MBA Admissions Interview Tips

Interview Tips and Questions for  the Columbia MBA Admissions

Columbia MBA Admissions Interview Tips

Each year, the Admissions Committee invites approximately 50% of the candidates to an interview. Between 15% and 20% of interviewed applicants will actually get in, whereas a minority of candidates will get admitted without having had an interview.

The interview takes place either on campus with a director of the Board of Admissions or in your geographical region with an alumnus of Columbia. Without doubt, choosing to come to New York City for the interview demonstrates motivation. An interview with an alumnus will certainly be more convenient, but I think that it risks having less of a direct impact with the Admissions Committee even if officially there is no difference.

An applicant who chooses to be interviewed in his or her home area chooses an interviewer from a list of three alumni of the school. These graduates are selected at random among alumni who volunteer and live in the same region as the candidate. The only information about the interviewer that will be provided to you is their year of graduation from Columbia.

The goal of the interview is to clear up certain points about the applicant's file, such as his or her intentions and career plans for after the MBA. Your interviewer may spend more time trying to see what motivated you to make a certain decision rather than delving into all the details of your professional and personal history. He or she will also attempt to gauge your conversational skills and your articulateness. Class participation being an omnipresent aspect of the program, the Admissions Committee wants to be assured that you will be able to contribute strongly.

The interview, which lasts for approximately one hour, takes place in two parts: in the first part, the interviewer asks a series of questions which will enable him to understand why you want to pursue an MBA at Columbia.  these questions are drafted by the Admissions Committee and are identical for all applicants. They are relatively standard and should not surprise you if you have read over your essays well before going to your interview. You can expect to be asked:

  • Why do you want to do an MBA at this point in your carrer? Why at Columbia?
  • What career path do you plan to take upon graduating from Columbia? Why?
  • Give an example either from your professional life or some other occasions where you directed a project.
  • What will you contribute to the campus community?
  • How do you plan to finance your studies?

In fact, the questions are like the job interview questions and answers

In the second part, the applicant is called upon to ask questions about Columbia. At this point in the application process, your interviewer expects you to ask questions based on your knowledge of Columbia rather than on your ignorance of it. You must avoid asking general questions about the admissions procedure, especially since the alumni will not give you any information that you don't already know. On the other hand, this interview represents the perfect time to show your interest in the program of study, in the teaching methodology, or in the life on campus. For example:

  • What are the key courses on should take?
  • Is there any advice for the quickest possible integration into the core of the school?
  • What mistakes should one avoid in order to get the most out the experience?
  • What are perception did you have about Columbia upon your graduation?
  • Are there any other career prospects beside investment banks and consulting firms?

Afterwards, the interviewer goes over his interview report, gives it a score on a scale of 1 to 4, then transfers this information to the Admissions Committee in New York City.



MBA Essays

Letter of Recommendation

Admissions Interview