Columbia Business School Deadlines, Essays & Analysis (Class of 2012, Starting Fall 2010)

DEADLINES [table id=6/] * Applicants who wish to be considered for a merit-based fellowship must submit a complete application by 11:59PM EST on January 6, 2010. Fellowship recipients for the September class are announced between January and May.

NOTE: Columbia lengthened its review period from 8 weeks to 10 and 12 weeks respectively. They might have gotten slammed last year with applications and want to give themselves more evaluation time this year. Clearly, they expect this year to be as tough or even tougher than last year.


Essay 1 What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (Recommended 750 word limit)

Analysis: Straight up - please see The MBA Goals Essay and Why MBA School X?

Essay 2 Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. (View link below) Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. (Recommended 500 word limit)

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Analysis: Columbia launched its Master Class program last year, and they must have liked the responses this question yielded since they've kept it this year as well. To answer it properly, you need to walk a fine line, by describing an experience (in reality, an accomplishment) before which you had certain expectations, thoughts or beliefs - a theory about how it would work - before reality got in the way, usually due to human factors, which forced you to adapt, expand, or apply the theory in a different way in order to succeed. (In this way, this essay is quite similar to a typical leadership essay.) You cannot discount the value of theory completely, of course, since theory is a cornerstone of any MBA curriculum. By the end of the essay, you should have shown how theory served as a starting point, but how practice made it real.

Essay 3 Please provide an example of a team failure of which you’ve been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (Recommended 500 word limit)

Analysis: This is a fairly typical failure essay with the exception of the team context. There are a few ways to approach it. One is to choose an experience in which you played a direct role in the failure, perhaps as a leader or one of the leaders of the team. In this case, the team's failure should be a direct result of your actions or inactions. (e.g., if you were the leader but you tried to do everything by yourself thereby missing a deadline and alienating your teammates.) The other approach is to put yourself in the role of observer, watching the failure happen as a member of the team. I think the former can provide a more powerful essay, since directly causing a team failure would almost certainly provide stronger lessons, relative to a passive failure shared by all. I recommend choosing an experience that happened earlier in your career so you can show not only what you would do differently, but what you did do differently afterwards. In some cases, the lessons you learned in Essay 3 might have paved the way for your success in Essay 2. Not always though. Don't force the connection if it isn't there.

Required for Reapplicants How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate your short-term and long-term goals. Explain how the tools of the Columbia MBA will help you to meet your goals and how you plan to participate in the Columbia community . (Recommended 750 word limit).