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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.

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.

Questions

  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?

Conclusion

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 – 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.

 

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