Columbia Business School

Year Founded: 1916
City: New York
State: New York
Country: United States
Average GMAT: 732 

About #

Columbia Business school prides itself at being ‘At the Very Center of Business’. Located in the financial and business hub of New York City, CBS is a diverse and inclusive campus producing some of the world’s most influential leaders in the industry. 

With faculty at the forefront of their research and fields and an alumni network that spans the globe, CBS Students are able to learn, study, and grow in the center of global business. 

Breaking with business tradition, of vertical organization, CBS recognizes the need for horizontal and collaborate models of business. CBS encourages interdisciplinary faculty as a way to create innovative minds in future business leaders. CBS prides itself on creating a space which ‘encourages the development of social and intelligence-based skills…the creation and strengthening of social networks…[and] the integration of cutting-edge technology.’  

Ranking #

USNews – Best Business Schools: #7
USNews – Executive MBA: #4
QS Global MBA Rankings 2021: #8

MBA Program Brief Overview #

The world is changing, and Columbia Business School’s MBA Model prepares their students to become leaders in new and every changing global environments. A broad curriculum develops the foundations needed to successful leadership, all while giving students to opportunity to specialize in their preferred area of expertise. Students leave their MBA program at CBS with the skills to think up unique and innovative solutions to today’s most pressing business challenges. From 2016, CBS required all students to complete 18 credits of mandatory classes and 42 credits of elective courses.

Year One Description #

The first year at Columbia University constitutes courses which provide students with the broad management skills necessary to excel in the industry. 

Fall Semester Mandatory Classes

  • Financial Accounting (Full Term)
  • Corporate Finance (Full Term)
  • Managerial Statistics
  • Strategy Formulation
  • Managerial Economics

Spring Semester Mandatory Classes

  • Business Analytics
  • Marketing
  • Global Economic Environment

Year Two Description #

During the second year, students are able to choose from a number of elective courses which are aimed at helping them build on the basic concepts from the first year. Students are allowed to take up to five courses per semester and are able to cross-register for courses in other graduate programs. The elective curriculum aims to offer students depth, breadth, or both, depending on their choice. They are able to choose from over 100 courses in ten different subject areas, and can also enroll in field-based learning opportunities.

Unique Aspects #

MBA Cluster System

CBS recognizes the value in building a strong community. Because of this, CBS assigns all incoming MBA students to clusters. These clusters are comprised of 65-70 students, all of which represent the diversity in skills, culture, and background of CBS as a whole. Each cluster shares their academic experience by attending all mandatory courses with each other. This system helps strengthen the bonds between students and allow for a more open environment to work together and challenge ideas. 

Learning Teams

From each cluster, smaller ‘Learning Teams’ are formed. These teams are made up of around 5 students from diverse backgrounds. The teams are then tasked with working together to complete assignments from their core courses and across diverse fields. This intimate style of team building allows MBA students to make lasting connections which allow for a more encompassing and enduring education. 

Student Life #

CBS has over 100 student-led clubs to choose from. Each allows students to garner unique skills and explore their various interests. CBS also gives their students access to world-reknown business leaders who present on various topics. Past speakers include Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Henry Kissinger. Student clubs also host well-known conferences which attract globally known speakers and alumni. In addition to clubs, CBS’ location in New York City means exploring city life with fellow students while taking advantage of the many bars, restaurants and scenic views that NYC has to offer. 

Applicant Requirements #

All accepted students share the same qualities: 

  • Strong work ethic
  • a readiness to build professional and personal relationships
  • A determination to have a positive impact of the world


All applicants must submit a transcript of either a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent from an accredited institution. These documents are to be submitted as PDFs and must include all transcripts from which a degree has been earned. Once an offer of admission has been received, accepted applicants must submit official (encrypted) copies. Only after official documents are submitted and verified is the offer of admission binding. 


Either GMAT, GRE or EA scores must be submitted by applicants. CBS considers test scored valid for 5 years past the test date. All scores must be submitted within three weeks of the submission of application. CBS considers only the highest score submitted. A composite score is not consider. 

Essay Description

All applicants are meant to submit responses to one short answer question and three essays. Depending on career and academic goals, essays can be submitted for consideration to fellowship programs. These fellowships include the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship and the Wieger Fellowship. Applicants who wish to submit to the Deferred Enrollment Program must answer a series of 3 short answer questions. 

Essay Question 1

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Essay Question 2

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)

Essay Question 3

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)


Applicants who are applying to CBS for the first time are asked to submit recommendations from two recommenders. One recommender should be from a current direct supervisor (for those applicants who have worked longer than 6-months). The other should come from either another former direct supervisor or a senior professional associate. For those candidates who have worked fewer than 6-months should still submit two recommendation letters. One from an individual able to comment on the candidates managerial skills and another from a college professor. The word limit for recommendations are 1000 words. 

The following inquiries should be answered by your recommenders:  

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.


Interviews are conducted by CBS alumni. Interviews are conducted based on geographic location, and are done via-invite only once an application is submitted and complete. 

Fee Description

The application fee for CBS is $250. The fee must be paid via Visa or MasterCard. Fee waivers are available for qualified candidates, including full-time students, active duty US Military personnel and Peace Corps members.  

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