The Admissions Team At The Very Center Of Business

Listen to the show!If Columbia Business School is the name you doodle on back of your notebooks, then you’ll want to get to know the folks who hold the key to acceptance.

Click here to listen to the recording of our conversation with the CBS admissions team – although they sound more like a family- and find out what the masterminds who shape the MBA class have to say about the admissions process and Columbia B-School.

00:03:18 – Meet the Columbia Business School Admission Team and hear why they love their jobs!

00:08:00 – An overview of the 2-year MBA Program at Columbia.

00:11:04 – What the J-Term is and who it’s for.

00:14:55 – A preview of the 2015-16 application, and what they’re looking for in this year’s essays.

00:18:07 – No longer a pilot program: No-cosignor loans available for international students.

00:20:58 – Why apply early decision.

00:24:13 – The journey of a submitted CBS application.

00:27:07 – The format and purpose of a CBS interview.

00:30:00 – Great features of CBS that the adcom members wish prospective students would know about.

00:36:47 – Suggestions for waitlisted applicants.

00:39:44  – Rejection does happen. What next?

00:44:27  – Ingredients of a successful application.

00:48:38  – The most common MBA application mistake. (But you won’t do this, right?)

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of

Related Links:

Columbia MBA Admissions
• Columbia J-Term
• Columbia JTerm app to be Released Early
• Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller
• Columbia 2014-15 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines
• Get Accepted to Columbia Business School – free webinar recording

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Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller

Click here for more MBA student InterviewsThis interview is the latest in an blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Kendall Miller, a student at Columbia Business School.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you tell us three fun facts about yourself?

Kendall: I originally hail from the Midwest, growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and attending Indiana University where I graduated with honors in Finance. Afterwards, I spent four years working in Chicago as a management consultant before finally making it to New York!

Three fun facts about me: I have traveled to 30 countries in under 30 years, my favorite films are The Godfather and When Harry Met Sally, and for New Year’s Eve this year I went to a house party in Valparaiso, Chile, where I knew no one.

Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?

Kendall: Currently I am a second year at Columbia Business School.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Columbia so far? If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Kendall: While I have lots of favorite things about Columbia, I can narrow it down to two. First, the core classes last only a semester and you have the option to test out of core subjects. Coming from a degree in Finance and a consulting background, I was itching to get to interesting electives instead of repeating content I already knew. Second, being in New York for graduate school is amazing. The number and seniority of guest lecturers in class is largely due to the fact they just have to taxi up to campus from their office, and I’m able to be constantly networking in the city. At least once a week I am at an event off-campus, meeting people outside of the MBA community.

If I were to change one thing, it would be to have more group work space in the school. However, I do know this is a priority for the new property being developed.

Accepted: Where did you intern last summer? What role did Columbia play in helping you secure that position?

Kendall: Last summer I was lucky enough to live in Milan, Italy, working for a luxury eCommerce company called Yoox. I attribute this internship entirely to Columbia, as the CEO and co-General Manager both went to Columbia for their MBAs, and they used the resume book at school to reach out to potential candidates. My consulting background was also a huge help, as the group I was working in (Office of the CEO) consisted almost entirely of ex-consultants.

More recently I have been interning part time in the city for Moda Operandi, another luxury eCommerce company. Many people at Columbia who are interested in careers in retail, startups, venture capital and private equity do internships during the school year, particularly if they are a career switcher. Again, this is only possible because we are in the city.

Columbia also offers “block week” classes, which are accelerated classes taken at the beginning of the semester, allowing students to free up time during the school year for work.

Accepted: And do you have a job lined up yet for when you graduate? Again, how did Columbia help you during that process?

Kendall: After school I will be returning to Deloitte Consulting, which sponsored my school tuition. However, last year during the internship search I used the career office often, for resume and cover letter reviews, interview prep, and guidance when deciding between offers. The alumni network is also very valuable, and industry-specific alumni career coaches provided some of the best feedback and advice I have received to-date.

And I can’t forget the Executives in Residence! These individuals may or may not be alumni, but they are all veteran executives with expertise in a specific industry and hold weekly office hours to discuss career questions with students. I met with two in my first year when I was exploring options.

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to b-school easier?

Kendall: If you are coming from a non-traditional background, I would suggest brushing up on Excel skills and getting a primer in either accounting or corporate finance. Yes, these are both core classes, but it’s better not to be caught flat footed. Getting back into the swing of weekly (or daily) homework assignments was hard for me, and it does require careful planning because there are so many things vying for your attention, and you constantly feel like it’s the “last and only opportunity” for everything.

Accepted: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the MBA admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Kendall: Most challenging for me was nailing down exactly what I wanted to do after school, and being able to create a coherent and well-developed narrative that tied in the MBA. It sounded clichéd, when others said I needed to have an exact job in mind. Wasn’t I going to school to figure that out? Once I was able to do that, writing my essays became so much easier, and I was able to seek out the schools that best fit my goals. Many people do change their story, their minds, once they get to school – but two years is only so long, and you don’t want to spend all of it trying to figure out what you want to do post-graduation. At some point, you need to lock that down so that networking, training, and interviewing can be focused and successful.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages. 

 You can read more about Kendall’s journey by checking out her website, Thank you Kendall for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Free on-demand webinar: Get Accepted to Columbia Business School!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

MBA In Sight: Focus on Finance
• Columbia Business School 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
B-School Student Interviews

Columbia Jterm App to be Released Early

Columbia Jterm Releases Application Early

Columbia releases its Jterm application in April.

For those of you who can’t wait to move forward with your 2016 MBA applications — especially those of you interested in Columbia Business School‘s January entry option (AKA Jterm)–I’ve got good news:

The Columbia Jterm application for the 2015-16 application cycle will be available on April 23, 2015.  You can learn more by registering for Columbia’s MBA Virtual Session: January Entry  Experience to be held on April 22.

And you can become an absolute expert on Columbia admissions by tuning into the Admissions Straight Talk April 22 show, when I will explore CBS MBA admissions with a special focus on JTerm by interviewing representatives from CBS’ MBA admissions office.  (Even better: subscribe to AST and then you can’t miss it!)

There will also be an On-Campus Information Session in July for Columbia Jterm applicants. (Registration & exact date TBA).

The application deadline for Columbia Jterm is October 7, 2015.

Can you believe it? The 2014-15 MBA application season isn’t even over, and the next one is beginning. It’s almost like ever-expanding sports seasons. Let the fun begin!

Free on-demand webinar: Get Accepted to Columbia Business School!

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know
• Columbia Business School 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
• MBA Application Timing

U.S. News 2016 Best Graduate Business Schools

U.S. News released its graduate school rankings today. Let’s see how our top b-schools fared…

Top 20 U.S. B-Schools – 2016

Visit our b-school zone page for info on the top business schools.1. Stanford GSB (1)
2. Harvard Business School (1)
3. UPenn Wharton (1)
4. Chicago Booth (4)
5. MIT Sloan (5)
6. Northwestern Kellogg (6)
7. UC Berkeley Haas (7)
8. Columbia Business School (8)
9. Dartmouth Tuck (9)
10. UVA Darden (11)
11. NYU Stern (10)
11. Michigan Ross (11)
13. Duke Fuqua (14)
13. Yale SOM (13)
15. UCLA Anderson (16)
16. Cornell Johnson (17)
17. Texas McCombs (15)
18. UNC Kenan-Flagler (19)
19. Washington Olin (22)
20. CMU Tepper (18)

25% of US News rankings is made up of survey responses from business school deans and directors; 15% is based on recruiters’ survey responses. The remaining 60% is based on statistical data reflecting program selectivity and placement success. (For details, read up on U.S. News methodology.)

Here are some highlights from the Poets & Quants article on the rankings:

• Last year’s three-way Stanford/Harvard/Wharton tie was broken this year with each school taking one of the first three spots (Stanford in first, HBS in second, and Wharton in third).

• The P&Q article states that Wharton’s slip to third is due to lower peer assessment and corporate recruiter survey scores.

• Wharton also reported an acceptance rate of 20.7%, up from last year’s 18.7% — this is another metric used by U.S. News in their methodology.

• Another factor contributing to Wharton’s position this year is its position regarding salary and bonus. Last year it took top slot at $141,243, while this year it slipped to fourth place at $142,574 – yes, higher than last year, but this year, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford reported even higher salaries/bonuses (HBS took the cake at $144,936 this year).

• Stanford’s top stats this year: average GMAT – 732; average GPA – 3.74; acceptance rate – 7.1%.

• In the top 20, there weren’t significant changes beyond a given school moving up or down a couple places. But further down in the rankings there were some big shifts. Texas A&M jumped 10 places to 27th place (tied with Carlson); Wake Forest jumped 13 places to 45th place; and Louisville moved up at least 31 places to 71st place – it was previously unranked.

• Big drops include Missouri Trulaske which fell 21 places from 58th to 79th place; Pepperdine Graziadio which fell at least 25 places, from last year’s 76th place to its unranked position this year.

Wondering how much rankings should play a roll in determining where you apply? Watch the video below for Linda Abraham’s answer:

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2015
• What’s an MBA Really Worth?
• PayScale: How Much Can You Earn, and How to Earn It?

Global EMBA 2015 Essay Tips

Click here to learn more EMBA essay tips

You need to know what “global leader” means to you.

The Global EMBA has 2 program options: EMBA-Global Americas & Europe which combines the strengths of Columbia University and London Business School; and EMBA-Global Asia, with Columbia University, London Business School, and Hong Kong University Business School.  

Of course all MBA and EMBA applications are about “fit.”  The Global EMBA is too – just more so.  This adcom really focuses on fit, because the program is so unique and intense.  And the concept of “global leader” is a critical part of that fit.  How it’s embodied will be unique to each applicant; ensure that your essays reflect your own mindset and vision of global leadership.  

The adcom also looks for applicants who truly understand and will make productive use of this distinctive educational opportunity, which comprises multiple campuses and schools each with its own particular focus, opportunities, and areas of excellence.  

The three essay questions vary in approach, thus requiring you to present yourself effectively from different angles.  There’s a fairly classic goals essay, a “story” (behavioral) essay, and an open “statement.”  The challenge is to employ a consistent individual voice while also adapting it to the various essay types.


Essay 1 (maximum 500 words)

Why do you wish to participate in the EMBA-Global programme? What do you hope to experience and how will participation in this programme help you to achieve your objectives?

Here’s that goals question.  First a note about the nuance of the question: notice the words wish, hope, experience, and participate/participation.  These words imply an immersive, personal, community, collaborative orientation.  In the essay (and indeed throughout the application) show how you fit with this holistic approach.

Structure: I’ve found that it’s intuitive and logical to start the essay by discussing your goals – the objectives at the very end of the question.  (And add a word about what motivates them.)  You will then naturally move into what you hope to experience from the program, because your professional goals create your learning needs.  This part can (indeed should) include a personal component as well.  To address participation, discuss elements beyond the classroom where you will learn and contribute, such as clubs, social interactions, etc.

Essay 2 (maximum 500 words)

Please describe a situation either work or personal where you faced a particular challenge. What was the outcome and what did you learn from the experience about your own strengths and personal development needs?

This is the story.  I suggest selecting a topic that’s relatively recent.  Make it a situation with some significant stakes, and one that yielded meaningful insight, growth, and change.  

Structure: Jump right into the story.  Avoid preambles that give away the ending!  This straightforward approach grips the reader and frees up space for detail and narrative, which is the way to grip the reader.  As you walk through what happened, highlight your actions and add in snippets of what you were thinking (and even feeling).  Conclude with a paragraph reflecting on what you learned about your strengths and development needs.

Personal statement (maximum 500 words)

Please tell us about yourself and your background. How do you embody the characteristics of a future global leader? The objective of this statement is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally.

First, think.  Selecting content is not so easy when faced with an open question such as this.  There is no one formula that will work for everyone.  Some people might best focus on aspects of their cultural milieu and its formative influence on their values and perspective.  Others might focus on pivotal experiences during university, others yet on influential role model(s) or relationships.  Many people will appropriately discuss more than one of these things.

The adcom knows that the term “global leader” is abstract and that it will be manifested uniquely in each “real” global leader.  So rather than trying to fit your experiences to the concept of global leader, work from the other direction: start with your experiences and background and elucidate how they will help make you a unique, individual global leader.  

Last but not least, you need to know what “global leader” means to you and what kind of global leader you aspire to be.  You can’t just use the phrase without defining it for the adcom.   You have to create the picture.

Remaining deadlines:

EMBA Global Americas & Europe:  02 March 2015

EMBA-Global Asia:  20 March 2015
Download your free copy of Ace the EMBA!
Cindy Tokumitsu

By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

Related Resources:

• School-Specific Executive MBA Essay Tips
• The GMAT and EMBA Programs
• Tips for Executive MBA Reapplicants