Scott Edinburgh
May 27, 2022

Columbia Business School MBA Application Updates: 2022-2023

Columbia University Business School campus

It is time to get started on your Columbia Business School application as the Columbia MBA essay questions for class of 2025 business school hopefuls were just released.

The 2022-2023 Columbia Business School MBA Application Deadlines Are As Follows:

Early Decision: September 28, 2022

Merit Fellowship: January 11, 2023

Regular Decision: April 5, 2023

Read Personal MBA Coach’s Top Tips for Tackling Columbia Business School’s Essays Below!

The Columbia MBA essays changed slightly for 2022-2023 applicants

  • Essay 1 remains unchanged
  • Candidates no longer have a choice for the second and third essays and instead there are three required Columbia Business School essay questions.
  • The second CBS essay is slightly longer this year and specifically asks candidates to speak to CBS’s culture.

Given Columbia Business School’s rolling admissions, getting an early start is particularly crucial.

The three questions together will prompt MBA candidates to cover a wide range of information about their professional goals, plans on campus, personal stories and leadership styles.

Avoid repeating yourself while ensuring that the three Columbia essays work together to paint an accurate and consistent picture of your candidacy.


Columbia MBA Essay Question 1: Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words maximum)

Columbia specifically asks that candidates not repeat their resumes in this career goals question. While some mention of your professional past is still expected, it should be brief and used as context to further elaborate on why your goals are attainable. This question explicitly asks for both a short-term goal and a long-term dream job so be sure to include both.

According to Nicole Shay, former Columbia Business School Admissions Director: “Your goal should be pragmatic. The committee will be asking themselves: ‘Given the applicant’s work experience + the resources/opportunities at CBS, will this applicant be successful in achieving their short-term goal?’”

In addition, your goals should show a logical progression from your current experiences. If they do not, then a brief explanation is a good idea so that the admissions committee can understand how you will realistically attain your goals.

Discussing your long-term dream job is an opportunity to show the admissions committee your true ambitions and what really matters to you professionally. It is important that candidates have lofty goals here but ones that make sense for them and fit with both their short-term goals and overall story. This is a unique chance not only to show how you envision your career unfolding, but also to give the reader a little more insight into who you are by adding at least a brief mention of why this career interests you.

Finally, while not explicitly asked, a bit on how you will prepare for these goals while at Columbia would serve as a nice conclusion.

Columbia MBA Essay Question 2: We believe Columbia Business School is a special place. CBS proudly fosters a collaborative learning environment through curricular experiences like our clusters and learning teams, co-curricular initiatives like the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership, which aims to equip students with the skills and strategies necessary to lead in an inclusive and ethical manner, and career mentorship opportunities like our Executives-in-Residence program.

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally? (300 words)

This question takes a direct approach to addressing fit. During some previous cycles, CBS has asked candidates about their desire to be in New York City. While the current prompt addresses fit more broadly, mentioning how you plan to leverage the city would still be advised here.

With only 300 words and a lot to cover, it is important to be focused and specific. Show that you have done your research on what options are available on campus and which specifically interest you. Naturally, a tie should be made between these opportunities and your career goals.

According to Nicole: “In this essay, the committee is looking for which resources you are going to utilize to achieve your short-term goal and fulfill your social/cultural needs/interests. However, they are also looking at how you are going to contribute to the CBS community.”

This is the time to discuss the classes you hope to take, clubs you will join and other programs of interest to you, such as speaker series or immersion seminars. While we have always recommended that candidates consider culture as they answer this question (which, as we have shared in the past, is becoming increasingly important to many top business schools) this year CBS explicitly asks applicants to speak to why the CBS culture is a good fit. Be sure that you have done your research on CBS and its culture and community. Find out more about what sets CBS apart by visiting our CBS school guide. Plus, watch Personal MBA Coach’s Nicole Shay’s exclusive interview with former colleague and current CBS Adcom Director, Jordan Blitzer. Get insider information about CBS including what Jordan wishes applicants would do differently, what is new on campus and common misconceptions about CBS. This is a must see for prospective CBS students.


Columbia MBA Essay Question 3: Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)

This third Columbia Business School essay prompt (which has been asked in previous cycles) is used to get to know applicants on a personal level. A strong answer will tell admissions committee members something unique about your profile. Think here about your hobbies, passions, upbringing or values. Then select a book, movie or song with parallels to your own experience(s).

For example, perhaps you have a passion for music. Choose a movie or book about a musician with similar talents. Similarly, if you have overcome a particular hardship, a song that discusses a struggle that mirrors your own could be an ideal choice. As we often say, the what matters much less than the why in this essay.

Do not pick something you think will impress the reader or something from the New York Times Bestsellers list. Instead, pick something that you truly connect with personally.

Finally, Columbia has an optional essay. As we advise for most schools, do not feel compelled to answer this unless you have something specific to explain in your background (e.g., a career gap, an unusual recommender, extreme personal circumstances, etc.) This is not the time to spend 500 words professing your love for Columbia.

Considering Columbia Business School? Personal MBA Coach is willing to be your guide via our comprehensive services.

About Personal MBA Coach:

Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 15 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2 by leading sources. Personal MBA Coach is the #1 most favorably reviewed US Consultant of all time on Poets & Quants.

We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes former M7 admissions directors and former M7 admissions interviewers.

Last cycle, our clients earned more than $6.5M in scholarships!