Ace Your Columbia Business School MBA Interview: Expert Tips and Sample Questions

Master your Columbia Business School MBA interview with our comprehensive guide, featuring example questions, expert tips, and insights to help you confidently navigate the process and leave a lasting impression.

Posted January 10, 2024

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Whether you've been invited to interview with Columbia Business School (CBS) or are simply planning ahead for the Columbia MBA application process, we're here to help you make the most of this opportunity and take your application to the finish line. In this article, we will explore the CBS interview format, some frequently asked questions, and tips on how to prepare for and excel in your interview.

To help you succeed, we have compiled a list of example questions and expert tips based on information from various client interview experiences. Let's dive into the crucial information you need to know to nail your interview.

Interview Format

Columbia Business School MBA interviews are primarily conducted by CBS alumni who have been instructed on how to interview and evaluate you. CBS uses a blind interview format which means your interviewer will not have viewed your application.

Since your interviewer has not seen your application, the questions asked will be behavioral, focusing on your background, interests, goals, and why you want to attend an MBA program and Columbia Business School in particular.

Note: For the 2023-2024 admissions cycle, the following interview decision release timeline is expected:

  • Round 1: mid-October, 2023
  • Round 2: early-to-mid February, 2024
  • Round 3: mid-to-late April, 2024

Sample Interview Questions

Here are some common questions that you might encounter during your Columbia MBA interview:

  • Tell me something about yourself.
  • Walk me through your resume.
  • Why MBA? Why Columbia Business School?
  • Why MBA now or Why MBA at this stage of your career?
  • What are your short & long-term goals?
  • What is your Plan B if your current career plans don't happen?
  • What are your key strengths? Can you give some examples, please?
  • What is your biggest weakness? Can you give some examples, please?
  • How can you add value to the class?
  • Why should we take you?
  • One reason that we should not select you?
  • Teach me something.
  • What makes you different from other applicants?
  • Interests and Hobbies – Be prepared! Questions as basic as “Why do you do poetry (or any other activity)?” may be asked.
  • Some additional situational & behavioral questions

Additional questions you may see:

  • Questions related to hot topic current events, especially in your industry
  • Questions about new technology and how that might affect your career path

Tips for Success

  • Research Columbia Business School and its unique characteristics. CBS wants people who really want to attend CBS. Speak with current students or alumni and use their insights during the interview.
  • Prep behavioral questions with stories to back up your answers: Prepare anecdotes and examples from your past experiences that demonstrate your leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills.
  • Have a backup plan: Be ready to discuss an alternative plan if your primary post-MBA goals do not materialize.
  • Ask thoughtful questions: Use the opportunity to ask your interviewer questions about their own MBA experience, the program, or Columbia Business School in general. This demonstrates genuine interest and engagement.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Rehearse answering common interview questions and case questions to ensure you're comfortable and confident during the actual interview. We have dozens of amazing CBS experts on Leland that would be more than happy to practice with you!
  • Be confident: Interviews can be nerve-wracking! But remember to be confident, calm, and collected. Avoid rambling, communicate clearly, and remember: you deserve to be there!

"“At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”"

Maya Angelou

By leveraging the information and tips in this guide, you'll be well-equipped to make a strong impression during your Columbia Business School MBA interview. Good luck, and remember to stay confident and genuine throughout the process!

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