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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: J-Term / Alumnus / Off Campus

300px-Columbia_University_01The following is a report from a recent applicant who provided their Columbia MBA admissions interview questions.

I applied for the January term. Application was submitted on October 1st, and I received an interview invite about 3 weeks later. Interview is with an alumnus, and I had to choose from a random list that was sent to me. A list consists of 6 names, and I had to go through two lists before finding someone who was able to fit me into his schedule. In total, it took me about 2-3 weeks to schedule the interview. I would say that this was a longer period of time than average, and I was at a slight disadvantage because of the rolling admissions process as Columbia.

The interview itself went really well. My interviewer graduated from the CBS MBA program in mid-2000′s, and we spoke a lot about how the program has changed since then. The location was supposed to be at a coffee shop, but because of the crowd we actually ended up doing it in the lobby of a hotel. Still, no real issues in terms of distractions, and the interviewer was very polite and apologetic.

Questions were standard: 1) Tell me about yourself, 2) tell me more about your most recent job, 3) explain a gap in your resume, 4) given your experience, it seems you would have come across some ethical dilemmas in x role, tell me about that, 5) why an MBA? 6) why Columbia specifically? 7) what would you do if you don’t get admitted?

After all the general questions, he went on to my hobbies, and we hit it off pretty well as we had similar tastes in books and movies. Once we established some similar interests, things lightened up quickly, and we discussed random things for about 20 additional minutes.

He then ended up asking if I had any questions. I basically kept the questions light, asking him about his background and why he chose Columbia. The interview concluded with him giving me advice on which courses I should take and what I should do if I end up on the waitlist. In total, the interview lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.

Overall, it was a great interview. My biggest piece of advice would be to be prepared for a formal interview, but keep it light and try to find something in common. It’s more of a fit interview, and the interviewer liking you is just as important, if not more, as your credentials.

For more Columbia MBA admissions interview questions, visit our Columbia Interview Archive!

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

coffeee

The following is a report from a recent applicant who provided his Columbia MBA admissions interview questions. 

I met with a 2004 graduate at a cafe near his office at 8 AM on a Friday. The interaction was very friendly and casual. We started off with minor chit-chat before diving into the actual “interview”. See below for the order of questions that the interviewer asked. Note that the conversation flowed very smoothly and it wasn’t as if the interviewer was going down a checklist. 
Continue reading…

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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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