Nov 22, 2011

Inside Columbia Business School's Admissions Office

This post is one in a series of posts trying to decipher what happens once you click that "submit" button in the application portal of the top business schools. As told by the admissions directors themselves! Follow us on twitter and facebook to keep yourself updated with the next set of schools.

What happens once applications are submitted?

Mary Miller, Assistant dean of admissions CBS - After candidates submit their application to Columbia Business School, their applications go for a review by our first reader. Because we strongly feel that every application be read and evaluated by a qualified reviewer, we have very few outside readers in admissions role, and those who are are typically former employees of the our admissions department.

Candidates can be invited to interview with us at any point in the application process and getting an interview invite is a very positive signal to the candidate; the interview invitation is really, really important. During the evealuation process, the first reader can nominate a candidate for an interview invitation, at which point applicants are sent a list of alumni in their local area who have volunteered and been trained to conduct the interview with these invited candidates. The  candidates may choose whom they want to interview with and then they arrange the interview. For the interviews, we send an interview format to our alumni interviewers. They conduct the interviews blind – all they get while conducting interview is a resume – following our interview format and return their feedback to us.

The application file then will go to a second reader. If a candidate has not been  invited for an interview by the first reader, the second reader can also extend an invitation for an interview. In my opinion, this is very important because we all are are very diverse in our backgrounds and have our own biases. Many of us have come from the corporate sector, while others of us have worked at other business schools. I think it’s important for candidates to know that their application gets a 360 degree review and that they can be invited to interview at any point during the process.

In the next step, if everyone agrees on an applicant, it’s easy. Dilemmas come when there are differences of opinion, so at these times we work as a committee to reach consensus on the final decisions. Sometimes we ask for an additional telephone interview or check references – we’ll do whatever it takes to make the right decision. Coming to Columbia Business School is the most important decision candidates make and it is also the most important decision we make. The people we accept during the admissions process will be Columbia alumni for life, and we want to ensure that we select people who are right fit for the school.

BizSchoolPrep Comments:

  • Applications are read twice, at minimum. Hence, do not get worried thinking one person's perspective (who is in a bad mood) will break your application!
  • Interview invites might be given out just after one read. That means, they may come anytime until the notification date.
  • Blind interviews - The interviewer has not read your application (instead will have just a resume to interview with) so you may want to reinforce those goals and why this school story during interviews.
  • The application reading process may be a little random so do not try too hard to find a coorelation between the submitted date to the interview invite date with that of your friend.
  • Because of rolling deadlines, it is always advantageous to apply early, provided your application is best prepared.
  • Do not submit an incomplete application. Period.

School Stats -

Columbia Business School

3022 Broadway
Uris Hall, Room 216
New York, NY 10027
Admissions: 212-854-5553
Apply Online:

2011-2012 Tuition & Fees: $113,180
School Recommended Two-Year Budget: $175,740
Average GMAT: 716
GMAT Range (middle 80%): 680-760
Average GPA: 3.50

Acceptance Rate: 16%
Full-Time Enrollment: 1,278
International: 38%
Female: 35%
Minority: 35%
Mean Age: 28

Median Base Salary: $110,000
Median Signing Bonus: $25,000
Percentage of MBAs with Job Offers at Graduation: 86%
Percentage of MBAs with Job Offers Three Months Later: 97%
Estimate of Total Pay over a 20-Year Career*: $3,349,669
*Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported, 2010

Where the Class of 2011 Went to Work:
Financial Services — 51%
Consulting — 22%
Consumer Products — 8%
Technology — 5%
Media/Entertainment — 4%
Real Estate — 3%
Health Care/Biotech — 2%
Energy — 2%
Manufacturing — 1%
Non-Profit — 1%
Source: Collected from internet/clearadmit/Poets&Quants

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