Columbia’s EMBA essay questions indicate that the adcom values concision, the ability to synthesize seemingly disparate elements, and skillful decision-making. It isn’t a school that wants to learn about your multifaceted nature or experience or perspective for its own sake (at least at this point), but rather to learn about those aspects that are relevant to your goals and your MBA plans.
1. Discuss your professional and personal accomplishments. Why do they make you an ideal candidate for the Columbia Executive MBA Program at this point in your career? Explain how the Program will help you contribute to your sponsoring organization and/or your career goals. (1000 words maximum)
This is truly one of the most difficult EMBA or MBA questions around. It’s important to give yourself time to think about and put all the parts together. Let’s walk through it:
- Your personal and professional accomplishment: Ideally you’ll discuss one personal and one to two professional accomplishments. For the personal one, select something that reveals qualities or learning/growth that you can apply professionally. For the professional one(s), select experiences that are impressive, that show you making an impact, and that have some relevance (direct or indirect) to your goals. If you follow this approach, you will have a natural answer for that tricky part of the question, how these accomplishments “make you an ideal candidate” for the program.
- The second part is a more conventional goals question – what are your goals (including how you’ll contribute to your organization) and how the program will help you do so.
- A relatively natural and manageable way to structure this essay is to start with a short introductory paragraph, then discuss the accomplishments in chronological order, from there segue into your goals, and finish by discussing how the program will help you accomplish those goals.
2. (Optional) 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.
By saying “an explanation of any areas of concern” the adcom is indicating the optional essay is not an open invitation to enhance your application with any new information. It is seeking explanations for factors that need explaining, such as a low GMAT score, a gap in employment, etc. Be straightforward in your tone and succinct.