Columbia B-School Deadlines, Essays & Analysis, Letter of Recommendation Questions (Class of 2015, Starting Fall 2013)


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Short Answer Question

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (200 characters maximum)

Examples of possible responses

“After my MBA I want to build my expertise in the energy sector and learn more about strategy and decision making by joining a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy and power companies.”

“After my MBA I hope to work in business development for a media company that is expanding its market share in Asia.”

“My short term goal is to work with an investment firm that utilizes public private partnerships to invest in community development projects.”

Essay 1:

A. Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career, and how do you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals? (Maximum 500 words)

B. Please view this video, entitled Community at Columbia. Diverse, tight-knit clusters and carefully selected learning teams are defining features of the first year at Columbia Business School. Along with more than 100 student organizations and countless events each semester, the cluster system helps to create a supportive and devoted lifelong community. Describe why you are interested in becoming a part of the Columbia community. (Maximum 250 words)

Essay 2:

Describe a personal experience and how it has influenced who you are today. This essay should have a personal rather than a professional focus. (Maximum 500 words)

Optional Essay

An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.



  1. What is your relationship to and how long have you known the applicant? Is he or she still employed by your organization?
  2. Please list three to five adjectives describing the applicant’s strengths.
  3. Please compare the applicant’s performance to that of his or her peers.
  4. What does the applicant do best?
  5. If you were giving feedback to the applicant regarding his or her professional performance and personal effectiveness, in what areas would you suggest he or she work to improve?
  6. How does the applicant accept constructive criticism or handle conflicts?
  7. How effective are the applicant’s interpersonal skills in the workplace?
  8. Please rate the applicant’s individual vs. team orientation (1 = most effective as an individual contributor; 5 = focused exclusively on the team)
    Please elaborate on your rating:
  9. Please give an example of how the applicant has demonstrated leadership.
  10. Is there anything else you feel we should know?