Another US News Top Ten!

US News is at it again!  The magazine’s newest top ten list is the top 10 Business Schools That Receive the Most Full-Time Applications. Not surprisingly, almost all the top 10 programs listed in US News’s rankings of the best business schools were also on the list of the top 10 business schools that received the most applications for full-time admissions in the 2010-2011 academic year (Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business was the only exception).

A total of 261 business schools provided US News with application data. On average, programs received 525 applications for admission.  But Harvard Business School surpassed them all with 9,524 applications, 32% more than the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which received the second highest number of applications.

However, the US News data does not reveal the number of students accepted into the class, making application numbers misleading. For example, Stanford has a class of fewer than 400, whereas Harvard’s class size is approximately 930. These statistics are also just a close approximation of the upcoming US News’ top 10.

Other schools that made the list of “the 10 business schools that received the most applications for full-time admission in 2010” were: University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)Columbia University, Northwestern University (Kellogg), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), New York University (Stern), University of Chicago (Booth), University of California—Berkeley (Haas), and Duke University (Fuqua).

find-out-which-b-schools-are-best-with ~ Helping You Write Your Best


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Columbia 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips.

 Our 2013 Columbia MBA Application Essay Tips are Now Online! Click Here to Check Them Out!

This Columbia MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. Check out the entire 2012 MBA Application Tips series for more valuable MBA essay advice. 

Columbia’s instructions and question are in black below; my comments and tips are in blue:?

Columbia Business School

Columbia 2012 MBA Essay Questions

In addition to learning about your professional aspirations, the Admissions Committee hopes to gain an understanding of your interests, values and motivations through these essays. How you answer these essays is at your discretion, there are no right or wrong answers and we encourage you to answer each question thoughtfully.

Dual Degree applicants: Please address the following questions within your response to Essay 1: How will the Dual Degree enhance your post-MBA and long-term professional goals?

Reapplicants: If you have applied to Columbia Business School within the past year, you are required to answer the “What is your post-MBA professional goal? ” question and submit the reapplication essay. If your last application was more than one year ago, you must answer Essays 1, 2 and 3.

Short Question

What is your post-MBA professional goal? (200 Characters)

Note the character limit. This response must be short and sweet. What do you want to do professionally in which industry? You may want to provide a geographic location if you have one and it is important to your MBA goal.

Warning: This question is not asking about intended area of study while in business school or a non-professional goal.

Essay 1

Considering your post-MBA and long term professional goals, why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? Additionally, why is Columbia Business School a good fit for you? (Maximum 750 words)

This question is slightly different from last year’s #1, which was “What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals?” Since you will have stated your post-MBA professional goal in the previous answer, you can use this question to explain why you want to pursue the degree now. What experiences convinced you that you need the education provided at Columbia?

CBS is looking for fit and thought here. How will Columbia’s program — not its reputation or ranking — help you achieve your goals? Which of Columbia’s strengths and assets are necessary for you to achieve your goals and fill in the gaps that motivate you to pursue an MBA now?

Essay 2

Describe a life experience that has shaped you. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally. (Maximum 500 words)

Do you have any defining moments? What was a seminal experience in your development and maturation? What happened? What was the impact upon you? What do you do differently as a result? This is an excellent place to provide a glimpse into the non-professional side of you.

Essay 3 (Select and answer one of the below) 

Option A: The annual A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition is a student initiative managed and run by the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). The competition encourages Columbia MBA students to explore creative entrepreneurial ideas that are sufficiently ambitious in scope and scale to be considered “outrageous.” Students explore these ideas while learning firsthand what goes into the development and presentation of a solid business proposal.

Develop your own “outrageous” business idea. In essay form, compose your “elevator pitch.” (Maximum 250 words)

Option B: Columbia deeply values its vibrant student community, the building of which begins at orientation when admitted students are assigned to clusters of 65 to 70 fellow students who take most of the first-year core classes together. During the first weeks of school, each cluster selects a Cluster Chair. Further strengthening the student community are the nearly 100 active student organizations at Columbia Business School, ranging from cultural to professional to community service-oriented. Leadership positions within the cluster and/or clubs offer hands-on management and networking opportunities for students as they interact with fellow students, administrators, faculty members, alumni, and practitioners.

You are running for either Cluster Chair or a club leadership position of your choosing. Compose your campaign speech. (Maximum 250 words) 

Option C: Founded nearly three decades ago, the Executives in Residence Program at Columbia Business School integrates senior executives into the life of the School. Current executives in residence include more than a dozen experts in areas ranging from media and investment banking to private equity and management. A hallmark of the program is one-on-one counseling sessions in which executives advise students about their prospective career choices.

Select one of the current executives in residence with whom you would like to meet during your time at Columbia. Explain your selection and tell us how you would best utilize your half hour one-on-one session. (Maximum 250 words)

Choose the option that will be easiest for you to answer and that will add the most value and insight to what you have already written. It will probably be related to your goal. Columbia wants to again see that you have given real thought to what you will do and how you will use the opportunities at Columbia Business School. What will you contribute?

And be succinct. These essays have 250-word limits.

Optional Essay

Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee? Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.  (Maximum 500 words)

Clearly you can use this optional essay question to address a weakness in your profile or qualifications, but in my mind, this question is also open-ended enough to allow you to discuss a diversity element in your personal background or simply some unique area of interest. Also, tucking a weakness explanation somewhere else would allow you to end the application with a strength and not a flaw.

Don’t use this essay as a grand finale or wrap up. And definitely don’t use it to rehash your reasons for wanting to attend Columbia; they should be perfectly clear from the required essays. If you decide to respond to this essay, use it to educate the reader about another talent, interest, or commitment of yours. As always try to show leadership and impact. In short, give them more reasons to admit you.

Reapplicant Essay

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. (Maximum of 750 words.) This essay should be inserted into the text box designated “Essay 1.”

This question gives clear instructions as to what Columbia is interested in. Your answer, like all MBA reapplicant essays, should focus on how you have improved yourself since you last applied. Why are you a better candidate this year than last year?  And don’t forget to answer the Columbia community part of the question.

If you would like professional guidance with your Columbia  MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our Columbia Business School MBA Packages.  

Columbia September 2012 MBA Deadlines

August 2012 Entry:

Early Decision: October 5, 2011

Merit Fellowship Consideration: January 4, 2012

Regular Decision: April 11, 2012

January 2012 Entry:

October 5, 2011

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

U.S. News Ranks Best EMBA Programs

U.S. News & World Report just released its annual Execute MBA rankings, which we’ve posted below.

Top 10 Best Executive MBA Programs

1. University of Pennsylvania Wharton

2. Chicago Booth

3. Northwestern Kellogg

4. Duke Fuqua

5. Columbia

6. NYU Stern

6. UCLA Anderson

8. Michigan Ross

9. UC Berkeley Haas

10. UNC Kenan-Flagler

You’ll see that this list varies only slightly from the Poets & Quants best EMBA list that we posted yesterday. You can also compare this list to U.S. News‘ list of best business schools and you’ll find that if a school is regarded as the best for its MBA program, then it likely offers a top EMBA program as well. 

(Please see U.S. News‘ “Business School Rankings Methodology” for details on how these programs were chosen.) ~ Helping You Write Your Best


Top 20 EMBA Programs in North America

Top executive MBA programs in America are charging an arm and a leg —is it worth it? That’s the topic of a recent CNN Money Fortune/Poets & Quants article, “Executive MBAs: Great, if you can foot the bill,” which reports that if people are willing to pay the sky-high prices for an EMBA degree, they’ll likely graduate with a high paying salary and a positive attitude towards their educational experience.

Top programs, like those at Wharton, offer very similar curriculums to their regular MBA programs, yet are charging almost $65,000 more (for a total of more than $160,000). (Other top 10 EMBA programs charge slightly less, with Booth at $142,000, Kellogg at $153,900, and Columbia at $148,320.)

Studies show that 97% of EMBA graduates are “overwhelmingly satisfied” with their educations, despite the high tuition, and that the programs “met or exceeded their expectations when it comes to impact on their careers and their organizations.” According to the latest Executive MBA Council study, one-third of EMBA graduates received promotions at work; 44% received more responsibilities at work; and EMBAs in general reported an average 11.4% salary increase, from $127,955 to $142,534. And this is just following the great recession!

The article refers readers over to the new Poets & Quants for Executives website that ranks the 50 best executive MBA programs in North America based on a combination of ratings from The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and U.S. News & World Report. You can view a summary of P&Q ranking methodology on the bottom of this page.

You should read the full Fortune/P&Q article and review the full rankings for more information. In the meantime, here are the top 20 EMBA programs according to the new Poets & Quants for Executives website:

Top 20 Executive MBA Programs in North America

1.      Wharton

2.      Chicago Booth

3.      Northwestern Kellogg

4.      Columbia Business School

5.      NYU Stern

6.      Michigan Ross

7.      UCLA Anderson

8.      Cornell Johnson

9.      Texas McCombs

10.  USC Marshall

11.  Duke Fuqua

12.  UNC Kenan-Flagler

13.  Berkeley/Columbia

14.  Washington Olin

15.  Emory Goizueta

16.  Boston University

17.  Georgetown McDonough

18.  Thunderbird

19.  Rice University Jones

20.  Southern Methodist Cox ~ Helping You Write Your Best

U.S. News’ Best Business Schools 2012



U.S. News just released its 2012 MBA rankings just a few hours ago, and with them, a number of good articles and resources. First we’ll give you the top 20 best U.S. business schools, and then we’ll direct you to some of the meaty articles.

2012 Best Business Schools

1. Stanford GSB

2. Harvard Business School

3. MIT Sloan

3. Pennsylvania Wharton

5. Northwestern Kellogg

5. Chicago Booth

7. Dartmouth Tuck

7. UC Berkeley Haas

9. Columbia

10. NYU Stern

10. Yale SOM

12. Duke Fuqua

13. UVA Darden

14. UCLA Anderson

14. Michigan Ross

16. Cornell Johnson

17. Texas McCombs

18. CMU Tepper

19. UNC Kenan-Flagler

20. Washington Olin

For more information please see:

  • The Sustainable MBA” – This article highlights the ways in which the MBA degree has gone green. Courses that used to focus on finance and profit now focus on those things as well as on how they relate to larger social and environmental issues. A number of programs have sprung up around the country that focus on sustainability. Buzzwords include “impact investing” and “social entrepreneurship.”
  • Reinventing the MBA” – This article is about the goals business educators are working to bring about, mainly “to de-emphasize traditional discipline-based courses like marketing and finance in favor of a focus on leadership skills, innovation, social responsibility, and a global perspective.” Many top schools are introducing new curricula that focus more on leadership development.
  • Business School Ranking Methodology” – Please see this article for details on how the business school rankings were determined.

For a better understanding of why the data behind the rankings is much more valuable than the rankings themselves — a view I have espoused for years — please see “Winners and Losers in the 2011 US News Rankings.”

Discover the answers you need to interpret the MBA rankings and learn how to use them to evaluate top MBA programs around the world by downloading’s FREE special report MBA Rankings now! ~ Helping You Write Your Best

More Business and Law Connections at Columbia

As reported by New York Lawyer, Columbia University has announced the launch of The Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law and Public Policy, aided with a $10 million gift from the Richard Paul and Ellen S. Richman Private Family Foundation. The academic research center will concentrate on the intersection of business and law, connecting both Columbia Law School and Business School. The center will also “help develop curriculum for Columbia’s new three-year J.D./MBA program.” ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Financial Times Global 2011 MBA Rankings

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for—the Financial Times published its 2011 ranking of global MBA programs!

First the rankings; then some thoughts.

Top 20 Global MBA Programs (last year’s position is in parentheses)

1. London Business School – UK (1)

1. University of Pennsylvania Wharton – USA (2)

3. Harvard Business School – USA (3)

4. INSEAD – France/Singapore (5)

4. Stanford GSB – USA (4)

6. Hong Kong UST Business School – China (10)

7. Columbia Business School – USA (6)

8. IE Business School – Spain (6)

9. MIT Sloan – USA (8)

9. IESE Business School – Spain (11)

11. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) – India (unranked)

12. Chicago Booth – USA (9)

13. Indian School of Business – India (12)

14. IMD – Switzerland (15)

15. New York University Stern – USA (13)

15. Yale School of Management – USA (16)

17. Ceibs – China (22)

18. Dartmouth Tuck – USA (13)

18. HEC Paris – France (18)

20. Duke Fuqua – USA (20)

As you see above, this year there are some surprises, although the top 5 haven’t changed much. Among the surprises:

  • Hong Kong UST vaulted to #6 from #16 two years ago and is ranked ahead of MIT Sloan, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, and Tuck.
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), grabbed #11 – even though it wasn’t ranked previously by FT.
  • US leaders like Kellogg (#21) and Chicago (#12) and many other prominent US schools did not fare well, and tend not to do well in the FT global rankings.

A bit on the FT methodology: To be ranked, business schools need to be accredited, to have been open for at least four years, and must have at least 30 students in each class. 156 business schools fit this description this year and participated in the school survey provided. The data for rankings is collected from alumni and from the schools themselves.

To determine the top 100 schools, the following three areas are analyzed: diversity and international reach, alumni salaries and career development, and research capabilities. These three categories are then further broken down into 20 specific criteria that are further analyzed to determine the rankings.

For a more detailed description of the methodology, see “Getting to grips with the method.” ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Admissions News Round Up

  • A Daily Pennsylvanian article, “New Wharton initiative to focus on consumer analytics” discusses the Wharton’s new data-driven customer-oriented research center. The groundbreaking Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative “helps companies analyze data about customer preferences in order to maximize profits.” The initiative will be integrated into Wharton’s undergraduate curriculum; consumer analytics will appeal to students who like “crunching numbers” and will give them options beyond the traditional finance major.
  • Starting with the MBA class of 2011, Berkeley Haas graduates will be offered free executive education programs through the school’s Center for Executive Education. This applies to graduates from Berkeley’s full-time program, Evening & Weekend program, and the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA program, and includes two days of free executive training to be used within five years of graduating. The initiative stays faithful to the school’s focus on being “Students Always,” one of four defining principles of the top business school. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work more closely with our alumni,” says Whitney Hischier, MBA 01, assistant dean for executive learning at Haas. “MBA graduation is literally just the beginning of our relationship with the student—we expect to connect with alumni throughout the course of their professional career.” (Source: “Future MBA Alumni to Receive Free Exec Ed Course,” Haas School Newsroom)
  • The Bay Area has become an MBA program hot spot, reports a San Francisco Business Times article. Babson College, Hult International Business School, and Cornell-Queens have recently opened part-time professional and executive degree programs in or around San Francisco. These programs join the ranks of other area EMBA programs, including Berkeley-Columbia.
  • Business schools are working to strengthen ties with recruiters, reports a Wall Street Journal article, “Schools solicit advice from employers.” For example, career service departments are taking recruiter feedback more seriously, especially feedback that focuses on graduates’ shortcomings. In response to such criticism, schools are adjusting their courses so that students are better prepared for the sort of work and real-life challenges that these recruiters demand. “We’ve had to be more sensitive to companies’ needs,” says Rich Lyons, dean of the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “Because of the horrific job downturn and competition for positions, we’ve had to work even harder to get our graduates in front of employers.” The thinking is that the more proactive a school is at implementing change based on recruiting companies’ feedback, the better chances that school’s graduates will have at landing jobs in the tough job market. 

Application Volume Soars at Top Colleges

We recently posted an article on the increase of applications at Harvard; apparently it’s not the only school experiencing an undergraduate application boom. A few more articles were recently published which report on record-breaking application increases at other top colleges in the U.S.

According to a article, applications at Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania hit an all-time high this year. There were more than 29,500 Duke applicants for next year (a 10% increase over last year), and 30,800 applicants to Penn (a 14% increase). The main attraction? New financial aid policies.

With sticker prices exceeding the $50,000/year mark, many families rely heavily on financial aid packages to make the possibility of attending a top school a reality. The article states that Duke has a “need-blind” admissions policy and will “meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.”

Eric J. Furda, Penn’s dean of admissions, explains Penn’s application increase: “We believe that one of the primary reasons for this significant increase is Penn’s no-loan financial aid policies, which enable students who qualify for aid to graduate free of debt.”

According to a second article in The Daily Pennsylvanian, Columbia, Princeton, MIT, Brown, Stanford, and Dartmouth have also hit record highs in their undergraduate application volumes. Columbia saw a 32% increase over last year; Princeton experienced a 3.3% increase; MIT’s application volume increased by 7%, as did Stanford’s; and Brown and Dartmouth each saw 2.9% and 15.7% increases, respectively.

With Columbia accepting the Common Application for the first time, this past application cycle “marked the first year in which every Ivy League school accepted the Common Application.” The ease of applying with the Common App helped contribute to the increase of applications at these top schools.

A third article on the application boom discusses the record level undergraduate application increases at UCLA. UCLA received 81,235 applications, 6.4% increase over last year. The total for all UC schools combined was 142,235, a 6.1% increase from last year. UC San Diego experienced the greatest increase at 11.2%. The article elaborates on the specific increases for freshman, transfer students, various ethnicities, California residents, out-of-state applicants, and international applicants. You can view more information by downloading an info sheet from the University of California Office of the President website.

While not touched on so much in these articles, the surge in applications probably also stems from increasing use of the Common Application. That tool simply makes it easier to apply to more schools. Ironically, the Common App, which was intended to reduce stress and ease the college admission process, has led to a situation of heightened stress, more intense competition, and a greater insanity in the admissions process.

The Law of Unintended Consequences runs amok. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Admissions News: CEOs, EMBA Salaries, iPads, and More!


  • A BusinessWeek article discusses the disproportionate number of Fortune 500 CEOs who trace their educational credentials to Ivy League schools, in particular to Harvard, Columbia, and Penn. Of the 500 “corporate bigwigs,” nearly 100 come from one of these three schools (from both the undergrad and graduate pools). Also, only 174 of the 500 CEOs have MBAs. 200 have no graduate degree at all, and 19 never even graduated college. (Source: “Harvard, Columbia, Penn Claim Most Fortune 500 CEOs,” BusinessWeek)
  • My, how times have changed! Check out The MBA Show’s video on the (heavily dramatized) awarding of the first Harvard MBA – “Here’s to C-students finally having a professional school that they can attend.”
  • An Executive MBA Council press release reveals the results of the Executive MBA Council 2010 Student Exit Benchmarking Survey. In 2010, EMBA graduates earned, on average, 11.4% more from the beginning of their programs to the end, compared to a 9.4% increase in 2009. 37% of students received promotions by the end of their program, and 68% reported that they received new responsibilities during the course of their program.
  • Traditional letters of recommendation are fixtures of the past at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, reports a recent Wall Street Journal article. Instead, recommenders are required to provide a Personal Potential Index (PPI) score – a grade based on an applicant’s creativity, communication, and resilience from “below average” to “truly exceptional.” Additional written feedback is optional.
  • Finally, a slew of articles point to the Apple iPad as the hottest new b-school accessory. According to a U.S. News article, “M.B.A. Programs Are Biting Apple’s iPad,” “Students are enamored with the devices and business professors are warming to them.” According to a Wall Street Journal article on the subject, MIT adcoms are just as enthralled with the iPads as the students are. And a third article, BW‘s “Apple iPad Enters the MBA Classroom,” discusses how iPads are starting to replace textbooks in MBA classrooms. 

Still don’t have an iPad? Enter’s MBA Interview iPad Giveaway by filling out an interview questionnaire after each of your MBA interviews. Each questionnaire counts as a single entry towards the iPad drawing! Share your experiences and gain a chance to win the hottest gadget of the year! ~ Helping You Write Your Best