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Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

Who makes a good applicant?
Will I qualify for admission with a three-year undergraduate degree?
May I submit my application if I have not yet taken the GMAT, GRE, and/or TOEFL?
How do I schedule an interview?
After submitting my application, when will I receive a decision?
After admission, can I request a deferral to a future term?
If I’ve been denied admission, may I receive feedback on my candidacy?
If I’ve been denied admission, may I appeal the decision?
Do you have any advice for reapplicants?
Do you offer an Executive MBA?
May I request a fee waiver?

Academics

Do you accept transfer credits?
How many credits are required to complete the MBA program?

Tuition and Financial Aid

What types of financial aid are available, and who is eligible to apply?
Is graduate education affordable?
What is the cost of attendance?
How are fellowships awarded at Columbia Business School?
Is there an income limit for need-based consideration?
When do I apply for loans and scholarships?
If I get a scholarship for my first year, will it renew automatically for the second year?
What is Columbia Business School’s Title IV FAFSA code?
What is the FAFSA used for?
What is the average amount of need-based scholarships?
Are grants or scholarships taxable?
Are there any other outside sources that I should consider?
Once admitted, how do I defer my outstanding student loans?

International Applicants

My transcript(s) and/or letter(s) of recommendation are not in English. What should I do?
Do I need to take the TOEFL?
I cannot obtain a financial guarantee statement. What is it needed for?
Is financial aid available to international students?

Who makes a good applicant?

The Columbia MBA Program is carefully designed to instill both the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the fast-moving, competitive world of business. Many top managers credit the skills they acquired at Columbia Business School as the springboard to their successful careers.

We look for intellectually driven people from diverse educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. Our students share a record of achievement, demonstrated, strong leadership, and the ability to work in teams.

The Admissions Committee seeks intellectually inquisitive applicants with superior academic credentials from their undergraduate and graduate programs. Excellent written and oral communication skills are essential. Fluency in multiple languages is not required for admission but is increasingly desirable for the study and practice of global business.

Over the past five years, competition for admission to Columbia Business School has continued to rise steadily. We typically receive and review 5,500 to 7,000 full-time MBA applications each year, and in recent cycles only 15 percent of applicants were admitted.

View a class profile of the most recently admitted MBA students.

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Will I qualify for admission with a three-year undergraduate degree?

We accept applications from candidates with a three-year undergraduate degree. Those applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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May I submit my application if I have not yet taken the GMAT, GRE, and/or TOEFL?

Self-reported GMAT, GRE, and/or TOEFL scores must be submitted with the application by the deadline. Scores will be verified after admission to the program.

Read more about our GMAT and GRE requirements.

Read more about our TOEFL requirements.

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How do I schedule an interview?

Interviews are conducted by invitation only; they cannot be requested by applicants. Invitations may be extended at any point in the application review process. The Admissions Office will contact you if you are selected for an interview.

Read more about the interview process.

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After submitting my application, when will I receive a decision?

In a given application season, the Admissions Office will begin reviewing January-entry applications and August-entry Early Decision applications once all required materials have been received.

Our goal is either to invite for an interview or deny admission within six weeks of a completed application being received. Our goal for interviewed applicants is to render a final decision within two weeks of the interview report being completed.

Please note that the Admissions Committee will first review all of the Early Decision and January intake applications before we review Regular Decision applications. Regular Decision applications will be held and read in the order they are received. We will begin reviewing these applications in November.

Check your application status.

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After admission, can I request a deferral to a future term?

As a matter of policy, Columbia Business School does not defer admitted students to a future term.

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If I’ve been denied admission, may I receive feedback on my candidacy?

We understand the enormous commitment of time and energy that goes into applying to business school, but unfortunately we're not able to offer individual feedback on denied applications.

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If I’ve been denied admission, may I appeal the decision?

We're well aware of the significant investment applicants make while participating in our selection process, and we appreciate the effort of all our applicants. Accordingly, the Admissions Committee reviews each candidacy with great care and thoughtful consideration. The review process is extremely thorough, and all decisions are final. There is no process for appeal.

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Do you have any advice for reapplicants?

Please note that candidates may only apply once for each term of entry. If you are considering a reapplication, please review the class profile and consider how you might strengthen your candidacy. Achievements that could encourage you to reapply might include:

  • Significant change in your responsibilities at work
  • Improved standardized test scores
  • Refinement of your career goals
  • New recommendations
  • New interests pursued outside of work

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Do you offer an Executive MBA?

One of the best there is. Check out our EMBA website for more information.

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May I request a fee waiver?

Fee waivers are available to full-time students, active duty 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 apply@gsb.columbia.edu 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.

Read more about the application fee.

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Do you accept transfer credits?

Columbia Business School does not accept transfer credits for MBA programs. Before each semester, exemption exams are offered, allowing students already well-versed in a particular subject area the opportunity to replace core courses with electives. Passing an exemption exam does not reduce the requirement that all students must complete 60 credits at Columbia Business School in order to graduate — it merely allows students to take additional elective courses.

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How many credits are required to complete the MBA program?

Students must complete a total of 60 credits in order to graduate with an MBA from Columbia Business School. Students typically enroll in 15 credits of coursework each semester for four semesters of study, though this distribution may vary. Full-term courses are worth 3 credits; half-term courses are worth 1.5 credits.

Learn more about our course offerings.

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What types of financial aid are available, and who is eligible to apply?

Columbia Business School offers need-based scholarships, merit-based fellowships, and federal and private loans. Domestic students (US citizens and permanent residents) are eligible to apply for need-based scholarships, merit fellowships, and all loans. International students are eligible to apply for merit-based fellowships, need-based scholarships, and private loans with a creditworthy US cosigner.

Read more about financial aid at Columbia Business School.

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Is graduate education affordable?

Yes, but the affordability of a graduate education is a personal decision. While financing is available, loans are more readily accessible than grants or scholarships.

Read more about tuition and expenses at Columbia Business School.

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What is the cost of attendance?

The cost of attendance is the maximum amount of financial aid and other aid a student can receive during the academic year. The number includes the cost of tuition, fees, and moderate living expenses. You can find an up-to-date breakdown of our cost of attendance (or budget) in the Student Budget section of our website.

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How are fellowships awarded at Columbia Business School?

Columbia Business School fellowships for first-year students are merit-based and awarded on the strength of a candidate’s application. Merit fellowships can be awarded at the time of admission or at any point thereafter. No special application forms are required.

Fellowships are awarded only to students who begin the MBA program in August. Unfortunately, students who begin in January are not eligible for fellowship support at this time. All admitted students who apply by the merit fellowship consideration deadline and select the fellowship consideration option in their application are considered. Applicants may not apply for individual fellowships.

Read more about fellowships at Columbia Business School.

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Is there an income limit for need-based consideration?

There is no set limit, however, need parameters are very stringent and include consideration of all available resources (including cash, savings, investments, IRA and 401(k) accounts, trust funds, real estate equity, G.I. and Social Security benefits, income of both student and spouse, and income tax refunds), as well as prior educational debt levels.

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When do I apply for loans and scholarships?

You should apply for loans and scholarships after you are admitted to the MBA program. Based on your admission date, you will have a specific deadline for scholarship applications. To expedite the application process, we encourage you to prepare your tax return early and complete the FAFSA (domestic applicants only) as soon as possible.

Read more about scholarships at Columbia Business School.

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If I get a scholarship for my first year, will it renew automatically for the second year?

It depends. Most merit-based fellowships are awarded as one-year awards. Only some are renewable for the second year based on academic progress of you must maintain a 5.5/10.0 GPA. Need-based scholarships can be renewed for the second year with a short renewal application process.

Read more about scholarships at Columbia Business School.

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What is Columbia Business School’s Title IV FAFSA code?

Columbia Business School’s code is 002707.

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What is the FAFSA used for?

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a required supporting document for the scholarship application, as well as any federal loan applications. It is used to determine eligibility for the subsidized portion of the Federal Direct Loan.

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What is the average amount of need-based scholarships?

Scholarship amounts vary for each student; however, the award is typically in the $5,000–$12,000 range.

Read more about scholarships at Columbia Business School.

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Are grants or scholarships taxable?

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 states that grant assistance is taxable income to the extent that it exceeds tuition, required education fees, and course-related expenses. Course-related expenses are defined as those for books, supplies, and equipment required for courses. For nonresident aliens, the University is required to withhold federal income tax on grants received in excess of the expenses described above.

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Are there any other outside sources that I should consider?

You should determine whether any organization you belong to might have aid funds available. Support is often available from religious, fraternal, or athletic organizations, clubs, veteran groups, ethnic groups, unions, employers, rotary clubs, and others. For your convenience, we've identified several outside scholarship sources as well as other resources on the Financial Aid website.

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Once admitted, how do I defer my outstanding student loans?

Columbia Business School is a member of the National Student Clearinghouse. Once you are a registered student, your information will be sent directly to the clearinghouse and reported to your lender(s), so that they can defer your outstanding loans. You can also obtain a certificate of registration from the Columbia University Registrar’s Office to forward to your lender.

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International Applicants

My transcript(s) and/or letter(s) of recommendation are not in English. What should I do?

Materials that are not in English must be translated by an official translation agency and notarized. The School does not endorse or recommend any individual provider of translation services. Please submit both the original documents and the translations to the Admissions Office.

Read more about requirements for international applicants.

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Do I need to take the TOEFL?

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) or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). You may be exempted from the TOEFL or the PTE 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.

Read more about requirements for international applicants.

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I cannot obtain a financial guarantee statement. What is it needed for?

It is optional until you are admitted, but it will be required to obtain your I-20 (visa).

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Is financial aid available to international students?

International students may be considered for merit-based fellowships for August entry. To be considered for a fellowship, you must submit a complete admissions application by the merit fellowship consideration deadline and select the fellowship consideration option in the application. There is a limited amount of financial aid available to international students in the form of fellowships. Awards are given on the basis of merit and competition for fellowships is significant.

Need-based scholarships are also available to those who qualify. Amounts typically range from $4,000–$10,000 per academic year. Additional information on how to apply is located on the Admitted Students website.

Foreign citizens can apply for a private loan to cover the cost of attendance with a creditworthy US or permanent resident co-borrower only.

Teaching assistantships are not a part of the financial aid package and are not available to incoming students. Most international students rely on family funds, personal savings, government or company sponsorships, and/or loans secured in their home countries. For more details, see the Financial Aid website.

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Voices of Columbia Business School

Get a glimpse into the experiences of MBA and EMBA students, and connect with Admissions officers for events and application information.

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Notes to the Next Class

Discover tips on how to make the most of your time at Columbia Business School.

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Upcoming Information Sessions

October 22, 2014 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
MBA Information Session>

October 27, 2014 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
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October 29, 2014 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
MBA Information Session>

November 3, 2014 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
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November 5, 2014 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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At the Very Center of Business

See how Columbia Business School puts you at the very center of business, where chances for success revolve all around.

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Since 1916, Columbia Business School has lived at the heart of the business world, New York City, building symbiotic relationships with leading innovators and global trendsetters and offering students exposure to the very pulse of industry.

Today, we continue to enjoy daily insights from the influential figures driving current practices. Our renowned faculty members are leaders in their fields, producing groundbreaking research across areas, and our worldwide alumni network continues to grow and impact change. At the Business School today, we’re celebrating our place at the very center of it all.

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The strength of our School lies in our community, and the community connects online. Our Connect Online page makes it easy to see what the community says about what puts #CBSAtTheCenter of so many lives.

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The Core: Experience the Impact of Knowledge

The Columbia Core Curriculum imparts unparalleled perspectives that inspire and challenge, and connect the dots to success.

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The Columbia Core Curriculum is informed by thought leadership from the world’s leading-edge business environment. Our faculty's groundbreaking research influences business practices in every sector while our curriculum develops leaders who can create opportunity in any situation.

In an MBA program at the very center of business, you’ll learn to respond dynamically to any challenge. You'll gain the skills you need to succeed in a fast-moving, competitive business environment and see how to create opportunities where they once seemed impossible. At Columbia, at the heart of New York City, you’ll learn it all from the most influential figures in industry today.

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Apply Now

MBA
Entry: January '15
Final: 10/8/14

Entry: August '15
Early: 10/8/14
Merit Fellowship Deadline: 1/7/15
Final: 4/15/15

EMBA-Americas
Final: 10/29/14

EMBA-New York Saturday
Early: 1/12/15
Final: 3/2/15

EMBA-New York Fri/Sat
Early: 3/18/15
Final: 6/3/15

Did you Know?

38%

of the 2014 incoming class were non-US citizens

 

41,000

alumni in the Columbia Business School network

 

find out what the CBS community is thinking