Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Columbia 2010 J-Term Admissions Essays

Recently Columbia started accepting applications for the January 2010 intake of its accelerated MBA program. There is just a single deadline -- October 7, 2009 -- on a rolling admissions basis. Below are the Columbia J-Term's admissions essays, with our comments in italics:

Columbia January Term Admissions Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (750 words)

  2. (This is pretty much the standard "Why an MBA? / Why this school?" question, but your answer will need to be a little more focused than the answer that an applicant would submit to a typical two-year program. The J-Term is especially designed for young professionals who plan to return to their current employers or otherwise don't need the benefit of a summer internship to transition to a new career, and Columbia will closely look for evidence that you understand the what you will gain and what you will give up by attending its accelerated program.)

  3. Master Classes are the epitome of bridging the gap between theory and practice at Columbia Business School. (View link.) Please provide an example from your own life in which practical experience taught you more than theory alone. (500 words)

  4. (The key takeaway for you as an applicant is that Columbia prides itself on its Master Classes, so make sure you understand what they are and why they are important to the Columbia academic experience. Columbia, like many other top schools, has made a push to better connect the theory covered in its core classes with the practical challenges that its graduates will face, and Master Classes are the school's way of doing that. For your response, while this question doesn't specifically ask about a professional failure, such an example might provide you with rich material for a response. Just be sure to emphasize what you learned as a result, and, ideally, how you applied this lesson later on.)

  5. Please provide an example of a team failure of which you've been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (500 words)

  6. (The admissions office is most interested in what you learned from such a failure. Although the second part of this question asks a theoretical question -- What would you do? -- ideally you can describe a time when you applied what you learned to another real-life situation, thus preventing the same problem from happening again.)

  7. (Optional essay) Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee? (Please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history.)

  8. (Use this space wisely. Do not dwell on your weaknesses, go on and on with excuses about something that happened ten years ago, or unduly draw attention to a minor weakness!)

For more advice on applying to Columbia, visit the Veritas Prep Columbia Business School information page.