Scott Edinburgh
November 16, 2023

Columbia EMBA Application Deadlines and Essay Tips: 2023-2024

Low Memorial Library at Columbia University for MBA

Columbia Business School has confirmed the 2024 Executive MBA application essays. This year, CBS asks EMBA applicants to respond to two essay prompts. The business school also has a third optional essay.

If you are looking to join Columbia Business School’s EMBA Program, take a look at the latest class profile to assess whether the school might be a good fit for you. Accepted students had an average of 10 years of work experience. The latest reported class consists of 36% women and 30% international citizens.

Below, please find the upcoming application deadlines, as well as Personal MBA Coach’s analysis of the Columbia EMBA application essays.

The 2024 Columbia Business School EMBA Application Deadlines Are as Follows:

EMBA-NY Saturday: May 2024 Entry

Early:  January 10, 2024
Final: February 7, 2024

EMBA-NY Fri/Sat: August 2024 Entry

Early: March 20, 2024
Final: May 22, 2024

2023-2024 Columbia EMBA Application Essays

Columbia Business School EMBA Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendations, 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 max)

The full-time CBS MBA application asks candidates to ask respond to this same prompt. While goals for EMBA applicants will naturally be different (most EMBA applicants will not be looking for new roles post-MBA), your approach to this essay should remain the same. Check out Personal MBA Coach’s essay 1 advice for tips on how to approach CBS’s first EMBA essay.

Columbia Business School EMBA Essay 2: Please describe a professional situation 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? (500 words maximum)

Columbia Business School has changed its second required EMBA essay this year. This essay actually reminds us of an essay that Kellogg asked for a number of years. This essay is a great opportunity for EMBA applicants to showcase their leadership in action.

While recency is not specifically mentioned, Personal MBA Coach recommends that you select a fairly recent challenge (if you pick an older example, admissions committee members might question why you did not have anything else to share).

Five hundred words is a fairly generous limit here, but we still recommend that you avoid a story that is too complex. You do not want to waste half of the essay setting up the situation for the reader.

As you tell this story, be specific in detailing your role. Be sure you are “showing” vs. “telling” as you write this essay. For example, do not simply say that you are a collaborative leader; let readers see your collaboration in action. After showing readers what you did to tackle this problem, be sure to discuss the results and the so-what.

Finally, tell CBS what you learned from this situation. Remember, this story lets you give the Columbia EMBA admissions committee a clear understanding of both your leadership strengths and your development areas, so it is ok to be humble here.

Optional Essay: 

Is there something else you feel would be helpful for the Admissions Committee to know? An optional third essay will allow you to discuss any topics that do not fall within the purview of the required essays. These might include, but are not limited to:

  • Adverse circumstances in your background
  • An exciting side venture in which you are working
  • Areas of concern in your academic record
  • Or just a fun fact!

This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (500 words maximum)

Most applicants will not need to answer Columbia Business School’s optional EMBA essay. That said, CBS gives applicants a bit more flexibility than other optional essays in terms of an appropriate response. Learn more about how to tackle optional essays here.

Ready to get started on your CBS EMBA application? Check out our Comprehensive Packages here and find out how we can help! Our comprehensive packages include essay editing support with unlimited edits included.