Columbia Business School Essay Analysis

The questions are similar to last year, but they dropped the Phillips Pathway question, with the remaining two now required rather than giving applicants a choice of which to answer.

2022/23 essay questions

Short answer question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters)

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 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 Words)

Essay 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)

Essay 3

Tell us about your favorite book, movie, or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)

2022/23 essay question analysis

Essay 1

Similar to prior years, Columbia is asking for both your short-term and long-term plans. Offer context for your motivations (what is the first time you realized this was your goal? How did you feel when you first realized you could fix the “problem” your goal is centered around?), as well as what from your background makes you the best person to pursue this goal.

Also, make sure you’re connecting how your short-term plans relate to your long-term objectives. For example, if you want to start a business, and then become a public servant, explain how starting the business will help you be a better public servant. Otherwise, it risks sounding unrealistic.

While it is fine to include some quick references to how Columbia would help you on the path to achieving your dream job, avoid spending too many words on this (should be less than 15% of the words used in your essay). Instead, save those examples for Essay 2.

Finally, every year, people are tempted to recount their past career as part of this question. Avoid doing this. Talking about your professional path eats up A LOT of words, typically without answering the question directly. Remember, the admissions committee will already have your resume.

Essay 2

This prompt has been used in prior years, but this year it returns to being required, rather than optional last year.

This prompt mimics a more traditional “Why [our school]” that other schools ask as well, albeit with a tight word limit. While Columbia is looking for Columbia-specific answers to this question, it still will help to weave in an example drawn from the larger NYC community that Columbia offers you a platform to interact with. An example could be discussing organizations in the city that you will reach out to and build relationships with.

Essay 3

With the third prompt, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Think of a book, movie, or song that ties to one of the themes you are aiming to highlight in your application, and use this essay to explain the link. Avoid spending too much time providing background on the book, movie, or song; unless it is very obscure, details can be looked up online. Instead, focus on why this is your favorite book, movie, or song. What do you want the reader to learn about you after reading this essay?

2022/23 deadlines

Specific submission time: 11:59pm ET

Early Decision/January Deadline: September 28, 2022 Merit Based Fellowship Deadline: January 11, 2023

Final Regular Decision Deadline: April 5, 2023

Deferred Enrollment Deadline: TBD

Other application details

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The online application for 2022/23 is expected to go live in June; click here to access the application portal once it goes live.


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