Scott Edinburgh
December 20, 2023

Columbia Business School Deferred MBA Program Essay Analysis

Columbia Business School Desk

The Columbia Business School Deferred Enrollment MBA Program is open to those in their senior year of college or in their final year of a subsequent graduate program.

Through CBS’s Deferred MBA program, applicants will then defer admission for two to five years, allowing them to gain pre-MBA work experience.

Columbia’s latest Deferred Enrollment MBA Program class profile reports 232 admits with a GMAT range from 570 to 780 and a GPA range from 3.3 to 4.0. Overall, 28 countries are represented in the most recent cohort.

Are you interested in applying? Below, Personal MBA Coach shares eligibility information and our analysis of the Columbia Deferred Enrollment MBA Program essay questions. Do not miss these insider tips from Personal MBA Coach’s Nicole Shay – former Columbia Business School Admissions Director.

This year, the CBS Deferred MBA deadline is April 15. Looking for help with your deferred MBA applications? Find out more about Personal MBA Coach’s Deferred MBA Comprehensive Packages below or schedule a consultation here.

Columbia Business School Deferred MBA Admission Eligibility

The Columbia Deferred Enrollment MBA Program is available to students graduating during the current academic year from a bachelor’s degree program, as well as those completing a graduate degree program. Graduate degree applicants must have started their program directly after graduating from their undergraduate school to be eligible. Students who are enrolled in law school, medical school or Ph.D. programs are not eligible.

Columbia Deferred MBA Essay Questions

Essay 1: Applying to a deferred enrollment program suggests that your aspirations in the next 2-5 years will include an MBA. Why do you feel you need an MBA to achieve your long-term career goals and why would you like to pursue your MBA at Columbia Business School?  (300 words maximum) 

This is your chance to tell CBS both WHAT you will do with an MBA and WHY Columbia is the right place for you. Briefly mention what you plan to do before beginning your MBA. Then, discuss both your short-term goals (what job you hope to have immediately after graduating from the MBA) and your long-term plans.

These goals should demonstrate what you are hoping to do professionally post-MBA and show knowledge of your future industry. It also would be appropriate, if there is space, to include a sentence on the skills you will gain in the short term to prepare you for the long term. For help on how to shape your career goals, watch this quick tips video with Scott Edinburgh, founder of Personal MBA Coach.

Then, discuss specifically what skills you will gain at CBS. For each item, be specific about what you will learn and how you will apply this knowledge.

Finally, include at least one sentence on fit and culture. This is the chance to get a bit more personal and explain why you are interested in the school from a personal standpoint.

Essay 2: Contributing to the community is an important part of the CBS experience. Discuss one experience or situation in your undergraduate or graduate career where you feel you contributed to your community and what you learned from the experience. (250 words maximum)

This short essay is new this year. While community can be a broad term, given the language Personal MBA Coach recommends that most applicants discuss a community they have developed on campus.

Ideally you will select a community that you contributed to over time. However, with only 250 words at your disposal, focus this essay on a specific experience within this community. As you tell the story, spell out not only why this community is important to you but also what you did SPECIFICALLY to contribute.

Naturally, DEI is top of mind for many admissions directors this year. So, if your example speaks to this, great. But if not, do not worry! Your community could be your dorm, a particular class, students within the same major, a sports team, your theater buddies, etc.

Finally, tell CBS what you learned. You want not only to show CBS you are open to developing new skills, but also to highlight your strengths and allude to how you will contribute on campus. This is a great opportunity to show your leadership and collaboration skills.

Remember that, as with full-time MBA programs, deferred MBA applications also require a number of additional elements including letters of recommendation, an MBA resume, short answer questions, and possible video essays. Make sure that you set aside sufficient time for these application extras!

If you are ready to begin working on your Deferred MBA applications, Personal MBA Coach is here to guide you through our Deferred MBA Packages!