Columbia Business School (CBS)

Numbers. Decimals. Stocks. Shares. Banks. Money. Finance. High stakes. More money. High rewards. Even more money. If this action-packed, high-risk, high-reward scenario is what you would like to call home, if this is where you thrive, where you come alive, then CBS is for you. From the vast resources to the competitive spirit of the student culture, CBS is perfectly suited to get you ready for the world of banking and finance. Even if you are looking for something a little less "edge-of-your-seat", CBS still has more than enough to tickle your fancy.

How to Demonstrate Your 'Fit' for

Columbia Business School (CBS)

Columbia Business School (CBS) definitely positions itself as a finance school, and its brand is famous for its success placing students into finance and banking careers.  Although CBS has worked to build up its non-finance departments in recent years, more than one-third of its graduates enter jobs in the financial services industry each year (37.1% in 2015, 35.0% in 2014, and 37.0% in 2013). Indeed, the CBS Web site notes the finance and economics department is the largest at the school. Students wishing to concentrate their studies in finance and economics have a wide variety of resources at their disposal, with 56 full-time faculty members, more than 100 adjunct and visiting professors, and a multitude of course offerings in this area.  As such, it attracts a lot of finance professionals, and in particular, a lot of finance applicants from the US East Coast.  And while CBS has sought to recently expand its academic focus outside of “just finance”, be prepared that much of your academic focus will center around finance-related topics.  As you’d probably guess, therefore, a candidate that fits solidly at CBS is one who has demonstrated quantitative analysis and thinking skills – whether through the GMAT, at work, or in other ways (e.g., courses, extracurricular organizations).

Another big focus at CBS is entrepreneurship.  Its Eugene M. Lang Center is highly focused on entrepreneurship, and the associated Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund actually provides seed money to business plans designed by students and acts as an equity investor to CBS start-ups.  CBS also has the Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program, a full-semester course that provides both funding and mentorship to 15-20 students during the second semester of the second year.

It’s fair to categorize CBS’ culture as a competitive one.  In addition to focusing on the competitive finance field, it provides many business case and entrepreneurship competitions for students.  That being said, don’t overplay the “I’m a competitor” card when applying.  While the school acknowledges its competitiveness, it prides itself on having a “competitive but helpful” culture.  Since students spend their entire first year in “clusters” of 60 students, you need to demonstrate that you can work well with others.  CBS really wants its students to stay on campus, despite its NYC location, to encourage a collaborative, helpful culture.  As such, demonstrating how you plan to get involved in the extracurricular opportunities provided by CBS is a must!

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