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Interview Reports

Columbia

Below are MBA admissions interview questions and experiences submitted by CBS MBA applicants. If you interviewed at Columbia, we encourage you to submit a report detailing your experience!

Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Early Decision / Alumnus / Off Campus

coffee-interview

The following is an interview report provided by an early decision Columbia MBA applicant, who shares their Columbia MBA admissions interview questions: 

From the list of Ambassadors that the school provided, I chose an alum that had a similar background than mine (finance/M&A in the infrastructure sector).
We met at a local coffee shop (São Paulo, Brazil) and the interview was very informal. This environment was crucial to break the ice. He was more concern if I was enjoyable rather than testing me. The interview went as follows:

1. Give me your 5-minute pitch (another version of the “walk me through your resume” question).
2. Why MBA?
3. Tell me more about your latest Project and your role in it.
4. Why Columbia? How will your Columbia experience look like? 
5. What do you want to do post-MBA?
6. What is your plan B career? – He asked me that since my goal is to return to Private Equity, and it is a very selective field, even for MBA students.
7. Tell me about a ethical dilema you faced at work.
8. Do you have any questions?

In every question he wanted to make sure to get into details. He said he was more curious than testing if I was consistent with my speech.

For more Columbia MBA admissions interview questions, check out our Columbia Interview Reports Archive!

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Report: ED / Alumni / Off Campus

jobinterview

Here is a recent Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Report from one of our readers who applied Early Decision: 

This site has been very helpful so I’d like to give back: 

Interviewed with a Columbia alumnus last week. It went very well overall. There was no surprise questions at all and it definitely turned into a conversation after about 20-30 minutes. Here are a few of the questions that I was asked:

1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Why Columbia. 
3. Why did you choose your undergrad major
4. What do you expect out of an MBA
5. What can you contribute to MBA at Columbia. 
7. Did you visit CBS. 
6. Questions to me.

The interview lasted about 1.5 hours. My interviewer was very friendly and smart. He shared a lot of thoughts and experience such as classes that he took at CBS. I actually really enjoyed talking with him and regardless I get in or not, I think it was a great interview and the alumnus represented Columbia very well. I was impressed.

For more Columbia MBA admissions interview reports, check out our Columbia Interview Reports Archive!

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview: Round 1 / Alumnus / Off-Campus

My CBS interview was very fast, in total it lasted around 40 minutes. I interviewed with a CBS alum here in Mexico. The interview was conducted in English. The first ~10 minutes I walked her through my resumé while she asked questions. Then she asked me “Why an MBA?” and “Why Columbia?”. Those were basically her questions. She also asked me what other universities I applied to. After that, she asked me if I had any questions for her and we spent around 20 minutes discussing and talking about her experience.

columbia

 

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Columbia Business School MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / Alumnus / Off-Campus

interview 3I applied for the J-term and got the interview call within 2 weeks of applying.  I scheduled the interview with an alum-most of them did not have a similar background as mine. He called me to his office so it was a formal setting.

The interview started off by him discussing about my current work. We got into the details of my profile, the product, and the difficulties my sector is facing. There were a few standard questions as have been listed out in almost all other posts.

1. Why MBA?
2. Why Columbia?
3. What value can you add to Columbia?
4. Describe an ethical dilemma you have faced.

In every answer, he would pick up one thing and switch to that topic to see how comfortable I was with what I was saying.

After 40 minutes, he asked me if I had any questions for him which went on for about 5 minutes and that was it.

Overall, a very relaxed interview, even after it being a formal setting. He made me feel very comfortable since the interview went on in more of a chatty fashion rather than it being question-answer session. I hope to hear from them in about 2 weeks as the website suggests. Fingers crossed.

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Early Decision / Alumnus / Off-campus

From the list of Ambassadors that the school provided, I chose an alum that had a similar background to mine (finance/M&A in the infrastructure sector).
We met at a local coffee shop (São Paulo, Brazil) and the interview was very informal. This environment was crucial to break the ice. He was more concerned if I was comfortable and enjoying the conversation rather than testing me.

The interview went as follows:

1. Give me your 5-minute pitch (another version of the “walk me through your resume” question).
2. Why MBA?
3. Tell me more about your latest project and your role in it.
4. Why Columbia? How will your Columbia experience look like?
5. What do you want to do post-MBA?
6. What is your plan B career? – He asked me that since my goal is to return to Private Equity, and it is a very selective field, even for MBA students.
7. Tell me about an ethical dilema you faced at work.
8. Do you have any questions?

In every question he wanted to make sure to get into details. He said he was more curious than testing if I was consistent with my speech.

Interview 2

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / Alumnus / Off-Campus

The interview was at a coffee shop. It was casual and conversational, though the interviewer really focused on my previous experiences.

The questions asked were:

1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Why MBA?
3. Why Columbia?
4. Why xyz industry?
5. What would you do if your industry was gone?
6. Would you go back to your previous job function?
7. Do you have questions for me?

All in all – very simple. 1.5 hour interview. Good luck all.

Interview 4

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 2 / Alumnus / Off-Campus

The interview was at a coffee shop and revolved around a few basic questions. It was a blind interview, although I provided my resume in advance, and it lasted 45 minutes.  I had the opportunity to ask questions throughout the conversation.

1. Walk me through the last three years of your resume.
2. Why are you interested in going to business school?
3. What specific courses are you interested in?
4. Have you visited campus? Why Columbia? Why NYC?
5. What are your near-term career goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
6. What else would you like me to tell the admissions committee?

Interview 4

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 2 / Alumnus / Off-campus

I interviewed with an older alumna with an investment banking background. Similar to other interviews on Clear Admit, my interview questions focused on:

1) Walk me through your resume
2) Why MBA?
3) Why Columbia?
4) What other schools are you applying to?

The interview was conversational though I would advise not getting too relaxed. Stay on your game. I found out 10 days later that I was accepted!

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / Alumnus / Off-campus

I had a great interview with an advertising director in NYC. I arrived at his office 15 minutes early and he offered me a coffee. He started by asking Why Columbia and Why MBA now. I talked a bit about my resume, then he asked me what role I usually play on teams. The conversation was very relaxed and free flowing from there. We talked about his background and interest in the advertising industry. I asked about the Columbia network post-graduation. He was visiting LA during the holidays, and since I’m from there I gave him a few suggestions. Overall great interview process!

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Rolling admission / Alumnus / Off-campus

The interview was conducted by an alum and took place in a conference room in his office. It was a blind interview, but I sent him my CV in advance.

Questions:
- Walk me through your resume
- Why Columbia/ why MBA?
- What other schools I’d applied to
- My current role
- What I had to bring to the table in the classroom setting

He was a young and friendly interviewer. He gave me his background too. It felt fairly informal. There was time at the end to pose questions. He had a report to fill out afterwards, so he apologised if the questions seemed trite, and because he’d be writing comments based on my responses as I spoke. The interviewer felt a strong affinity to the school and conducts many interviews.

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Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 (ED) / Alumnus / Off-campus

As other people have stated, spend some time to choose your interviewer. Also remember a recent graduate is not necessarily going be easier to interview with… senior alumni can make sometimes better interviewers as they have done hundreds of them and it will be just one more for them and are a lot more confident.

Interview was exactly as described here by everyone else. We held the interview at his office in a meeting room. It started off as a normal job interview and slowly changed into a conversation. I also felt that he placed a lot of weight on the time that he gave me to ask questions (remember to tailor your questions to the interviewer – no point asking a interviewer who graduated 20 years ago which class to take or how was his time at CBS).

Questions that he asked me:
1. Why an MBA (he asked me to use the opportunity as well to walk him through my CV)
2. Why Columbia and why New York
4. Do I have any particular classes or professors in mind
5. As I am in investment banking he asked me to detail a recent deal that I worked on (he went into technical questions – not valuations but rather what is the driver for the industry, how would x, y and z impact valuation, etc – but they were basic questions nothing compared to a real banking interview)
6. Give me a situation where you worked in a team
7. Give me a situation where you had difficulty in concluding a deal
6. Give me a situation where you had difficulty with a team member
8. How many people have worked for you (juniors), in what capacity and how did you manage them
9. What are you future plans; both short term and long term
9.1 What would you do if your plans failed? I told him that I would like to return to my home country post MBA to which he responded if this was absolute or if I am flexible and willing to relocate and why
10. Have I spoken to alumni and / or current students and who are they – he didn’t care about names rather how do I know them etc.

After about an hour he gave me about 15 min to ask questions. The interview did not seem tailored to ED applications.

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