I Overview Columbia MBA Interview

Every year, the Columbia admissions committee extends invitations to a select few applicants to interview for its MBA program. Premier MBA programs like Columbia typically interview 2-3 candidates for each available spot in their upcoming MBA cohort. Receiving an invitation indicates that you are being considered for admission, but it also means you are now part of a highly competitive subset within the overall applicant pool. You can prepare for your interview using this guide and, if desired, utilize the Mock Interview Service.

Tip: Curious about whether interview invites have been distributed? Stay updated with real-time updates on MBA LiveWire .

Question Who conducts Columbia MBA interviews?

Columbia MBA interviews are conducted by students and alumni.

Question Are Columbia MBA interviews resume-based or application-based?

The Columbia MBA program conducts resume-based interviews, where the interviewer has reviewed your resume but not the rest of your MBA application (recommendations, essays, short answers, etc.).

For in-person interviews, it’s advisable to bring a paper copy of your resume as a courtesy to the interviewer. In the case of online interviews, applicants should have a PDF copy of their resume readily available in case it’s requested via email. Occasionally, a busy current student or alum MBA interviewer may not have thoroughly reviewed the applicant’s resume beforehand. Therefore, Columbia MBA applicants should be prepared to provide a brief, two-minute overview of themselves at the beginning of the interview if prompted. This is often the first interview question asked (“So, tell me about yourself…”).

Question How important is the Columbia MBA interview?

The influence of the Columbia MBA interview on the admissions decision is low to moderate.

The truth is, a successful interview won’t guarantee admission to Columbia’s MBA program, but a failed interview can indeed impact your application negatively. With numerous students and alumni conducting interviews, it’s challenging for the admissions committee to standardize positive feedback; one interviewer might praise a candidate as “great” while another may find them “interesting.” However, the committee can readily take into account overtly negative feedback, such as comments about a candidate being unprepared, rude, or difficult to understand.

During interviews with current students or alumni, your primary objective is to make a positive impression and demonstrate your potential contributions to the school. This includes showcasing the professional insights you can bring to the classroom and the value you can add to the student community.

II Mock MBA Interviews

In addition to practicing interview questions on your own, the mock interview service can be a great way to receive feedback on your professional stories (with a view to improving them). Typical MBA and EMBA interview questions include goals  (Tell me about yourself? What are your goals? Why MBA? Why school X?) on strengths/weaknesses, and behavioral questions (Tell me about a time when…?).

Below you can listen to former clients answer MBA interview questions and receive feedback on their answers. An audit professional answers the question Tell me about yourself in part 1 and receives feedback in part 2. An employee compensation consultant answers the behavioral question Tell me about a time when you mentored someone in part 1 and receives feedback in part 2.

III Columbia MBA Interview Questions

Note that a lot of schools have begun asking about diversity, equity, and inclusion during interviews. You should be prepared to talk about these issues and how diversity, equity, or inclusion have played out in your work.Here’s a list of core questions to practice before your Columbia MBA interview:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What are your short-term goals and how can Columbia help you achieve those goals?
  3. What would you get involved in outside the Columbia MBA classroom?
  4. What would others say are your two core strengths and one area for improvement (weakness)?
  5. + Prepare stories for at least 3-5 behavioral questions of your choice. You can access a list of behavioral interview questions organized by categorically at our sister website, resumeSTORY.builders An example would be: Tell me about a time when you encountered pushback. Tell me about a time when you worked in a professional setting that was diverse. What was one challenge you encountered? Tell me about a time when you received constructive feedback.
  6. Have you ever encountered a diversity issue in an organization?
  7. Is there anything you’d like to talk about that we didn’t cover?
  8. + Prepare two solid questions for the interviewer.

Here are some mock interview sequences for the Columbia MBA program. Studying the sequences will give you a sense of the questions Columbia interviewers tend to ask.

Example 1 Columbia MBA Interview Questions

  1. Walk me through your resume.
  2. Why pursue an MBA at Columbia?
  3. How would you spend the summer between first and second year?
  4. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced at your current employer?
  5. What was it like mentoring an at-risk high school student?
  6. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you feel you added value to a team effort.
  7. (Behavioral Question) Give me an example of a time when you overcame a hurdle.
  8. Any questions for me?

Example 2 Columbia MBA Interview Questions

  1. Why an MBA and why Columbia?
  2. What is one thing that you did that you’re really proud of?
  3. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with someone who had a different working style or a different communication style from you.
  4. (Behavioral Question) Can you tell me about time when you convinced someone or a group of people to see things your way?
  5. How do you work with all the different people that you do? How do you communicate with them?
  6. (Behavioral Question) Can you tell me about a time when you received a piece of constructive feedback. What did you do to address the issue raised?

Example 3 Columbia MBA Interview Questions

  1. What is the world’s biggest misconception about the pro tennis world?
  2. Why Columbia?
  3. What made you decide to choose philosophy as your major at university?
  4. Tell me about the hardest situation you’ve ever been in at work? What did you learn from it?
  5. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you stepped outside of your defined role.
  6. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you mentored someone.
  7. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you failed.
  8. What else should I have asked you?

Example 4 Columbia MBA Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you took initiative.
  3. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you were part of a team that was struggling.
  4. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a goal you’d set for yourself.
  5. Tell me more about your thesis in college.
  6. Do you have any questions for me?

Example 5 Columbia MBA Interview Questions

  1. What made you decide to start your own company during college?
  2. Tell me something you’ve learned about yourself.
  3. Why were you selected over more experienced colleagues to be the project lead?
  4. Was it difficult managing those same colleagues (given that they were older/more senior)?
  5. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you identified a new way to do something or to approach an issue.
  6. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you encountered an obstacle or someone prevented you from doing something?
  7. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you showed initiative.
  8. What questions do you have for me?

Example 6 Columbia MBA Interview Questions

  1. Why an MBA? Why Columbia?
  2. (Behavioral Question) Tell me a time when you created something / were creative.
  3. (Behavioral Question) Tell me a time when you deal with a difficult colleague.
  4. (Behavioral Question) Tell me a time when you were under a tight deadline.
  5. (Behavioral Question) Tell me a time when someone persuaded you to change your opinion.