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Columbia Business School

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The Columbia Business School offers the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) as well as doctoral programs in accounting; decision, risk and operations; finance and economics; management; and marketing, and joint degrees in urban planning (MBA/MS), dental and oral surgery (MBA/DDS), engineering and applied secience (MBA/MS), international and public affairs (MBA/MIA), journalism (MBA/MS), law (MBA/JD), nursing (MBA/MS), medicine (MBA/MD), public health (MBA/MPH, social work (MBA/MS), and education (MBA/EdD). Other programs include cross-registration with Columbia University’s Schools of Journalism, International and Public Affairs, Law, Engineering and Applied Science, Arts and Sciences, Public Health, Dentistry, Medicine, Social Work, and Teacher’s College; a cooperative EMBA-Global program with the London Business School; and the Berkeley-Columbia EMBA program with the University of California at Berkeley. Work-study, foreign exchange with 23 universities in 20 countries, internships, and joint research are also offered. In the Executive MBA program, students who are mostly corporate sponsored, work full time while attending classes. The strongest areas of study are finance, marketing, international business, management, and entrepreneurship. The most popular courses are Turnaround Management, Seminar in Value Investing, Entrepreneurial Finance, Valuation, Top Management Process, Launching New Ventures, Negotiation, and Modern Political Economy. Regular programs bring distinguished speakers and visiting professors to campus. These include the Silfen Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series, student conferences, award ceremonies, and the Annual Dinner, a spring event that attracts 1200 of the nation’s business leaders.

Sixty total credits are required to complete the MBA, including 33 elective credits. Required courses include:

  • Accounting I: Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Statistics
  • Corporate Finance
  • Operations Management
  • Decision Models
  • The Global Economic Environment
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Managerial Economics
  • Managing Marketing Programs
  • Accounting II: Managerial Accounting
  • Leadership
  • Strategy Formulation
  • Creating Effective Organizations

Required courses for the EMBA include:

  • Managerial Economics
  • Managerial Statistics
  • The Global Economic Environment
  • Leading and Managing Organizations
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Strategic Management
  • Decision Models
  • Corporate Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management

Students may eliminate or substitute requirements through exemption examinations, offered for all core courses. Exemptions do not reduce the total number of courses required for the degree but rather enable students to substitute electives in place of core courses.

Business students may take relevant nonbusiness courses in other departments. The minimum time permitted to complete the master’s degree program attending full time is 16 to 20 months; maximum, 5 years (for some dual-degree candidates.

There are 118 total full-time graduate business faculty, of whom 98% hold a doctorate; there are 119 part-time faculty. Average number of courses faculty teach is 3; average business class size is 60.


A bachelor’s degree is required. Most important admissions factors are work experience, academic accomplishments and ability, and GMAT results. A strong mathematics background is not required.

The number of applicants for the 2006-2007 class was 5372; 925 were accepted; 726 enrolled. The average GPA was 3.4; average GMAT score was 708. Transfers are not accepted. Minority students are actively recruited by attendance at general MBA forums and receptions nationwide and through the Black Business, Hispanic Business, and African-American Alumni associations.

Students may begin the MBA program in the fall and spring. To apply, students must submit an application form, a transcript, GMAT scores, a nonrefundable application fee of $215, 2 letters of recommendation, and personal essays. The application deadlines are April 20 for fall entry; October 11, spring. Students are notified of the admissions decision within 8 to 12 weeks after receipt of a completed application. The latest acceptable test date for fall entry is April 18. Once accepted, students may defer admission. College seniors and others with little work experience may be granted a deferral to gain work experience. In addition, the Admissions Committee may sometimes admit a candidate to a different term than that for which the candidate applied.

Financial Aid

About 63% of graduate business school students receive financial aid from scholarships, loans, and graduate assistantships, for a total average of $50,309 annually; maximum $78,522. Stipends and programs available for minority students include several fellowship/internships and restricted awards. The FAFSA, the school’s own financial statement, the previous year’s tax return, and the Need Access Application are required. The application deadlines for aid are March 15 for fall entry; October 15, spring. The merit-based fellowship consideration deadline is January 10.

Tuition for all students is $40,592 per year. Books and supplies cost approximately $900; personal expenses, $22,620; and other fees, $1746, for an estimated annual total of $65,858. Thirty credits constitute a year. Graduate student housing is not guaranteed, but is available for students who apply for housing by the application deadline and who live more than 250 miles from the campus. Applicants who are relocating from greater distances and meet all deadlines are given first priority. There is a referral service to help procure off-campus housing.


All of the current graduate business school class are enrolled full time; 97% have had an average of 5 years of full-time work experience prior to entering graduate school, a factor preferred by the school. The greatest percentage of students are from New York (73%). Thirty-five percent are women, 22% are minorities, and 42% are foreign nationals. The average age at entrance is 28; ages range from 21 to 43. Three percent enter directly from undergraduate school. Students’ undergraduate majors were as follows: 22%, economics; 19%, business; 15%, engineering; 12%, liberal arts; 10%, social sciences; and 6%, math and science. Less than 1% of entering students leave by the end of the first year due to academic or personal reasons; 99% remain to receive their degree. In 2006, 682 graduate business degrees were awarded.

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