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Columbia MBA Interviews

Columbia Business School MBA Interviews

The Columbia Business schools interviews will be conducted by a Columbia alum or current student, who has been instructed on how to interview and evaluate you . The interviewer will not have viewed your application – you may provide them with your resume prior to the interview

With this in mind you will obviously not be asked probing questions specific to your Columbia application.  Rather, you will be asked behavioral questions, such as “Tell me about a time you failed.”  “Tell me about a time you successfully managed a large team.”  You will also be asked questions about your background, interests, goals, why you want to attend an MBA program, why you want to go to Columbia.

Who will interview you, and how long will the interview last?

The Columbia MBA program interview is  usually conducted by one of the panel members. The interview typically lasts for 25-30 minutes or may extend to 35-40 minutes in some instances.

Will the interviewer have read my application?

The Panel member has access to your complete application. In most instances, they would have read it completely.

How can you prepare for your interview?

Like most MBA Interviews, your interview will mainly revolve around a pretty similar set of MBA interview questions. You can never predict what questions will be asked, but with enough research, you can predict what are the most commonly asked questions in these interviews. We have created a short FAQ list below to get you a jump start, and we also have a free guide linked below to help you prepare for these commonly asked interview questions.

Columbia MBA Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  1. Tell me something about yourself?
  2. Walk me through your resume?
  3. Why MBA? Why Columbia school?
  4. Why MBA now or Why MBA at this stage of your career?
  5. What is your short & long term goals?
  6. What is your Plan B if consulting/Investment banking does not happen?
  7. What are your key strengths? Can you give some examples please?
  8. What is your biggest weakness ? Can you give some examples please?
  9. How can you add value to the Class?
  10. Why should we take you?
  11. One reason that we should not select you?
  12. Interests and Hobbies – Be prepared!.. questions as basic as “Why do you do poetry (or any other activity” may be asked.
  13. Some Situational & Behavioral Question
    • What would you describe are your greatest achievement to date?
    • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
    • Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  14. Case questions are fairly common in MBA interview especially for consulting aspirants. Below are a few sample for to practice for:
    • How many Golf balls can fit in a Boeing 747?
    • What’s the global market size for smartphones?
  15. Do you have any Question for us?

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 1

I received an invitation to interview and was matched with one alumnus in my area. The match was definitely not random since we are in the same under-represented industry, similarly sized companies, and have worked with the same people at some points in our careers.

I reached to my interviewer via email and he suggested two days to meet. After agreeing on date and time I also sent him my resume. Before the interview, I spoke to 10+ students and prepared extensively. On the day of the interview, we met at a cafe near his office. The atmosphere was very casual and friendly.

He read my resume in advance and just had a couple of clarifying questions specific to my background. Otherwise, questions asked were very typical for Columbia interviews.


  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why MBA and why now?
  3. Why Columbia?
  4. Do you have any questions for me?

I asked several questions about his career and MBA experience, and my last question was whether he had any advice for prospective students. This question ended up launching a second phase of the interview… He expressed concern about my goals being unclear (I failed to explain properly and at this point said goodbye to Columbia), and started asking follow up questions:

5. What impact / achievement have you had in your current job?


He seemed unsatisfied with my answer and kept pressing until I gave him a quantifiable answer.
He said he will submit feedback to school and tell them my interest in Columbia seems genuine.
After the interview, he submitted feedback the same day. I was certain I failed the interview, but I got a call from admissions two business days later.

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Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 2

Very, very standard interview with an alumni.

I applied early decision (9/5) got the interview invite on 9/22, had the interview on 10/4, feedback submitted 10/5, acceptance call 10/6

We met at a coffee shop in NYC, the interview lasted around 40 minutes, and she was extremely friendly!

Questions included:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are your professional goals?
  • Do you have a backup plan?
  • Why are you looking for an MBA?
  • Why Columbia?
  • How will you prioritize your time at Columbia?

It was very conversational, so we discussed all of those over the course of 40 minutes, and she frequently gave me her own thoughts, etc. I asked around 5 questions at the end.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 3

  1. Walk me through your résumé. While I was walking him through the resume, he asked questions around why I made the switch to my current job, what department I am working with currently, in what all fields is my employer involved.
  2. Why MBA? Why now? – The focus was primarily on my long term goals and how I would achieve them?
  3. Why Columbia? – Alumnus also shared his experience when I talked about the resources available at CBS.
  4. What leadership roles would I take outside classroom?
  5. Any questions for Alumnus.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 4

Interview at a coffee shop in NYC with a recent graduate. Very relaxed setting and the interviewer was very friendly. He and I were in the same industry, so we had a few mutual friends. Interview was pretty straightforward.

Questions were:

1. Tell me about yourself?
2. How did you come to the decision to leave your current job?
3. Why did you pick your current job?
4. Why are we here (in reference to why are we having this interview)?
5. What are your post-MBA career goals?
6. How will CBS help you achieve them vs. other schools?
7. What academic programs are you interested in at CBS?
8. What are you most proud of?
9. What will you bring to CBS
10. What makes you different than any other applicants?
11. Teach me something.

The last question was a real curve ball, but everything else was expected.

I was told I would hear from admission two weeks from when the interviewer submitted his letter. I heard five days later that I was accepted.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 5

I had my interview for Columbia MBA Program. It was held on January 18, 2022 and I got accepted into Columbia. The interviewer was really friendly and engaging. We didn’t start with an introduction because the interviewer (a recent EMBA alumnus) had carefully studied my resume and looked through my LinkedIn profile, which caught me off guard.

He asked me the following questions:

– Walk me over your resume
– describe your responsibilities at your current job
-Why do you want to do MBA?
– Why do you want to do MBA now?
– Why do you want to join Columbia Business School?
– What contribution will you make to Columbia Business School? 
– What more institutions did you apply to?

It was an easygoing talk. His learning team includes a friend of mine who first served as the icebreaker. Overall, after the interview, I felt confident. I would advise other applicants to fully comprehend why Columbia is the best fit for them and to express that in your interview.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 6

My interview for the Columbia MBA Program was conducted on January 11, 2021. Despite the fact that his emails were only one line long, my interviewer—who has an excellent career in PE that spans the globe and has been active for more than 10 years—was quite responsive. He began by outlining his professional background and the role that Columbia Business School has had in both his life and work.

Here are the questions asked:

1. What are my short term and long term goals?
2. Why do you want to do MBA?
3. Why do you want to join Columbia Business School?
4. Why do you want to do MBA?
5. Describe yourself in 3 words
6. What are your own motivations or philosophies that led you to make this decision or achieve these achievements (essentially, a question to reflect on why you are who you are)?

We briefly discussed travel, my current job, mutual friends, and other topics. He named numerous alumni from the field I was interested in. In general, I thought my interviewer was a direct, serious, yet still kind individual. Be ready to be challenged and show that you are truly knowledgeable about the subject. Clearly, I did alright here; best of luck to everyone else.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 7

I had my Columbia MBA Program interview on September 12, 2019 and I got accepted. I had the interview while I was in China even though I worked for a US company at the time. The interview took place in his office and was supposed to last an hour. It ended up lasting an hour and a half, so I guess we had a really good conversation. When I made the appointment, I sent the interviewer my resume via email, but on the day of the interview, he didn’t print it out. So, in any case, don’t forget to carry a hard copy.

Following are the questions asked:

1. Please introduce yourself.

2. Mention your leadership experiences.

3. Why an MBA?

4. Why at this time?

5. Why Columbia?

6. What managerial positions will I hold at Columbia?

7. A few questions concerning my future objectives.

Questions I asked him were:

– How do the learning teams function?

– How has COVID affected his MBA experience, and how does he see our class faring?

Interviewer was very open and made it clear that the purpose of the questioning was to assess fit rather than just learning about my accomplishments from reading my résumé. I combined instances of professors and alumni I’d spoken with, news/videos and quotations from the dean, info sessions I’d attended, etc. with each of my questions. I asked questions that I was actually interested in learning about, and I got pointers and advice from him about the course. Great overall experience.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 8

The interview for the Columbia MBA Program was held on September 26, 2020 and I got accepted. I was questioned by a current student via the CBS website. The interview got off to a terrible start because I could not hear the interviewer for the first two minutes. But after that, everything went without a hitch. The questions were as follows and were somewhat connected to my objectives and plan.

The questions were:

1. The first question asked during the interview was about my current employer, how its operations are going in China, and whether I have any business recommendations.
2. Walk me over your resume; he often interrupted to ask for clarification or follow-up questions.
3. My long- and short-term aspirations for once I leave CBS. When I mentioned that I choose Jterm since I already had a personal and family network in the sector, he disputed this and questioned what other competitive advantages I might have.
4. He also inquired about a number of the ECs I named (he asked solely for the organisation names). Therefore, be certain that every word on your CV is accurate.
5. Briefly discuss why do you want to join Columbia Business School?
6. 3-5 adjectives that best define you, with examples

The interview was supposed to take 30 minutes, but it ended up taking 45 because I had a few questions to respond. Since he comes from a different industry, I tried to provide clear justifications and tried to make things as obvious as I could.
I wasn’t sure if I did a good job throughout the interview, but after it was over, he appeared pleased with what he had learned. Don’t overthink your interviewer’s responses.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 9

My interview was held on August 21, 2019. The final result was that I got accepted for the Columbia MBA Program. The interview was held in New Delhi, India. We first met at the coffee shop of a convenient hotel. 

He asked the following questions:

-Describe your background and current job

– Why do you want to do MBA?

– Why do you want to join Columbia Business School?

– Why do you want to do MBA?

– Any questions for the interviewer?

The interview was really informal and candid. I did not experience any pressure. Prior to the interview, I sent my résumé to the interviewer through email; he printed it out, made notes, and had a list of questions that we discussed.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions – 10

I had my interview with a former CBS employee in So Paulo, Brazil. The interview went rather smoothly. My interview was held on July 24, 2019. Listed below is a brief overview:

– Go through your resume with me.

– Why join the Columbia MBA Program?

– How come now?

– Why CBS?

– To what other universities are you applying?

-How do you find employment in India when you are a student in the US? (In my case, I returned to India right after receiving my MBA.)

– What are your short- and long-term objectives?

– What is your plan B?

-Which executive responsibilities will you hold at CBS?

-If you have any stock ideas, please share your top three suggestions with me. He asked additional questions about this.

-Any questions for him?

He talked about his time working at CBS. He took notes while I spoke during the 30-minute interview.

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