Columbia MBA Application Essay for 2019-20
Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)
Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)
Essay 2: Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)
Essay 3: Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 words)
Optional Essay: Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)
Columbia MBA Winning Sample Essay – 1
Columbia Esssay 1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)
I grew up sorting diamonds. While my friends were at the beach I was studying the all-important 4Cs (carat, cut, color, and clarity). My father is past president of the Diamond Exchange and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. My grandfather was a founding father of the industry in my country. They taught me that to excel you must first understand the fundamentals. That is what brings me to CBS.
I have always known I would join the family business. My dream job is more than to become CEO; my goal is to become an exceptional manager, combining my passions for business, technology, and finance, to grow our company in innovative directions. Post-MBA I hope to join our New York office, armed with stronger tools in finance and international management, to implement my vision for the future.
That vision includes guiding the company, which is focused mainly on taking rough diamonds to polished, downstream in a consumer-facing direction. Online sales of fine jewelry are still only a fraction of total sales, but it is growing rapidly. I see huge potential for recent technological advances in the fields of imaging, modeling, augmented reality and virtual reality, to revolutionize the B2C market. I aim to develop pioneering online sales platforms that will service consumer-faced companies, such as the integration of the Diamond Exchange with eBay I am working on now, vigorously seeking solutions to the challenges inherent in this nascent market.
Through my experiences I have acquired some of the skills I will need to achieve my goal. As an R&D team leader in the technological unit in the army I learned to take critical decisions under pressure, while leading my team to develop cutting-edge products within time frames initially perceived as impossible. Creating the Technology and Online Sales Division of my family business, leading a team of 10 to develop tech tools opening options for new strategic partnerships, I learned how to drive innovation in a traditional setting. Managing 20 people across the globe while overseeing our finance and rough material purchase, I am gaining finance and cross-cultural team leadership skills.
Now, to march my family business forward, to innovate, I need the best possible managerial skills, as well as to build on the passion for finance and data analytics I developed during my Masters in Financial Economics and hedge fund internship at Brevan Howard.
In recent years, new risk and financial management requirements have presented fresh challenges in the diamond industry. I see it as an evolution that presents great opportunity. Robust, efficient and creative financial management can open companies to new financing resources and growth opportunities. CBS is the ideal school to gain exposure to groundbreaking models, to give me both the all-important fundamentals in finance and management, as well as the more sophisticated tools I will need to lead my company through this challenging landscape to even greater accomplishments.
Columbia Essay 2: Please view the video below: The Center: How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)
Having started a retail business in college, I know the importance of learning management from those who went before. Located in Manhattan, Columbia has more business executives visit than any other top MBA program, a huge advantage to gain firsthand insights into the changing financial industry. I look forward to having networking opportunities with corporate executives and portfolio managers. My Los Angeles Colleague even said “ABC, I have met 6 different portfolio managers last 3 years in LA. Do you know how many I met last Friday in New York? 17!” New York will give me unparalleled opportunities to internship with PWM departments of every leading financial institution where I would have the opportunity to learn from practitioners like XYZ (MBA,’91), A top exec at Bank of America PWM.
I am eager to experience New York’s innovative, aggressive U.S banking culture to counter HSBC’s more conservative, low risk-taking banking culture. Columbia will enrich my life experience and encourage me to think like a world leader. For example, participating in the Columbia University World Leader Forum in New York will provide different perspectives on political and economic issues and help me navigate the global world of PWM. I will have the opportunity to witness how world leaders communicate and deal with conflict, as more wealth goes into the hands of the few. New York is not just a city, but an access point for business cultures from around the world, and I believe cultural intelligence is critical to lead a cross-cultural organization like HSBC.
Columbia MBA Winning Sample Essay – 2
Columbia Essay 1: Given your individual background and goals, why are you pursuing a Columbia MBA at this time? (500 words)
Growing up in the Dominican Republic, I saw how inadequate infrastructure halted progress and how development, including paved roads, created jobs in fields from heavy industry, to manufacturing, to “mom and pop” shops – boosting the country’s economy. I especially appreciated how upgraded ports grew trade, increasing government revenue and subsequently, my public servant parents’ paychecks. Now my personal and professional objective is to create similar growth by launching infrastructure investment projects.
I will accomplish this by managing a large scale infrastructure project, leveraging three to five years investing in infrastructure assets and achieving operational improvements as an investment associate, post-MBA. A Columbia MBA is the first step towards my goal, as it will provide the skills I need to be a successful infrastructure investment manager. I need value investment skills to improve both my operational performance and capital management knowledge of infrastructure projects so I can maximize my projects’ returns.
In the past, public financing alone met infrastructure needs, but today recent estimates suggest there is an annual half-trillion dollar funding gap in global infrastructure investment. Given the need for private funding, I will become an investment associate at an infrastructure fund like Sentry in the near-term, leveraging my Columbia MBA and credit skills developed at Booz & Co. to source and analyze infrastructure projects as an associate, before ultimately directing my own projects as a senior manager.
As a manager, I will encourage infrastructure investment through improved decision- making on large-scale projects like the JFK Airport upgrade. This project is suffering from ”decision paralysis” regarding renovations and is an example of how better management can mean substantive improvements. I will become a difference maker on such projects by developing strategic intuition through Professor XYZ “Napoleon’s Glance” class, learning to combine knowledge and experience to gain hidden insights.
I will also study Decision, Risk, and Operations with Professor Weintraub to avoid the process analysis, waste and quality control issues plaguing operations like the Second Avenue Subway. Additionally, I will personalize my Columbia experience by exploring non-conventional classes like “Impact Investing,” which will help me attract infrastructure investment to developing countries and highlight the benefits of social responsibility. Furthermore, Columbia’s embrace of Learning Teams and peer feedback mirrors investment committee interactions, preparing me to build the consensus needed to finance projects. Finally, the Global Immersion group classes will prepare me to handle infrastructure challenges across cultures.
Columbia’s leadership practice will also contribute to my personal growth. I hope to use the insights gained from participating in speaker forums at the Chazen Institute to convince skeptical stakeholders to invest in projects like roads, when weighing the trade-off between infrastructure and other near-term needs. Influencing change would mean fulfillment of a personal ambition. I will also learn to understand cross-cultural issues including subtle policy differences between developing and developed nations, transforming my own worldview ahead of working in the developing world. My Columbia experience will provide a deeper understanding of myself, my organization and my community, and my ability to contribute to each.
Columbia Essay 3: What will the people in your Cluster be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (250 words)
My cluster will be surprised that I taught at an all-boys high school full-time during my gap year between high school and college. I got this job through a quirky rule in Lithuania’s education system allowing schools to appoint a select number of instructors without formal training based on academic record and I was thrilled to share my knowledge with kids only a year or two younger than I was! Creating lesson plans forced me to examine how learning takes place, a thought processes I still employ when preparing presentations for colleagues. Furthermore, having discipline students no more mischievous than I had been a few semesters earlier also made me mature more quickly. Being in front of the classroom gave me a new perspective on behavior, literally and figuratively.
The best part of being a teacher however, was learning to appreciate my parents’ profession. I never realized how difficult managing a classroom could be and compared to presenting complex math to rowdy high school students, addressing a group of my colleagues today is a breeze.
I can’t wait to bring the patience I learned in this role to my learning team at CBS, using clear thoughtful communication to build consensus and overcome disagreements. I also hope to assume a cluster leadership position and use the emotional, social and interpersonal skills I learned as a teacher. Finally, I hope to give back to CBS by becoming a guest classroom speaker or panelist as an alumnus, building on this experience.