If you applied to Columbia Business School’s full-time MBA program and you:
- live in the NY area
- have a decent profile (GMAT at least 680-ish, GPA above 3.0)
- are on the “older” side — especially if you’re 29 or 30+
Columbia may have an offer for you! (But you may not be interested…)
Columbia has been doing a semi bait-and-switch dance with some BSers lately. This started last application season and it seems to be happening even more this year.
What happens is, you submit your app…. you go through your interview…. you anxiously await the days, jumping at every phone call (since you know that the Columbia adcom calls BSers when they’re accepting them). And then one day, brring brring! The phone rings and yes, this time it’s them! Columbia is calling!! Woo hoo!
But instead of just telling you “You’re in!” they go off in some other direction.
They tell you, “Your profile is great for Columbia EMBA, have you considered it?”
You’re stumped. You applied to the full-time MBA. You already went through the full interview for that program. Weren’t they supposed to be just accepting you now?
Argh the confusion!
If they do this, don’t feel pressured. You don’t have to say yes to EMBA.
If you have another admit in your back pocket, this might be a time to mention it (remember that “What other schools have you applied to?” question? This is why it’s important to tell the adcom about them!).
When this has happened with EssaySnark’s clients, the person has said “No thank you” and then Columbia has admitted them — just like they were supposed to! Our clients have reported all this going down in a single phone call, although we read on a forum that some BSer was asked “to think about it and let us know” — talk about stress! They make you stew in it and you have to wonder what they’ll do if you decline the EMBA offer. It is possible, we suppose, that Columbia could do that — they could make the EMBA offer and then if you say no to that, they could reject you from F/T — but we doubt that they’d bother to do it through a phone call. They’d just reject you from F/T and then mention in the reject notice that maybe you should consider the EMBA instead (yes, this is happening now too).
EssaySnark could be wrong, but we’re fairly confident that if you get the call from Columbia asking you to do the EMBA instead… that they’re planning on admitting you no matter what.
Regardless, the EMBA is totally a different experience. Some might even claim that it’s a different education. Just because you’re interested in getting an MBA does not mean that you’re interested in doing so through an EMBA. These programs are not interchangeable!!! If you go for the EMBA, they require that you remain fully employed throughout your studies! This is a VERY BIG DEAL. There’s also no built-in internship opportunity with the EMBA (though you could perhaps orchestrate one for yourself).
The irony is that it’s usually the schools that are insisting upon these differences — we often hear about candidates being told that their profile is not appropriate for one track, but it is for another…. yet here Columbia is substituting one for the other — at their convenience. Talk about introducing confusion into the marketplace! Columbia is messing with their brand image here, in the ‘Snark’s opinion. An MBA is an MBA is an MBA…. is NOT an EMBA!! Yes you end up with the same diploma, the same three little letters after your name*, the same amazing alumni network — but sorry folks, the experience is just not identical. Does Columbia think that their applicants are uneducated about the MBA marketplace?
So why are they doing this?
Last year, Columbia expanded its EMBA program into two different tracks: the original Friday/Saturday EMBA (where you have to take Fridays off work, and you need corporate sponsorship of time — your boss needs to give formal permission by writing a letter of support for your application), and the new Saturday-Only EMBA, where you don’t have classes on weekdays. This expansion offers more “supply”, ostensibly in response to the “demand” for the high-caliber Columbia program (we actually think it’s $$$-driven), and also perhaps to be competitive with the NY P/T Langone program (though we don’t really think the EMBA is quite comparable to Langone even – but that’s another rant).
We think Columbia overextended. (We talked about this in more detail last summer.) They went too big too soon. They’re feeding the MBA bubble with these EMBA offerings. And now they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. We’ve seen folks get into the MBA who…. well, let’s just say we were SURPRISED. (“You? Got into Columbia???” Yeah, that bad.)
The reason Columbia is doing this quasi bait-and-switch to their local F/T applicants is they expanded their EMBA program too fast and they’re having trouble filling it — yet then can always fill up the regular F/T MBA class. So when they come across someone local to NY who they like for the F/T program (note: particularly older ones), they’re pulling this little offer out to try and meet their EMBA enrollment goals.
If enough of their best candidates take the bait, then Columbia is in great shape, since they get you into their very lucrative EMBA clutches, and plus, they’re increasing the quality of their EMBA class. Win/win for them!
Is it win/win for you?
Moral of the story:
1. If you’re top bschool material, Columbia might want you in their EMBA program instead – but you don’t have to take that offer (perhaps slight risk involved – we cannot state definitively that you’ll get into the F/T program if you don’t, but we are pretty sure that you would)
2. If you’re almost top bschool material, Columbia might still take you in their EMBA program, even if they say no to you for the F/T MBA (sort of depressing, actually)
3. If your profile has some, ahem, flaws, and you’re in NYC, and you really want to get an MBA…. Try the Columbia EMBA. We hear there might be seats available.
*When you finally get your MBA, you cute little Brave Supplicant you, PLEASE DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PUT IT AFTER YOUR NAME ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD OR ON YOUR RESUME OR IN YOUR SIG. Because like UGH. There are soooo many MBAs out there. This degree is not that hard to get. It’s not like an MD or a PhD. It seems only insurance agents put “MBA” after their “John Doe” and it’s just nauseating. Don’t be one of them.