Columbia MBA Interview

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.

Columbia MBA Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself (follow up including what books are you currently reading? how’s my industry like post-crisis).
  2. Why MBA?
  3. Why CBS?
  4. Career goals.
  5. Ultra long-term goals (i.e. in 30 years): i improvised the response…
  6. What drives you?
  7. What if you’re staffed in a remote town with absolutely nothing in your first post-MBA job. What do you do?
  8. Do you see yourself staying in this city after several years? Or you want to move to Europe/Asia?
  9. Anything you haven’t told me in the resume.
  10. Any questions for me.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 10

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.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 9

This was a blind interview (the alumnus only had my resume). The interview started with the questions ‘Walk me through your resume/tell me about yourself’. It was extremely conversational. The interviewer did have a print-out of the Ambassador Handbook sent by Columbia and that had a number of questions that he could ask. He was taking notes from time to time.

A lot of questions were specific to my background but some common questions were:

1. Walk me through your resume
2. Plan B if Columbia does not work
3. Plan B if main career-vision does not work
4. What my company does and my role at the company
5. There is a lot of team work and team-based learning at Columbia and so what role do I see myself taking in a team?
6. Any questions for me?

The interview lasted for a bit over 30 minutes.


Have a Skype Interview ?

Excel in Skype interviews with these simple tips.

Learn Now

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 8

I met with my interviewer off-campus in the city where I live (East Coast city, not NYC) at a coffee shop over the weekend. I wore a suit and they also wore business attire. The interview was conducted by a recent graduate who also lives in the city. All scheduling and outreach is the applicant’s responsibility once you are matched in their online portal. The interview was blind so I had to provide my resume in advance (I put it in the Google Calendar invite), and I provided a hard copy at the meeting. My interviewer had clearly read my resume and casually referenced items during our discussion, which I appreciated.

The questions were relatively stock, and included (in order best I can remember):
– Tell me about yourself
– Walk me through your resume
– Tell me what your plan B is if you don’t get your dream career after school
– Why an MBA? Why now?
– Why CBS?
– What sort of leader are you?
– What questions do you have for me?

We wrapped up by having probably a 20 min discussion about their time on campus, what they do for work, and specifics about recommendations for your first year on campus. Overall it was a very approachable, friendly discussion that I enjoyed. I think their format speaks well to the CBS ethos.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 7

It seems to me that CBS interviews, at least from the information on this website, are pretty spot-on in relation to questions asked.

Interview lasted an hour. Generally a casual atmosphere, although interviewer came off as stoic in certain situations, and probed my CV heavily – I was expecting this since I’m a non-traditional applicant.

Interviewer submitted his report within a few hours of the interview.

At the end of the interview he spent about 20 mins talking about his time at Columbia. I spoke about his win on CBS Marketing Case competition so I think he was impressed that I did my homework on him (told him it was fourth or fifth page on Google – he was surprised I knew this about him).

At the very end he said to keep him updated on my Columbia application status. He also gave me advice as to what I should do as a student at Columbia. And he said he’ll put me in touch with his VC friend for advice on my med tech start-up.


Questions asked, in no particular order:
1. Walk me through your resume
2. Why business school
3. Why Columbia
4. Plan B if you don’t get in
5. Heavy probing on CV
6. How would you juggle your start-up and the MBA at the same time? (I recently co-founded a med tech start-up).

Now we’ll see how it goes! Good luck to everyone.


Frequently asked Situational and Behavioural interview questions

Practise Now

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 6

I met my interviewer for lunch in NYC, very relaxed and I ended up having a great time and learning a lot about the school. The interview was very conversational and took 75 minutes which I think is quite long for a Columbia interview. He knew nothing about me and looked at my resume in the restaurant while we were eating (I brought a copy).


1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Walk me through your resume.
3. Why Columbia?
4. What is your backup plan if you do not get in to Columbia?
5. what will you do if you do not land a job as a consultant?
6. Why do you want to be a consultant, what kind of consultant an what firms interest you?
7. What will you get involved in if you get accepted?
8. Any questions for me?

The interview was very straightforward and nothing unexpected. After talking with him I am even more excited about the Columbia experience.

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 5

Was a really short one- done in 20 mins which was surprisingly short. Very standard questions- nothing to throw off- Intro, why MBA, why CBS, what are your goals and how will you contribute to the community.

The Adcom member spoke really passionately about the alum network and her experience of traveling around the world for mba events which was good to hear.

CBS from this experience seems to have very to the point interviews with straightforward questions to just judge how comfortable you are talking about them.
Haven’t received a decision yet but hoping for the best!

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 4

It was a very conversational interview. The second-year student has not read my application and he only had access to my resume. He kicked off with the typical tell me about yourself question and the conversation naturally flowed from there. I asked a lot of questions about his experience and got some pointers on what to expect in the first year of business school. Whenever we exhausted a topic, he would proceed with another open-ended question. This repeated until we ran out of time.


  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why MBA?
  3. Why Columbia?
  4. Why consulting?
  5. Do you have any questions for me?

Columbia MBA Interview Questions - 3

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 - 2

  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 - 1

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.

You May Also Like

Need help with Interview Prep?


Polish your interviewing skills


With 2 power packed mock interviews and feedbacks




INR 20,000/-

If not admitted to school

100 % Refund

Sad dog (1)

Don't regret Paying for bad service, Ever Again!


Work with us & Pay when you get selected

WhatsApp: +91-9599837983