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Columbia Business School MBA Essays

Specialized Tips on How to Create Essay

Starting on the journey towards a Columbia MBA is an endeavour marked by profound opportunities for personal and professional advancement. Crafting an application essay that embodies your unique experiences, ambitions, and aspirations is pivotal in capturing the attention of the esteemed admissions committee at Columbia Business School. The Columbia Business School MBA essays play a crucial role in this process.

This blog will help you navigate the intricacies of essay writing, guiding you to articulate your narrative in a manner. It will not only showcase your potential but also distinguish you as a candidate prepared for success in the dynamic landscape of global business and leadership.



Essays play a crucial role in the Columbia MBA admission process as they offer applicants the opportunity to showcase their unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations beyond what's captured in test scores and transcripts. They allow the admissions committee to gain insight into an applicant's motivations, goals, and fit for the program, ultimately helping to create a diverse and dynamic cohort.

Note: Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays. There are word limits for each question. Remember to stick to it. 

Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Tips & Guidelines:

1. Make sure your response is clear and to the point.
2. State a clear and specific goal that demonstrates your direction and ambition. In this case, mentioning a specific industry or      role, such as "Strategy Consulting," adds clarity.
3. Ensure your response is free of errors and effectively communicates your intended message. 


-“Launch a data-management start-up.”
-"Drive business development at a media firm."
-"Pursue strategy consulting at a leading firm."

For more information: Ready to Apply?

Columbia Essay 1: 

Through your resume and recommendation, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Tips & Guidelines:

  1. Begin by reflecting on your current career trajectory and where you envision yourself in the next few years. Write your passions, strengths, and the skills you want to develop further.
  2. Avoid vague statements and instead focus on concrete objectives. Consider what roles, industries, or responsibilities you aim to pursue. Emphasize your willingness to take on new challenges and responsibilities.
  3. Identify key skills and experiences from your past that will contribute to your future career goals. Whether it's leadership, problem-solving, or industry knowledge, emphasize how these skills will help you succeed in your desired roles.
  4. While the primary focus is on your short-to-medium-term goals, briefly touch upon your long-term aspirations. What is your ultimate dream job? In which firm do you want to work and in which destination? Write the strategies you would implement and the positive impact you aim to achieve. 
  5. Make sure your career goals align with your passions and interests. Employers and admissions committees are often drawn to candidates who demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for their chosen field.


Over the next three to five years, my primary career goal is to transition from my current role as a Consultant at McKinsey & Company to a leadership position within a technology company, ideally as a Director of Product Management. My time at Columbia Business School MBA will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal by providing me with the necessary skills, networks, and experiences to make a successful pivot into the technology sector.

During my tenure at McKinsey, I've developed a strong foundation in problem-solving, client management, and project execution. However, I've increasingly found myself drawn to the technology industry's dynamic and innovative nature. Through coursework in technology strategy and product development at Columbia, I aim to deepen my understanding of the intersection between business and technology, preparing me for a leadership role where I can drive innovation and shape strategic direction.

In the short term, I plan to leverage Columbia's extensive alumni network and industry connections to secure internships and experiential learning opportunities within leading technology firms such as Google or Amazon. These experiences will not only enhance my knowledge of the sector but also provide me with hands-on experience in areas such as product management, market analysis, and agile methodologies.

Furthermore, I am committed to honing my leadership skills through involvement in student clubs and extracurricular activities at Columbia. By taking on leadership roles and collaborating with diverse teams, I will develop the interpersonal and communication skills necessary to lead cross-functional teams and drive organizational change in a technology setting.

Looking ahead, my long-term dream job is to serve as a Chief Product Officer or Vice President of Strategy at a high-growth technology company like Salesforce or Airbnb. In these roles, I aspire to leverage my expertise in strategy and innovation to shape the direction of cutting-edge products and drive sustainable growth. I aim to be at the forefront of technological advancements, contributing to the development of solutions that address complex challenges and improve people's lives on a global scale.

In summary, my career goals over the next three to five years revolve around transitioning into a leadership role within the technology sector, with a specific focus on product management, supported by my MBA experience at Columbia Business School. Through a combination of academic coursework, practical experiences, and leadership development opportunities, I am confident in my ability to achieve these goals and realize my long-term dream of making a meaningful impact in the world of technology.

Columbia Essay 2: 

The Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the skills and strategies needed to develop as inclusive leaders.  Through various resources and programming, the goal is for students to explore and reflect during their educational journey on the following five inclusive leadership skills:  Mitigating Bias and Prejudice; Managing Intercultural Dialogue; Addressing Systemic Inequity; Understanding Identity and Perspective Taking; and Creating an Inclusive Environment. 

Describe a time or situation when you had the need to utilize one or more of these five skills, and tell us the actions you took and the outcome. (250 words)

Columbia Essay 2

Tips & Guidelines:

  1. Select a specific experience from your personal or professional life where you encountered a situation requiring inclusive leadership skills. Ensure that the experience aligns with one or more of the five skills outlined in the prompt.
  2. Begin your essay by describing the context, including the environment, the people involved, and any relevant background information.
  3. Clearly indicate which of the five inclusive leadership skills you utilized in the situation. 
  4. Detail the actions you took to address the situation and apply the inclusive leadership skills. Focus on what you did, how you did it, and why you chose those actions.
  5. Discuss any challenges or obstacles you encountered while applying the inclusive leadership skills. Mention what strategies you implemented to tackle this challenge. Be specific about how each skill was relevant and necessary for addressing the challenge.
  6. Evaluate the outcome of your actions. Mention the positive impact you created. Also, mention what you learned from the experience and how it has influenced your approach to leadership.
  7. Align your experience with the goals of the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership program. Explain how your experience aligns with the program's objectives and how participating in PPIL could further enhance your skills in this area.


During my tenure as a project manager at a multinational tech company, I encountered a situation that required the application of several inclusive leadership skills, particularly in mitigating bias and prejudice and creating an inclusive environment.

One of our team members, Maria, who was a talented software engineer, was consistently overlooked for leadership opportunities despite her exceptional performance and contributions. Upon closer examination, I realized that unconscious biases might be influencing the decision-making process within our predominantly male leadership team.

To address this issue, I first engaged in candid conversations with my colleagues to raise awareness about the potential biases affecting our decision-making. I shared research findings and personal examples to illustrate the impact of unconscious biases on talent management and organizational culture. By fostering open dialogue, I aimed to create a safe space for introspection and reflection among team members.

Next, I proactively advocated for Maria's inclusion in leadership discussions and decision-making processes. I highlighted her accomplishments and unique perspectives, emphasizing the value she could bring to our team's success. Additionally, I collaborated with HR to implement unconscious bias training sessions for all employees, aiming to cultivate a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture.

Despite initial resistance and skepticism from some team members, our collective efforts gradually led to positive changes. Maria began to receive more recognition for her contributions, and opportunities for career advancement became more accessible to her. Moreover, the team's overall dynamics improved as we became more cognizant of our biases and committed to fostering diversity and inclusion.

Reflecting on this experience, I recognize the importance of continuously challenging biases and promoting inclusivity in leadership roles. Participating in the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership program will provide me with additional tools and strategies to further advance these principles in my future endeavors.

Columbia Essay 3: 

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)

Columbia Essay 3

Tips & Guidelines:

  1. Start by thoroughly researching the MBA program at Columbia Business School. Understand its curriculum, faculties, learning opportunities, co-curricular activities, and career mentorship programs such as the Executives-in-Residence program. Familiarize yourself with the school's culture, values, and strengths.
  2. Next, write how the curriculum and teaching methods at CBS will contribute to your intellectual growth and skill development.
  3. Provide concrete examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points. Avoid generic statements and instead offer personalized insights into why CBS is the right fit for you academically, culturally, and professionally. 


Columbia Business School embodies the collaborative spirit and dynamic learning environment that I seek in a top-tier MBA program. From its innovative curriculum to its vibrant student community, CBS stands out as the ideal place for me to pursue my academic, cultural, and professional aspirations.

Academically, I am drawn to CBS's unique clusters and learning teams model, which fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and peer learning. As someone with a background in engineering and a passion for technology entrepreneurship, I am excited about the opportunity to engage with diverse perspectives and sharpen my business acumen through hands-on projects and case studies. Courses such as "Innovation and Design Thinking" and "Venture Capital and Private Equity" align perfectly with my interests and will provide me with the skills and knowledge to drive innovation in the tech industry.

Culturally, I am impressed by CBS's inclusive and supportive community, where students are encouraged to bring their authentic selves to the table. As a leader of several student organizations during my undergraduate studies, including the Women in STEM club, I understand the importance of fostering a welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to succeed. I am eager to contribute to CBS's diverse community by sharing my experiences as a woman in tech and collaborating with my peers to create meaningful impact both inside and outside the classroom.

Professionally, CBS's robust career mentorship programs, such as the Executives-in-Residence program, present invaluable opportunities for me to connect with industry leaders and gain insights into emerging trends and best practices. With aspirations of launching my own tech startup post-MBA, I am excited about the prospect of receiving guidance and mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs and investors who can help me navigate the complexities of the startup ecosystem and turn my vision into reality.

In conclusion, Columbia Business School's academic rigor, inclusive culture, and unparalleled professional opportunities make it the perfect fit for me to pursue my MBA journey. I am confident that my experiences and aspirations align seamlessly with CBS's values and offerings, and I am eager to contribute to and grow from the CBS community.

Columbia Essay 4 (Optional):

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) 

Columbia Essay 4

Tips & Guidelines:

  1. If there are areas of concern, like any academic gaps or professional gaps, it's important to address them honestly.
  2. Mention the negative impact it had upon your life. Use this opportunity to demonstrate how you've learned and grown from this. Highlight specific actions you've taken to address this and improve yourself.
  3. Use this space to address concerns and highlight your strengths and accomplishments. Show how you've overcome obstacles and are prepared to succeed in the MBA program.


During my undergraduate studies, I encountered a challenging period in my sophomore year due to a family crisis, which temporarily impacted my academic performance, resulting in a lower GPA. Additionally, I took a gap year after graduation to travel and volunteer abroad, leading to a gap in my work experience timeline. To address these concerns, I sought academic support resources during my junior and senior years, including tutoring and counseling services, which enabled me to regain focus and improve my grades. During my gap year, I actively engaged in volunteer work with a local NGO and pursued online courses to enhance my professional skills. These experiences have been invaluable in shaping my resilience and adaptability. I've learned the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity and the value of seeking out opportunities for personal and professional growth. I am fully committed to pursuing excellence in my academic and professional pursuits. I believe that my diverse experiences have equipped me with the skills and perspective necessary to thrive in the Columbia MBA program and beyond, and I am eager to contribute meaningfully to the business world.'

Useful Links: Columbia MBA Options & Deadlines

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In conclusion, the Columbia Business School MBA Essays (as one of the top MBA Colleges in USA)can be a challenging task for applicants, but with the right approach and understanding of the school's mission, vision, and values, one can craft a compelling application that showcases their unique qualities and experiences.

Indian students, in particular, can leverage their cultural background and experiences to showcase their diversity and unique perspective. As the application process continues to evolve and become more competitive, it is crucial for applicants to understand the importance of crafting a strong narrative and conveying their passion for business and leadership.

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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