Columbia MBA Essay Tips and deadlines for 2021-2022

In this series of essays, Columbia Business School tries to figure out who you are and what drives you. Columbia Business School attracts intellectually motivated students from a variety of educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. Some main qualities that CBS looks for in the applications are Entrepreneurial mindset, Team leadership, Social intelligence, Community leadership, Integrity and Analytical ability. Keeping this in mind, let’s see how Mentor Mpact can help you write Columbia’s essays.



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)

This question inquires about the short and long-term objectives of a student. The term “imagination” connotes idealistic goals rather than practical strategies. Those who pursue a top-tier MBA from a school like Columbia have big ideas and high aimed goals. So, try to elaborate what you are planning for and why you desperately need this candidacy. Consider your actual passions, and don’t be afraid to present your biggest goals. Finally, your objectives should follow a logical sequence, but you should also explain how you intend to adapt to the availability of resources. 

For instance, you might aspire to be the general manager of a company. But, for the time being, you’ve been mostly engaged in marketing. Following that, you may as well attend finance and strategy classes and participate in consulting projects while interning at a startup. All of these will help you gain experience in general management contributing directly towards your goal. So, you need to make sure that you proceed the essay in a sequential manner ensuring a proper structure of your work experience in relevance to your goals. 



Please respond to two (2) of the three (3) essay questions listed below:

Columbia this year requires applicants to respond to two of the three questions. These are the following options given:

  1. The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a new co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on giving essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias, Communicating Across Identities, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Managing Difficult Conversations. Tell us about a time you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion together known as ‘DEI’ are the main topics to be included in the first essay option on which today’s corporations are putting a lot of emphasis. To respond specifically to this question, give an example of when you used one of the skills mentioned in the question and try to be as specific as possible. The examples of these skills can include:

  • Any instance where the above skill impacted your professional or personal decisions.
  • Any professional instance that helped you in pursuing a change in the perspective of the company you were working for and directly having a huge impact on the company’s decisions.
  • In an ideal case, you’d be in a situation where you could put your interpersonal talents to good use either in professional or in the personal space. 
  • You can also demonstrate a beneficial influence on your company. Your experience should also show that you are aware of your own values, identity and strengths.


2. Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)

This question deals with a generic inquiry about defining your candidacy for this school. A proper research about the school will assist in answering this question. You can follow these measures for your structure:

  • You must outline your professional ambitions in this essay and briefly explain why they are realistic for you in the context of your career progression to date. 
  • Then you must consider how you will use and engage with Columbia’s resources to seek and achieve your objectives.
  • Look for meaningful connections between your interests and goals and the things you plan to engage in, not just a few program options. 
  • To do this efficiently, you can work on a paper and draw a line down the middle, on the left, you’ll find a list of Columbia resources that will help you. On the left, you’ll list Columbia resources that can benefit you, and on the right side how will you help Columbia. You’re basically breaking things down into a give-and-take scenario.

Ascertain how you can benefit the community and point out the abilities and experiences that you’ll bring to the table. Columbia is looking for students who are serious about attending their programme. As a result, if you choose this question, demonstrate your enthusiasm for the school.


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

This one is totally based on personal choices. Consider your preferences as well as the facts and values that you’re sharing in the application. The above favorites can be mentioned as follows:

  • If you’re a reader, you could choose a favorite childhood book that inspired you and kept you motivated to learn and stay productive. 
  • A film, on the other hand, may have elicited strong feelings. What did you think of the movie and how did it make you feel? You can write about the emotional connections and the inspirational stories that made you work hard.
  • You can mention some songs with which you have a special connection. What effect did the music have on you can be a real good question to be answered here.

Remember, whatever media you choose to answer, it should disclose more about you as a person. Use detailed examples to help the reader comprehend your thoughts and feelings. Finally, your essay should give readers a sense of who you are and what motivates you.



Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (maximum 500 words)

If you do decide to write an optional essay, make it as brief as possible concentrating solely on the issues that affect you and your decision to join the school. Remember, it’s preferable to discuss the problem briefly before demonstrating how you solved it. The optional essay is an excellent chance to address any concerns you may have about your application. Following points can be considered here:

  • Columbia looks for strong academics as well as quantitative abilities. You may use this place to highlight any extenuating circumstances that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider (e.g unexplained gaps in job experience, recommendation selection, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, areas of weakness, etc.). 
  • Disciplinary action in undergrad could also be written as it is an important topic. Begin by simply and briefly stating the problem. Then, illustrate how you’ve improved and addressed any concerns using evidence. 
  • Finally, talk about how you want to keep the momentum going.



What is your immediate Post-MBA professional goal? (Max 50 characters)

This appears to be an easy question. It necessitates condensing your work objectives into a concise career vision statement. Consider adding a little extra color to add a little more detail. Following one liners can be considered:

  • To work in business development for a media company.
  • To work as a financial investor.
  • To join a strategy consulting firm.
  • To launch an edu-tech start-up.
  • To work as a general manager in an MNC.

Remember, these are some of the one liners that can be used as a sub-heading to the answer. Ensure that you elaborate your objective in a concise yet full-fledged way. Columbia is more interested in learning about you and how you distinguish from other applicants. Don’t aim to be the perfect candidate. Instead, let your own personality, motives, and aspirations shine through. 



The admissions procedure at Columbia Business School runs on a rolling basis. This means that as soon as a prospective applicant completes and submits an application, a decision is made. January and August are the two intakes. The following are the Columbia Business School MBA application dates for 2021-2022:

August 2022 Entry Application Deadlines: 

Early Decision October 6, 2021

Merit Fellowship January 5, 2022

Regular Decision April 8, 2022

If you plan to pursue your MBA from abroad, MentorMpact provides the best guidance you can ever get! MentorMpact works with the students and for the students. We value the trust you put in us, and we creatively partner with you to accomplish your dream school admission. Our approach resonates with proper mentorship. And we ensure the best for our clients. For more information, visit MentorMpact