Columbia MBA Essay Tips and deadlines for 2023-2024

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. 



The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a 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 five essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias and Prejudice, Managing Intercultural Dialogue, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking.

Tell us about a time when you were challenged around one of these five skills. Describe the situation, the actions you took, and the outcome. (250 words)

Tackling the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) essay is a chance to showcase your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion while highlighting your personal growth. Here’s how you can ace this essay:

  1. Choose a Challenge: Pick a scenario involving a PPIL skill, e.g., addressing systemic inequity. Example: Leading a project to balance gender roles in a team.
  2. Set the Context: Introduce where, when, and who. Example: XYZ Company project…
  3. Actions Taken: Describe what you did. Example: Conducted workshops to address bias and ensure fair role distribution.
  4. Growth & Impact: Share lessons learned. Example: Recognized the importance of open dialogue and achieved balanced roles.
  5. Concise Focus: Stick to the 250-word limit. Stay on skill topic.
  6. Self-Awareness: Mention personal growth. Example: Discovered my ability to drive change through conversations.
  7. Strong Conclusion: Summarize skill’s importance. Example: This experience underscored the value of tackling inequity for a harmonious workplace.
  8. Review & Improve: Proofread for clarity, coherence, and grammar. Seek feedback if possible.

This essay showcases your commitment to inclusive leadership. Good luck!



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, an extremely active co-curricular and student life environment, 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? Please be specific. (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 program. As a result, if you choose this question, demonstrate your enthusiasm for the school.



If you wish to provide further information or additional context around your application to the Admissions Committee, please upload a brief explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or 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, recommender 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 colour 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. 


MBA Application Deadlines

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. Columbia Business School students may enroll in either August or January. The two paths, each comprising four terms, merge in the fall of the second year to complete electives as a single class. January and August are the two intakes. The following are the Columbia Business School MBA application dates:


August 2024 Entry Application Deadlines:

Round 1 Deadline: September 13, 2023
Interview Decisions Released: Mid-October
Final Decision Released: Mid-December

Round 2 Deadline: January 5, 2024
Interview Decisions Released: Early-to-Mid February
Final Decision Released: Late March

Round 3 Deadline: April 3, 2024
Interview Decisions Released: Mid-to-Late April
Final Decision Released: Early May

January 2024 Entry Application Deadline:

Application Due: September 13, 2023


MentorMpact – Your Trusted Partner in MBA Admissions

At MentorMpact, we understand the intricacies of the MBA application process and the challenges of addressing weaknesses. With our expertise, we will provide unwavering support to help you stand out among other applicants.

  1. Personalized Application Strategy: Our experienced consultants will work closely with you to create a tailored application strategy that highlights your strengths and addresses your weaknesses head-on.
  2. Strengthening Your Weaknesses: We’ll provide you with targeted guidance and preparation to transform your weaknesses into strengths, ensuring a compelling application.
  3. Comprehensive Essay Assistance: Crafting a powerful essay is vital. Our skilled consultants will help you articulate your journey, experiences, and aspirations effectively.
  4. Optimal Recommender Selection: The right letters of recommendation can make a significant difference. We’ll assist you in choosing recommenders who can eloquently highlight your strengths and improvements.
  5. Interview Preparation: A successful interview is the final step. We’ll equip you with the skills and confidence needed to ace your interviews, even addressing questions about your weaknesses.

Contact us to know more!