Columbia Business School

(Columbia University)


  • Location: New York, NY, USA
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Program Cost: $160,944
  • Average GMAT score: 730
  • Acceptance Rate: 22%
  • Average Work Experience: 5 years

Employment Reports (2022)

  • Received an Offer: 95%
  • Accepted an Offer: 92%
  • Median Salary: $175,000
  • Median Signing Bonus: $30,000
  • Median Performance Bonus: $32,150


  • #1 Financial Times 2023 Global MBA Ranking
  • #11 US News - Best Business Schools
  • #4 USNews - Executive MBA
  • #8 QS Global MBA Rankings 2023


  • Total Applicants: 6,177
  • Total Enrollment: 1,363
  • Women: 44%
  • Average GPA: 3.1 - 3.9


Columbia Business school prides itself at being ‘At the Very Center of Business’. Located in the financial and business hub of New York City, CBS is a diverse and inclusive campus producing some of the world’s most influential leaders in the industry. With faculty at the forefront of their research and fields and an alumni network that spans the globe, CBS Students are able to learn, study, and grow in the center of global business.

Breaking the business tradition of vertical organization, CBS recognizes the need for horizontal and collaborate models of business. CBS encourages interdisciplinary faculty as a way to create innovative minds in future business leaders. CBS prides itself on creating a space which ‘encourages the development of social and intelligence-based skills…the creation and strengthening of social networks…[and] the integration of cutting-edge technology.’


  • Round 1: September 13th, 2023
  • Round 2: January 5th, 2024
  • Round 3: April 3rd, 2024



All applicants must submit a transcript of either a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent from an accredited institution. These documents are to be submitted as PDFs and must include all transcripts from which a degree has been earned. Once an offer of admission has been received, accepted applicants must submit official (encrypted) copies. Only after official documents are submitted and varified is the offer of admission binding.

Applicants are required to report their grade point average (GPA) exactly as it appears on their official transcript.


Either GMAT, GRE or EA scores must be submitted by applicants. CBS considers test scores valid for 5 years past the test date. All scores must be submitted within three weeks of the submission of application. CBS considers only the highest score submitted. A composite score is not considered.

2 Recommendations

Applicants who are applying to CBS for the first time are asked to submit recomendations from two recommenders. One recommender should be from a current direct supervisor (for those applicants who have worked longer than 6-months). The other should come from either another former direct supervisor or a senior professional associate. For those candidates who have worked fewer than 6-months should still submit two recommendation letters. One from an individual able to comment on the candidates managerial skills and another from a college professor. The word limit for recommendations are 1000 words.

The following inquiries should be answered by your recommenders:

  • How do the candidate’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.
  • Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

Essay Description

Applicants to this program must complete one short answer question and three essays.

The short answer involves describing their post-MBA goal in 50 characters or less.

The essays cover career goals (500 words), leadership skills (250 words), and reasons for choosing Columbia Business School (250 words), with an optional essay allowing for additional context within 500 words.


Applicants are required to upload their current professional resume or CV to the online application. The recommended length is one page, although one to two pages is acceptable.


Interviews are conducted by CBS alumni. Interviews are conducted based on geographic location, and are done via-invite only once an application is submitted and complete.

Application Fee

The application fee for CBS is US$250. The fee must be paid via Visa or MasterCard. Fee waivers are available for qualified candidates, including full-time students, active duty US Military personnel and Peace Corps members.

Ben’s Experience: EA 157 Score and CBS

The instructors at Apex were an invaluable resource to me, they completely understood the process, they made me very comfortable. The ease of working with Apex was what I enjoyed the most. I was amazed by how much I was able to take in in such a short space of time. Understanding the success that Apex has had made me feel confident that they were a good choice.


MBA Cluster System

CBS recognizes the value in building a strong community. Because of this, CBS assigns all incoming MBA students to clusters. These clusters are comprised of 65-70 students, all of which represent the diversity in skills, culture, and background of CBS as a whole. Each cluster shares their academic experience by attending all mandatory courses with eachother. This system helps strengthen the bonds between students and allow for a more open environment to work together and challenge ideas.

Learning Teams

From each cluster, smaller ‘Learning Teams’ are formed. These teams are made up of around 5 students from diverse backgrounds. The teams are then tasked with working together to complete assignments from their core courses and across diverse fields. This intimate style of team building allows MBA students to make lasting connections which allow for a more encompassing and enduring education.


CBS has over 100 student-led clubs to choose from. Each allows students to garner unique skills and explore their various interests. CBS also gives their students access to world-reknown business leaders who present on various topics. Past speakers include Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Henry Kissinger. Student clubs also host well-known conferences which attract globally known speakers and alumni. In addtion to clubs, CBS’ location in New York City means exploring city life with fellow students while taking advantage of the many bars, restaurants and scenic views that NYC has to offer.


The world is changing, and Columbia Business School’s MBA Model prepares their students to become leaders in new and every changing global environments. A broad curriculum develops the foundations needed to successful leadership, all while giving students to opportunity to specialize in their preferred area of expertise. Students leave their MBA program at CBS with the skills to think up unique and innovative solutions to today’s most pressing business challenges.
From 2016, CBS required all students to complete 18 credits of mandatory classes and 42 credits of electionve courses. 

First Year

The first year at Columbia University constitutes courses which provide students with the broad management skills necessary to excel in the industry.

Fall Semester

  • Foundations of Valuation
  • Managerial Statistics
  • Strategy Formulation
  • Managerial Economics

Spring Semester

  • Corporate Finance
  • Business Analytics
  • Marketing
  • Global Economic Environment

Second Year

During the second year, students are able to choose from a number of elective courses specifc to their research interests. Second-year students also have the opportunity to take courses through Columbia University’s other 12 professional and graduate school.


Grading Scale 

The grading scale ranges from A (Excellent) to F (Failing), with associated grade points. Some courses may offer a Pass/Fail option, and incomplete grades (I) and withdrawals (W) are also possible in certain situations. The grading curve can vary by course, and your Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated based on your cumulative performance in all courses.

Lohe’s Experience: GMAT 680 Score and CBS

“When I started working with Apex we mostly focused on improving my stress and anxiety. We worked on different kinds of breathing exercises and on different problem solving techniques that were not the usual math solutions. Once I was able to get comfortable with these techniques my speed and score increased a lot. It was a good mix of stress management and thinking out of the box.”

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