2008 Columbia MBA Admissions Chat with Michael Robinson

2008 Columbia MBA Admissions Chat with Michael Robinson

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending an e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 12:57:51 PM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat. I want to welcome our special guests, Michael Robinson, Associate Director of Admissions and CBS MBA ’01, and Lauren Sickles, MBA Class of ’08. Thanks to everyone for joining.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 12:58:30 PM)
Thank you for the invitation Linda.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 12:58:37 PM)
You're most welcome.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 12:58:54 PM)
Here is a short bio for Lauren so you can better direct your questions:
Lauren graduated Stanford University earning a B.A. in Economics. She then worked in Operations and Product Management for an Internet startup in the financial services sector and did consulting for a marketing research firm. At CBS Lauren is concentrating in finance and social enterprise. She is also: Co-Chair of the Black Business Students Association’s 26th Annual Conference VP, Special Events Hermes Society Cluster Rep, Alumni Transition and Development Committee Non-Profit Board Leadership Program. After graduation she intends to work at a day job in investment banking and also join non-profit boards focused on youth development and Education on the side. Her long-term plan is to found or partner with this type organization.

mba2008 (Sep 26, 2007 12:59:47 PM)
Lauren, can you please talk about your experiences in Social Enterprise at CBS?

Miro (Sep 26, 2007 1:00:03 PM)
Michael, do the chances of getting scholarship reduce for people applying later during the application period? Also, what is the percentage of the international students who managed to get a loan?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:00:56 PM)
As long as you apply by the fellowship deadline, which is January 9, 2008, you have the same chances as any other applicant for receiving a fellowship.
Regarding loans, we find a way to work with everyone we admit, but I do not have that specific percentage for you.

siddey (Sep 26, 2007 1:01:13 PM)
Michael: How have the placements been this year for people in non profit management positions?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:02:00 PM)
This year I am taking a class call Non-Profit and Executive Board Management. The focus of the class is to understand how non-profit boards work and how to be an effective "business" member on them. I am also participating in the Non-Profit Board Leadership Program. I will shadow a CBS alum at NYC non-profit organization and do a pro bono consulting project for the Board of Directors. My organization is focused on youth educational and professional development. I will be working directly with the CEO.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:02:21 PM)
Lauren, why did you choose Columbia? Did it meet your expectations?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:02:27 PM)
The placement rate for our graduates, 6 months after they graduate, is over 90%. The number within social enterprise are comparable.

Tom H. (Sep 26, 2007 1:02:42 PM)
Is it true that the J-term is being reduced by 1/3 this coming January?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:03:23 PM)
We are strongly considering a reduction in the J-term, but a final decision has not yet been made.

Pavel_P (Sep 26, 2007 1:03:40 PM)
Hi Michael, I'm from Russia, Moscow. I have a question about candidates; what percentage of accepted persons is with no financial background? I have great experience in entrepreneurial and marketing areas but have no financial background at all, and it's worrying me about Columbia BS.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:03:41 PM)
I chose CBS for the academic opportunities, particularly the growing Social Enterprise program as well as the student culture. My classmates are extremely smart, diverse and driven. But they still LOVE to have a good time. CBS has more than lived up to my expectations.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:04:19 PM)
Not having a finance background is not a problem. Many of our incoming students have liberal arts backgrounds.

Red (Sep 26, 2007 1:04:27 PM)
Michael, does the admissions committee require/prefer a particular format for the professional resume?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:04:48 PM)
We do not have a required format for the professional resume.

mba2008 (Sep 26, 2007 1:04:58 PM)
Michael, do you suggest that couples applying together identify themselves?

mba2008 (Sep 26, 2007 1:05:07 PM)
Lauren, does social enterprise at CBS focus primarily on non-profits or do you gain exposure to corporate social responsibility and bottom of the pyramid issues as well?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:05:14 PM)
Yes, couples applying together should identify themselves as such.

Mayank (Sep 26, 2007 1:05:20 PM)
Hi Michael, can you tell me a little about the Columbia's PSI?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:06:12 PM)
PSI is our Program on Social Intelligence, and it is a very hands on program designed to increase the leadership and management skills of our students.

to_be (Sep 26, 2007 1:06:15 PM)
Michael: Is lack of international work experience a shortcoming in an application?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:06:46 PM)
No, lack of international experience is not a shortcoming. But we do look for a steady progression of leadership initiative and teamwork.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:06:47 PM)
MBA2008: The social enterprise does not only focus on non-profits. There is a course in corporate social responsibility as well. In fact, all of the core classes have an ethics components that deals with tricky corporate situations and identifying stakeholders. I am also currently taking a class in Corporate Governance and we have discussed this topic in a few of our cases.

Red (Sep 26, 2007 1:07:25 PM)
Is the applicant at a disadvantage if he or she hasn't visited campus?

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:07:39 PM)
Lauren: Are you participating in PSI? Can you comment on it?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:08:56 PM)
While we encourage applicants to visit to learn more about our program, you can attend our Columbia On the Road information sessions and contact our current students in the Hermes Society through the admissions portion of our website to learn more about the program and environment here.

Miro (Sep 26, 2007 1:09:07 PM)
How do you summarize the relationship of school with big players in the field of health management consultancy, biotech and pharma compared to other Ivy League schools? Are the chances any better for your graduates in this industry and if yes why?

rajpdsouza (Sep 26, 2007 1:09:09 PM)
How many students are in the healthcare and pharmaceutical management program and what kind of opportunities does the NYC-area give to these students?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:10:07 PM)
I have only attended one official PSI event. It was a seminar taught by Professor Feiner and dealt with how to handle discrimination situations in the workplace. On the other hand, there is a core class called Leadership that is required for all 1st years and it is a 6 week crash course across a variety of topics in PSI. It was extremely helpful in my job over the summer as well as in my leadership positions in student organizations on campus. It really promotes having a strong sense of self-awareness and having the ability to read others.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:11:10 PM)
The director of our healthcare program, Cliff Cramer, has led the healthcare group at a major investment bank, has startup experience in the field, and executive experience with big pharma. In short, he has over 25 years of professional experience in the field and a wealth of contacts. We are very excited about where he is taking the program. I urge you to visit the healthcare portion of the CBS website.

mba08 (Sep 26, 2007 1:11:14 PM)
Michael, where in the admissions process does an invitation to interview place you?  Does it mean someone has a good chance of making it , if they interview well?

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:11:26 PM)
Lauren: What class or professor is simply not to be missed?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:11:54 PM)
There are probably about 40 students with a healthcare focus each year.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:13:04 PM)
We interview about 40% of our applicants. Receiving an invitation for an interview is a positive development in your application, but keep in mind we do admit some people without an interview every year.

Tom H. (Sep 26, 2007 1:13:09 PM)
Would you recommend someone apply if they have a strong application this late in the application cycle for the J-term or maybe hold off and apply early next year for the J-term?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:13:38 PM)
We still have open spots in the J-term class, I strongly encourage you to apply.

Bhushan (Sep 26, 2007 1:13:43 PM)
My question is related to the transcripts. In India, most of the colleges don't give GPA ...well mine did not and if I convert my percentages to GPA  it comes out to be weird. The conversion of percentages to GPA's produces a number which does not give an accurate measurement of candidates academic performance. In this case, how will CBS judge which percentage is the true reflection of the candidates acads? For example, In Mumbai University, that I come from, the majority of students get are percentages in 70's whereas in other parts of India, some universities, students get percentages in 80's .... so how does CBS judge the candidates academic potential?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:13:48 PM)
Linda: Michael Johannes for Capital Markets. He was an amazing professor. Everyday he was extremely excited about teaching and did a very good job of tying the material to current events.

Briana Pompei (Sep 26, 2007 1:13:54 PM)
Lauren, I assume you diligently researched the "fit" of several MBA programs before you decided to attend CBS. What, if anything, surprised you about the curriculum, your cohort, or the general milieu of the program?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:15:27 PM)
Bhushan, first, use optional essay 5 to explain your situation. Second, when you make your conversion do not rely on the percentages, but rather on letter grades. Then convert that letter grade to the 4.0 scale. For instance, if 70% is the equivalent of an A at your school, then that would be a 4.0 grade.

CKP (Sep 26, 2007 1:15:36 PM)
My recommender does not have access to Internet at his workplace, other than email. Does the Columbia Business School Accept printed recommendations.?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:15:38 PM)
Briana: I was surprised at a couple of things. First the numerous opportunities available in almost every facet of student life- academic, social, extra-curricular, and professional. There is just simply no time to do everything. Second, I was surprised at how diverse, talented, and down to earth my classmates are.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:15:49 PM)
Yes, we accept printed recommendations.

Mayank (Sep 26, 2007 1:15:54 PM)
Lauren, how did you find Dean Hubbard's entrepreneurial finance course?

ADB (Sep 26, 2007 1:16:09 PM)
Does reapplying to a school increase odds of acceptance? Meaning, would it be better to submit a weaker application now and a stronger one next year or just wait till next year to submit?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:17:31 PM)
While historically reapplicants have done well in our process, we encourage you to apply when you have the strongest application.

Nicky484 (Sep 26, 2007 1:17:35 PM)
I'm interested in developing new technology. Does Columbia offer a program to develop the fundamental of innovative thinking?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:17:48 PM)
Mayank, I am currently taking that class now. It is interesting to learn exactly how VC firms think about investments and firms. The course doesn't just focus on the numbers. It focuses on analyzing potential investment opportunities by examining the people involved, the potential opportunity, the context of the current situation, and finally the financial deal itself.

sumit (Sep 26, 2007 1:17:53 PM)
Lauren: What did you like best in Columbia and where did you get disappointed?     

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:18:09 PM)
Lauren, it sounds fascinating.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:19:02 PM)
The best part of CBS is by far the friends I've made here. The worst part is that there isn't enough time to get involved with everything that I would like to.

ciel (Sep 26, 2007 1:19:17 PM)
Lauren: Are there any non profit organizations that come to campus for hiring?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:19:27 PM)
Nicky, our program prepares our students to be successful leaders and managers in today's rapidly changing world. You will gain very strong general management skills that will allow you to succeed in all industry sectors.

DP (Sep 26, 2007 1:19:54 PM)
Michael: How much weight is put on the extra-curricular activities in the application?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:20:33 PM)
Most non-profits do not have formal presentations on campus like the large corporations. They provide job listings through the career center and work with the Social Enterprise Department to reach out to students.

sumit (Sep 26, 2007 1:20:53 PM)
Lauren: Why did you choose Columbia?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:21:10 PM)
DP: We admit well rounded and multi-dimensional candidates. Extracurriculars are important because we want students who have interests and passions outside of the workplace and academics.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:21:49 PM)
Michael, is there any particular aspect of Dean Hubbard’s article that you would like applicants to focus on in responding to the new question, #2?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:22:19 PM)
Sumit: I chose CBS based on the combination of academic, extra-curricular and professional opportunities as well as the campus culture.

Tom H. (Sep 26, 2007 1:22:23 PM)
Lauren: What is usually the most difficult class or classes in the first year for students?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:24:15 PM)
Tom: The most difficult class completely depends on the student's background. For some it's finance or accounting. For others it's strategy or marketing. For me it was a class called Decision Models, which focuses on excel programming to solve optimization and operations problems.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:24:16 PM)
No, there is no particular part we would like applicants to focus on. The speech is a communication of Dean Hubbard's view regarding the value of an MBA education, and we are looking for the applicants' reactions to that. There is no right or wrong way to approach the essay.

to_be (Sep 26, 2007 1:24:18 PM)
Michael: How does CBS view older applicants? Is there any age criterion and are they required to do some explaining on that count?

Sharad (Sep 26, 2007 1:24:47 PM)
Lauren: Do graduating students get a chance to express to the school administration about what can be changed/incorporated to make CBS even better or competitive?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:25:31 PM)
By law a school cannot discriminate based on age. Regardless of your age, it is important for you to express why this is the right time for you to get an MBA. As an aside, the oldest applicant we ever admitted was 64.

ciel (Sep 26, 2007 1:26:06 PM)
Michael: What are the statistics for students who have not had a non profit background but have transitioned into a non profit role post MBA?What are the job roles that are offered to MBA graduates in non profit organizations?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:27:22 PM)
I don't have the exact statistics, but non-profits tend to hire our MBA graduates for director level roles, business development and fundraising.  More non-profits are looking for people who have a more traditional business background to bring a different viewpoint to managing the organizations.

Red (Sep 26, 2007 1:27:37 PM)
Michael: Essay 1 asks about the short/long - term goals and how CBS can help the applicant reach them. In that essay, can I also write a little about my past to lay out a context for my future goals and how CBS can help me achieve them? Will writing about my past in essay 1 be seen by adcom as "not answering the question" ?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:27:56 PM)
Sharad: Students provide feedback to the school throughout their time here. There are formal surveys in which the school solicits feedback. The Vice-Dean also has bi-weekly office hours where he sits in the lobby of Uris and students walk up and talk to him about anything. The Dean also has monthly breakfasts, where his office provides food in Uris Lobby and he makes himself available for questions & comments. We also have a student council (Graduate Business Association) that is constantly working on improving the school and students can submit feedback to the GBA at any time.

Mayank (Sep 26, 2007 1:28:00 PM)
Thanks Lauren, Columbia does seem to focus on creating the entrepreneurial mindset, did you see this focus outside the classroom? Activities, etc.?

wizardofwashington (Sep 26, 2007 1:28:10 PM)
The reason being, I've been consulting with the Government for almost 5 years now and I like the prospect of an MPP/MA along with my MBA.  Does this experience working for the Government give you an advantage over other applicants in the joint degree pool? Are the applicants for the Joint Degree program with John Hopkins considered along with the rest of the full time MBA applicants?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:29:28 PM)
Wizard -- to your second question re: Johns Hopkins, yes, joint degree applicants are considered along with the rest of the full time applicants.
Your government experience, by itself, does not give you an advantage in the process. What is more important is what you've been able to accomplish as a professional, i.e. steady progression of leadership, initiative, teamwork.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:30:45 PM)
Mayank: There are several outlets for entrepreneurship at the school. First is a student club call CEO (Columbia Entrepreneur Organization). There are also several classes on entrepreneurship as well as venture competitions, incubators, and mentoring programs, among other resources. Please check the website for more information. 

Red (Sep 26, 2007 1:31:05 PM)
Lauren: How are social enterprise students at CBS faring in getting internships in social enterprise related fields?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:31:40 PM)
Red -- You can talk about your past, but do so in a way that informs the motivation for your current goals.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:33:35 PM)
Red: I did not pursue a non-profit internship. However, judging by my friends, they all got positions at this summer in charter schools, hospitals, non-profit consulting, etc.

Sharad (Sep 26, 2007 1:33:40 PM)
Lauren: Knowing that the student body number at CBS is close to 1000, can you comment on the student culture and your opinion on how close knit the CBS community is?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:33:55 PM)
September ED applications receive a decision within 10 weeks. Regular Decision applicants receive a decision within 12 weeks. The interview can happen at any point within that time. You will be notified once a decision has been made.

mba08 (Sep 26, 2007 1:34:10 PM)
Michael, what are the 3 things (except the obvious NY advantage) that you would highlight what make the CBS MBA program different from an equally good school like Wharton?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:35:43 PM)
We try not to get into school comparisons. It is important for applicants to research schools and choose the school that is the right fit for them. We all have great faculty, great students, and great career results, but we have different personalities and cultures. Every school is not right for everyone.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:35:58 PM)
Sumit -- No, you can only apply for one term.

RZA (Sep 16, 007 1:36:00 PM)
Does the adcom look down on applicants who already have an MBA? I have an MBA from an international school.

Mayank (Sep 26, 2007 1:36:20 PM)
Thanks Lauren. How has your opinion about CBS changed? What was your most pleasant and unpleasant surprise?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:36:31 PM)
We do not look down on applicants with international MBAs because we understand that some employers do not recognize international MBAs.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:36:52 PM)
Sharad: I would describe the student body as talented, driven, focused, but down to earth, and very much in love with partying and socializing. Most social activity the first year revolves around your cluster. Happy Hour every Thursday night is a well attended event as well as the after-parties. My cluster also has its own standing happy hour on Tuesday nights. Last night we also had Karaoke. We have BBQ's, birthday parties, brunches, casual lunches/dinners, ladies nights, etc... There is no lack of social activity on campus.

CKP (Sep 26, 2007 1:36:59 PM)
Does CBS provide research opportunities in collaboration with the engineering school to explore technological ideas?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:37:45 PM)
Mayank: My opinion of CBS has only been improved in my time here. I have been very pleasantly surprised.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:37:54 PM)
CKP -- Those opportunities exist, but you as a student would have to be proactive in seeking them out. Many of our students do independent projects with professors as well.

Mayank (Sep 26, 2007 1:38:20 PM)
Michael: I plan to return to my employer post-MBA, so is it a disadvantage if I do not apply for the J-term?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:38:48 PM)
Mayank -- No, there would be no disadvantage. Apply to the program that is right for you.

Tom H. (Sep 26, 2007 1:38:59 PM)
Michael: Is there one essay out of the four that carries the most weight in the admissions process?

Tom H. (Sep 26, 2007 1:39:17 PM)
Lauren: How difficult is it to take classes in the highly regarded "Value Investment Program" at Columbia without a background in investment research?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:39:43 PM)
Essay 1 carries the most weight. You need to have a very clear sense of your goals and how Columbia can help you achieve those goals.

DP (Sep 26, 2007 1:40:06 PM)
How much adverse effect will lack of extracurricular activities have on ones application?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:40:15 PM)
We look for leadership, initiative and teamwork in all aspects of the application.

Bhushan (Sep 26, 2007 1:40:48 PM)
What percentage of class is filled in by early decision applicants?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:40:50 PM)
Tom: The "Value Investment Program" requires an application that includes the equivalent of a stock pitch. I'm not sure how much previous experience is weighted. But overall it's a competitive program to get into.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:41:36 PM)
Again, while we look for well rounded people, there are some applicants who work in extremely demanding professions that do not allow time for extracurricular pursuits. If this is your case, we would look more to what you were involved in during college.

mba08 (Sep 26, 2007 1:41:47 PM)
Michael, Columbia is known as a core finance school. How strong is the Columbia program in other fields in the eyes of the corporate world?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:42:08 PM)
Bhushan: ED numbers change year to year, but we get most of our applicants in Regular Decision.

mba2008 (Sep 26, 2007 1:42:17 PM)
Lauren, I am coming to campus to visit, are there any classes in particular I should visit?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:43:06 PM)
mba2008: You should look into sitting in on any class in which you have an interest. I believe the admissions office has a list of courses scheduled for this fall.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:43:17 PM)
While we are proud of our finance program, we give our students a toolkit that will allow them to succeed in every field. In recent years, McKinsey has been the biggest recruiter at Columbia. Our reputation goes beyond finance.

CKP (Sep 26, 2007 1:43:33 PM)
Michael: How does CBS support entrepreneurs after they have graduated from CBS?.

DP (Sep 26, 2007 1:44:06 PM)
Lauren: How do married students fit in? I live in Central Jersey and if admitted will be commuting for class.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:45:26 PM)
CBS alumni still have access to the hundreds of mentors in the Lang Center for Entrepreneurship. Murray Low, who runs the program, has served as a mentor for many companies started by our alumni.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:45:33 PM)
DP: Married students get involved in campus life as much they choose to allow. Some of my married classmates are here all the time, some of them are not as active. From what I have seen it's definitely a case by case situation.

Red (Sep 26, 2007 1:45:46 PM)
Michael: What are some of the most common reasons why an applicant is rejected?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:47:33 PM)
Most of our applicants are qualified. Unfortunately, we simply do not have enough space to accept everyone. Some applicants do not make a strong enough case for why they are a good fit for our program. Some, while they have strong work experience and academics, don't exhibit enough leadership, teamwork, and initiative.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:47:42 PM)
Lauren: Do you have any tips for soon-to-be students that would ease their transition back to school? Either steps you took or wish you had taken?

sumit1 (Sep 26, 2007 1:48:02 PM)
Michael, how specifically does the NY advantage help budding entrepreneurs?

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:49:22 PM)
Linda, I would recommend saving as much money as possible and quitting work as soon as you can. Also, take time to hang out with family, friends, and significant others. Most importantly, try to narrow down what career paths you want to pursue.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:49:40 PM)
A large part of business success is based on the networks you develop. With over 3,000 corporate headquarters in NYC, which is the finance and media capital of the world, you have more opportunities to develop a strong network to utilize in building your company.

mba08 (Sep 26, 2007 1:50:35 PM)
Michael: What are the things that are being evaluated when someone is invited to interview with an alum?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:52:06 PM)
Think of the paper application as a two dimensional representation of you. The interview provides us with a human element. We will get a chance to see how you perform in action and to evaluate whether or not you will represent the Columbia brand well.

Ari (Sep 26, 2007 1:52:16 PM)
What are the possible advantages, if any, of applying early decision?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:53:42 PM)
We have a rolling admissions process, which means we read, review and admit in the order in which we receive applications. Applying early, all things being equal, gives you a better chance of being admitted. But, only apply ED if you are convinced, after researching the school, that Columbia is where you want to be.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:54:01 PM)
Is Columbia recruiting feeling any fallout from the credit crunch and the turmoil in the financial markets?

ciel (Sep 26, 2007 1:54:17 PM)
Last year saw an upward trend in MBA applications across all schools. Is that trend continuing this year or have the applications gone down slightly because of the slump in the US markets?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:54:59 PM)
Re: recruiting -- Not that we are aware of. Dean Hubbard is a prominent economist, and we are watching economic trends very closely. We have not seen a change in recruitment.

Bhushan (Sep 26, 2007 1:55:53 PM)
My question is regarding the engineering background students. Does a deeper technical background and work experience act as a hindrance or at an advantage to the applicant?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:56:17 PM)
Ciel, there has been a three year upward trend. All indications suggest that trend will continue, at least for another year. We find that applications tend be a lagging indicator of the economy. Applications do tend to fall somewhat about two years after a down turn, but not immediately.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:56:43 PM)
Lauren: What is your favorite extra-curricular activity at CBS?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:57:08 PM)
About 20% of our students have very technical backgrounds, and they do very well in our program.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:57:20 PM)
Linda, my involvement with the BBSA and Hermes. Both organizations have allowed me to meet great people and have an impact on the CBS community.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:57:33 PM)
What kind of impact Lauren?

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 1:58:28 PM)
Lauren has to go to class. Thanks Lauren for coming and sharing your perspective on Columbia.

LaurenSicklesColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:58:54 PM)
Thank you for having me!!

Pavel_P (Sep 26, 2007 1:59:23 PM)
Michael, in your opinion, is it better to have the interview with alumnus or in school with admissions?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 1:59:41 PM)
All interviews are conducted by alumni.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:02:28 PM)
We do not use grid rankings. We have our recommenders answer 10 specific questions about the applicant. In these responses, we look for evidence of leadership, teamwork, and initiative.

mba2008 (Sep 26, 2007 2:02:46 PM)
Michael, how are you notified if you are invited to interview or accepted? Is it via phone, email or regular mail?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:03:18 PM)
You are notified via e-mail that your status has changed. Then, you log into the website to determine what that status change is.

CKP (Sep 26, 2007 2:03:22 PM)
I am an international entrepreneur who is looking for an MBA that could provide me with experiences in Small Business settings in USA. Is the J-term or the Fall program better for me?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:04:20 PM)
Both programs may be appropriate, however some entrepreneurs prefer the 16 month accelerated program because it allows them to return to their business faster.

Sharad (Sep 26, 2007 2:04:23 PM)
Michael: Are there opportunities where students are offered Research Assistant positions that also pays them monthly stipends?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:04:51 PM)
There are Teaching Assistant opportunities which are paid.

Miro (Sep 26, 2007 2:04:55 PM)
Do you hold any interviews outside the US?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:05:24 PM)
Yes, we conduct interviews in the city where the applicant is located. We have alumni all over the world that help us in this regard.

Mayank (Sep 26, 2007 2:05:30 PM)
Michael, can you tell me a little about the Executives in Residence program? Do the executives volunteer? Does the school approach them? Not all would have prior teaching experience so is that a criteria?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:06:53 PM)
It is a volunteer program, and it's really a combination. Some approach us, and some we approach. Teaching experience is not required, but they all have extensive experience in their given fields and all are very successful.

y2v (Sep 26, 2007 2:06:58 PM)
Hi, I am applying for the January accelerated MBA Program. I've worked for a consulting firm the last two years but intend to work with my family business now, do you think this program would be a good fit?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:08:11 PM)
The key differentiator for J-term students is that they can make a strong case for why they do not need a summer internship. That you plan to work for a family business would put you in that group.

Pavel_P (Sep 26, 2007 2:08:25 PM)
Michael, could you comment on the nextstrongest field in Columbia, after finance?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:09:57 PM)
Once again, we give our students a well rounded education. After financial services, most of our students end up in strategy consulting, and we are seeing growth in marketing, media, and social enterprise.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:12:24 PM)
In our holistic review of each applicant, we admit folks that fit our culture but also have the greatest potential to succeed. Our admissions officers are not focused on any particular field or department, but if we have questions or concerns about an applicant (in these fields, for example) we will reach out directly to our healthcare or social enterprise program to see if the goals expressed are realistic and achievable.

george (Sep 26, 2007 2:12:32 PM)
Michael have some ED applicants already been admitted?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:12:54 PM)
Yes, there are some ED applicants that have already been admitted.

Mayank (Sep 26, 2007 2:13:01 PM)
Michael, besides firms like McKinsey, do companies like IBM recruit consultants at Columbia?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:13:30 PM)
Yes, IBM does recruit here, along with a wide variety of other companies.

Sharad (Sep 26, 2007 2:13:43 PM)
Michael: How do you view an applicant who has taken various initiatives but not seen success in all of his/her initiatives? Not being successful in all your initiatives - is that seen as a red flag?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:14:48 PM)
That would not be a red flag. Going outside of your comfort zone and sometimes failing are important experiences and would not detract from your application.

wizardofwashington (Sep 26, 2007 2:15:07 PM)
Michael, could you please share with us what is the most important thing you would look for in the selection of an applicant for CBS? And what are the few best qualities that stood out in the best of the last year's applicant pool? Are there any specific things that you found in the most well rounded applicant? That you found appealing to you as a selection panel member?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:16:31 PM)
Applicants with a clear sense of self, clear goals, and a deep understanding of the culture and personality of CBS, combined with demonstrated excellence in leadership, teamwork, and initiative.

DP (Sep 26, 2007 2:16:48 PM)
My recommender did not use the specified form but instead, wrote a detailed letter. Is that acceptable?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:17:04 PM)
Yes, recommender letters are acceptable.

sumit1 (Sep 26, 2007 2:17:17 PM)
I want to take recommendations from a consultant who worked with me for 3 months on a project which demonstrates my leadership potential. Is it ok to get it from him rather than from my supervisor who was not that much involved in the project?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:18:46 PM)
Sumit -- that would be fine. If you are trying to choose between two or more potential recommenders, I encourage you to print out the questions, read the questions, and determine who will provide the most robust answers to the questions.

Alex (Sep 26, 2007 2:18:50 PM)
Since I don't have a business background, are there any solid distance-learning courses I can take to prepare for an MBA application. I know NYU has a finance course but not for credit.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:20:29 PM)
A business background is not a requirement for admission.  Many of our successful students are humanities or sociology majors.

jresin (Sep 26, 2007 2:20:36 PM)
Michael, has there been any difference in the number of applications seen this year for the ED round as compared to last year?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:21:25 PM)
ED varies from year to year. We haven't yet received all the applications, so it's hard to tell, but we do expect an increase.

mba08 (Sep 26, 2007 2:21:40 PM)
Does the guaranteed student loan program cover the living expenses as well?

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:22:47 PM)
Students pay for their education with a combination of subsidized and private loans, and personal savings. The student budget covers tuition and living expenses.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 2:22:55 PM)
Thank you again all for participating. Special thanks to Michael and Lauren for joining us today.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 2:23:08 PM)
For information about Columbia, including previous chats and interview feedback, please visit Accepted's Columbia MBA Zone.

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 2:23:43 PM)
Have a very good day! Good luck with your applications!

ciel (Sep 26, 2007 2:24:08 PM)
Thank you Michael and Lauren for taking time out to answer our querries and Linda for moderating the chat.

mba08 (Sep 26, 2007 2:24:19 PM)
Michael: Thanks a lot for answering the questions. Linda, thanks for facilitating this session.

MichaelRobinsonColumbia (Sep 26, 2007 2:24:25 PM)
Thank you all -- It was a pleasure to speak with you today. I encourage everyone to contact our office directly with any further question, and to attend our information sessions, both here on campus and on the road.

Pavel_P (Sep 26, 2007 2:24:32 PM)
Thanks, Michael & Lauren for this interesting chat. 

Linda Abraham (Sep 26, 2007 2:24:41 PM)
You're most welcome. Good luck with your applications!

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