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Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions 2024

Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions: Sets & Tips

Being admitted to a prestigious MBA program like Columbia Business School could completely transform your career trajectory and lead you to the next level in your profession. Having said that, it's no secret that getting accepted into a prestigious school like Columbia is tough, especially regarding the interview stage. That's where our blog, Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions, comes into play! 

This blog is going to be a one-stop for all the insider tips and tricks for acing those Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions. From tackling different sets of questions to what to expect in the interview and how to dress and communicate confidently, we've got your back every step of the way. 

So what are you waiting for? Let's get you ready to shine!

Key Aspects: Format, Duration & Interviewer Profile

columbia business school mba interview questions

  • Interviewer profile: CBS Alumni or Adcom Members (from recent classes like 2019, 2022, etc)
  • Interview Duration: Approximately 45-60 minutes
  • Content: Primarily resume-based yet focused on self-growth and future plans. 

The interview will be divided into two parts:

1. The first part is where the Adcom will ask you questions. This is the major part, with around 40-45 minutes 
2. The second part will be you asking the interview team questions, which is around 15-20 minutes.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions Sets 

No matter which B-school you apply for, interviewers will likely ask you to walk them through your resume. What's even more crucial will be handling the tricky trio of questions, which are: 

  • Why an MBA from Columbia Business School?
  • Why Columbia Business School?
  • Why pursue it now?

If you're preparing for an interview for the Columbia Business School MBA, knowing what types of questions are asked can increase your chances of passing the test. To help you with this, we have put together several sets of interview questions based on past applicants' experiences. Additionally, we've included specialized tips to help you secure your admission to this prestigious institution. Read on to learn more.

Set 1 Questions

  • Please walk me through your resume.
  • Could you describe your Short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are your backup plans after you finish school?
  • What are your plans for summer internships?
  • Can you share a time when you faced challenges and have overcome obstacles?
  • Could you describe your leadership style?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Are there any specific programs/clubs you are interested in at CBS?
  • What contributions will you make to CBS?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

Set 2 Questions

  • Please walk me through your resume.
  • How did your undergrad prepare you for your current role?
  • Why MBA and Why CBS?
  • Why now?
  • How will CBS help you fulfill your short-term goals?
  • Tell me about something you are particularly proud of in your current role.
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone.
  • What is your leadership style? Could you tell me about a time you had to adopt the leadership style?
  • Contributions to CBS: Are there any other clubs you would love to join?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Set 3 Questions

  • Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership.
  • Give an example of a challenging situation and how you overcame it.
  • How do you handle conflicts within a team?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a tough decision.
  • What skills do you bring to the program that will benefit your classmates?

Set 4 Questions

  • 1. What’s up?
  • What did the family member tell you about CBS
  • Why CBS?
  • Goals?
  • Plan B of goals and MBA
  • What other schools?
  • Fav footballer? Why football and not soccer?
  • A college extracurricular
  • Contributions to CBS
  • How do companies in India work organizationally?
  • How will you lead learning teams with diverse personal goals
  • Tell me about a location in New York
  • Anything you want to share?

Set 5 Questions

  • Short/long-term goals.
  • Why CBS/MBA. Why not Kellogg?
  • Why now?
  • Describe yourself in a sentence.
  • What is your motivation/philosophy that has gotten you to this decision/these goals?
  • Your motivations for switching your job role 

Set 6 Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why CBS?
  • What other schools have you applied to
  • Tell me about the VC industry in Brazil
  • How active is your firm in managing portfolio companies?

What CBS is Looking For in Top MBA Candidates

columbia business school mba interview questions

Located in the heart of New York City, Columbia Business School is a great place for people from all kinds of backgrounds who exhibit strong leadership qualities, collaborative skills, and a track record of accomplishment. The school's MBA program is all about helping candidates create value in their careers while also contributing positively to society.

If you're interested in applying to Columbia Business School, it's important to know that they look for people who are curious, innovative, and can back up their ideas with data. With an intake of approximately 850 students from over 6,100 applications annually at Columbia Business School, diversity is a top priority, with lots of women, international students, and minority groups represented in the student body.

While the typical criteria for Columbia Business School MBA GMAT score, work experience, and UG CGPA, Columbia Business School values talent, integrity, and strong networking skills just as much.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions: Different Categories 

Now that you have a good grasp on the Columbia Business School MBA interview questions, to make your preparation even easier, we have bifurcated the interview questions into different categories that interview questions generally fall into. 

In this paragraph, we will explore some specific questions falling under different buckets to help you prepare for your Columbia MBA application review process effectively. 

So, let's dive in and take a closer look at the different categories of questions you may encounter during your interview.

School engagement

SL. No. Questions 

Are there any specific programs/clubs you are interested in at CBS?


What are some of the classes you are hoping to take here?


Could you tell me what resources you plan to use at CBS/this school?


What specific skills do you bring to the program that will benefit your classmates?


How do you plan to contribute to CBS (on campus and then post-MBA)


SL. No. Questions 

 Could you describe your Short-term and long-term goals?


How will the MBA program at Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals?


What are your backup plans after you finish school?


What is your plan to get into your much-desired post-mba role if your target company or such types don't normally come to campus?


What personal philosophy or decision-making strategy has helped you make these decisions/goals?

Work background

SL. No. Questions 

What are some common projects you prefer or are currently working on?


Could you tell me about your experience leading a team? What's your leadership style?


What did you do during this job?


Could you tell me about any conflict you had with a co-worker? Or any such experience. How did you handle it?


What has been your biggest professional achievement, and What has been your biggest professional challenge?

Personal life

SL. No. Questions 

You mentioned that you applied for J-term; why now or why J-term?


Favorrite footballer? Are there any other sports you are interested in? 


How do you spend your free time? What do you do on weekends? 


Three words to describe yourself


Which students, alums, Adcom, or professors did you speak with?

Personalized Tips Question-by-question

columbia business school mba interview questions

The interviewers are usually extremely friendly and conversational. You should be prepared for all situations ranging from very few questions to moderate numbers around 6-8 and even, in some cases, 10-12 questions. However, be sure each question will be expanded into multiple questions. 

Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind when answering Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions: 

1. Emphasize your teamwork and collaboration skills: Columbia values teamwork and collaboration. During Columbia MBA Interview Questions, highlight how you have worked in teams in your previous experiences and showcase your ability to communicate effectively and collaborate to achieve a common goal.

2. Showcase your creativity and innovation: Columbia encourages students to think outside the box and create creative solutions to complex problems. While preparing for Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions, discuss how you have demonstrated creativity and innovation in your previous experiences and how you plan to bring that mindset to Columbia.

3. Show your commitment to lifelong learning: Columbia is committed to developing scholars; hence, it's important to demonstrate how you have continued to learn and grow in your previous experiences and discuss how you plan to continue learning and contributing to the academic community at Columbia. 

4. Discuss your leadership potential: Columbia is looking for future leaders, so showcase how you have demonstrated leadership in your previous experiences and how you plan to continue to develop your leadership skills at Columbia during Columbia MBA  Interview Questions.

5. Be prepared to discuss current events and industry trends: Columbia values staying up-to-date on current events and industry trends. Stay informed about your industry's latest news and trends, and be prepared to discuss how they may impact your future goals.

6. Connect your experiences to Columbia's mission: Columbia is looking for candidates who align with its mission of developing leaders who create value for their stakeholders and society. Please make sure you highlight how your past experiences and future goals align with this mission in your Columbia Business School MBA Interview Questions.

7. Show your diversity and inclusivity: Columbia values diversity and inclusivity, and it's crucial to highlight how your unique background and experiences bring a diverse perspective to the class. Also, discuss how you have contributed to creating an inclusive environment in your previous experiences during the interview for Columbia MBA.

8. Be familiar with Columbia's curriculum and resources: Before the interview, research Columbia's curriculum and resources, such as the Columbia Startup Lab, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center. Talk about how they can help you achieve your goals.

Get ready for your CBS interview the easy way!  Click here for a Free Profile Evaluation Call. We'll talk about personalized tips for questions just for your profile. Don't wait. Make your profile look great in front of the Adcom. Book your call now! 



During the interview, the school wants to know if you're a strong fit for their program. Show them how your skills, experiences, and goals align with Columbia's values. Show your enthusiasm for Columbia and your dedication to making a difference in the school and the wider community. 

Highlight your teamwork, collaboration, analytical, and leadership abilities. Be ready to talk about current events and industry trends and demonstrate how you'll contribute to Columbia's academic community. 

As one of the Best MBA colleges in the USA, Columbia is looking for candidates who stand out and are ready to make an impact.

Are you one of them? Then get ready to apply. Just click here to start an application NOW!

Know Your Author
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Rohit Rajaram
Study Abroad Expert
Rohit is a results-driven individual with a strong background in Education Mentorship, Program Management and Business Development. Holding a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Business School in Paris, Rohit combines academic excellence with extensive industry experience. Throughout his career, Rohit has consistently delivered exceptional results, driving sales, increasing turnover, and achieving targets. Known for his strategic acumen, Rohit formulates and executes successful business strategies, enhancing operational quality, customer satisfaction and key bottonline drivers. As the Co-Founder of MiM-Essay, a leading Early Career Degrees application consulting company, Rohit has successfully mentored over 10,000+ students, enabling them to secure admissions in top-ranked schools worldwide with significant scholarships. Under his leadership, the company has maintained high-quality service and exceptional client satisfaction rates. With expertise in analytics, product development and business excellence, Rohit has successfully driven the success of various initiatives. Committed to constant innovation, he is expanding the company's offerings by introducing digital and technology-powered products for comprehensive education solutions.
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