IMPORTANT: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN FOR 2013. The 2014 Columbia short-answer prompt is identical except that now they only allow for 75 characters. Adjust accordingly!
Otherwise known as,
The REALLY BIG change with Columbia’s 2013 essays
On Friday we did a brief review of how the Columbia MBA essays have changed for 2013.
What we failed to sufficiently discuss was the short-answer question.
The good news is, the completely overhauled, new-and-improved, massively updated 2013 SnarkStrategies MBA Application Guide for Columbia is now available – and it includes a complete discussion of the short-answer question and all the other essays, too.
The even better news is, we’re going to give you a freebie here on the blahg today, and talk about an important part of Columbia’s new short-answer question that we didn’t mention on Friday.
For several years now, Columbia has been asking its applicants to give a straightforward response to a very simple query: What do you want to do when you graduate?
Columbia always focuses on career goals even more directly than other schools. Most other schools care about the goals too, but few have such a specific emphasis as CBS.
And rightly so. After all, why do you need an MBA if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it?
We’ve always liked Columbia’s priorities in this regard.
In fact, we rejoiced when they first introduced this short-answer response in the 2011 application season – at the time, it was simply “What is your post-MBA professional goal.” Why did we “rejoice”? Well, because this question mapped exactly to the career goals exercises that we’d devised for our clients to complete when applying to Columbia.
We also chuckled when that first crop of candidates drafted up 200-word responses to the question and sent them over to us for evaluation. Sorry Charlie. This appropriately-named “short-answer question” had a 200-character limit.
Last year (2012 apps), the Columbia adcom added the word “immediate” to the prompt. The answers they got from the inaugural crop of BSers dealing with this question had clearly not been quite specific enough as to timeframe. This indicated that Columbia wanted to know what you actually want to do the minute you graduate with the MBA.
This year’s version of the question is identical to last year’s … but for one MAJOR change.
Now they’re allowing only 100 characters to answer.
Yup, you read that right. They’ve cut the length in half.
In case you weren’t convinced that they wanted you to directly, specifically, and also concisely answer this question, you have some evidence in front of your eyes.
Now, many of you reading this post have never written an MBA admissions essay before in your life. You may not realize how drastic a change this is.
BSers struggled mightily when this question was introduced with a 200-character limit. It’s gonna be fun seeing people deal with half that much.
Of course <shameless self-promotion> if you go through the EssaySnark Career Goals App Accelerator, we will coach you on what needs to go into a good response to this short-answer question, and what needs to be presented in their Essay 1 as backup to that.</shameless self-promotion>