. This is an effort on our part to make the process easier for your recommenders. We expect that you, the applicant, will not participate in the drafting of these recommendations. Applications are not considered complete until all required information is submitted. This includes recommendations.
We ask recommenders to consider the following guidelines when writing their recommendations (recommended limit - 1000 words):
- How do the candidate's performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.
- Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response.
Please be aware: The Admissions Committee requires that all application materials be submitted online, including recommendations.
Applicants may be invited to interview with one of our alumni. In most cases, interviews are offered in the applicant’s geographic area, and invitations to interview can be sent at any time after a completed application has been received by the Admissions Office. Interviews are by invitation only and cannot be requested.
The nonrefundable application fee for the Columbia Business School MBA Program is US$250. Applicants are strongly encouraged to pay this fee via credit card (Visa or MasterCard only) within the online application system in order to expedite the processing of their application.
Applicants unable to pay by credit card should contact the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for directions regarding alternative methods of payment.
Fee waivers are available to full-time students, active duty US military personnel, and members of the Peace Corps, Teach for America, Teach for China, or Teach for India who are currently in service. Proof of current service is required. Applicants who qualify for a fee waiver should email a fee waiver request, as well as proof of service, to email@example.com and explain their need for a fee waiver in the optional essay. Please allow up to one week for an update to your online status confirming that your fee waiver has been approved.Back to top
Please note that candidates may only apply once to a given term of entry. Candidates may not apply twice to the same term of entry.
To reapply to the MBA Program at Columbia Business School, please use the following checklist to ensure smooth processing. Please note, information and requirements are subject to change without notice.
The Admissions Office retains all applications for one year after a decision is rendered. If you are reapplying no more than 12 months from your initial term of entry to Columbia Business School, the checklist below will help ensure that you submit everything the Admissions Committee will need to reassess your candidacy. For example if you applied for August 2014 your will be considered a reapplicant for January 2015 or August 2015. If you are reapplying more than 12 months after your initial term of entry, you must submit a new, fully complete application.
Please submit the following to the Admissions Committee for your reapplication. If you have trouble starting a new application, please contact the Admissions Office for assistance.
- Reapplication fee: U.S.$250.
- One new recommendation letter, preferably from your current employer. If you have already used your current employer for a recommendation, please choose someone else in a supervisory role or a client.
- Please update the following sections "Personal," "Family," "Employment," "Education," and "Extracurricular Activities".
- How will you finance your MBA?
- Submit transcripts of any additional courses you have taken since your previous application.
- Please remember to indicate the dates and self-reported scores of the standardized tests that you wish to be considered in your admissions decision.
GMAT scores are valid for five years. Your scores must be valid at the time of application submission.
TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Your scores must be valid at the time of application submission.
International students who have a degree from an institution in which all instruction is conducted in English are exempt from the TOEFL.
Reapplicants are NOT required to submit additional essays. Only the reapplicant essay is required.
- 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).
All admitted students are required to submit two nonrefundable tuition deposits to secure their place in the class after admission. Admitted students for the January-entry and August-entry Early Decision must submit deposits within two weeks of admission. If you are admitted for August-entry Regular Decision on or before January 31, 2016 you must submit your deposit by February 19, 2016. If you are admitted from February 1, 2016 through April 15, 2016 you must submit your deposit by April 29, 2016. Applicants admitted after April 15, 2016 will have two weeks to submit their initial deposit. Students for the January-entry are required to submit a second deposit by November 13, 2015. All early August-entry Early Decision and Regular Decision admitted students are required to submit a second deposit by June 1, 2016 in order to secure their spaces in the class.
Full-Time MBA Application Deadlines
All deadlines are 11:59 p.m. New York Time on the date listed.
Did you Know?
of the 2014 incoming class were non-US citizens
alumni in the Columbia Business School network
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