This was originally posted two years ago. We’re reblahgging it now because a) it’s relevant, and b) it’s timely. There’s some comments at the bottom from BSers who have long ago been admitted to Columbia and other programs. We’re inviting you to post your own comments too if there’s anything we can do to demystify the process of applying to Columbia’s MBA program or whether you’re a fit to the specific program formats and options they offer.
Mostly though we’re reblahgging this because, well, Columbia nis always the early bird. Yes indeedy, the Columbia essay questions are available. Today is our chance to tell you about a one-of-a-kind program offered at Columbia Business School. It’s the J-Term.
The J-Term, in case you’re not familiar, means
Used to be, it was a fairly strict profile type who got admitted to Columbia’s accelerated January Start MBA program. Many years ago, in a different era of admissions at Columbia, we heard an adcom person say, “Don’t apply to the J-Term if you’re a career changer. We won’t admit you.” Yes, they were that black-and-white about it.
As a broad statement, the profile that’s a potential fit to the J-Term is still the same, because it’s still a Columbia MBA, but this “no career changer” stance has softened, and as a result, some of you BSers these days may be a good fit to this track without realizing it.
The J-Term is the exact-same full-time MBA curriculum and experience as the August Start, with the only exception being that you get through it a lot faster. You skip out on the summer internship and instead take your second term core courses during that three-month period. Then you join up as a second-year student with the cohort of students who started in August just prior to you, and you graduate with them.
So basically, if you were to join the Columbia J-Term this coming January (2018), you’d be the Class of 2019 and you’d graduate with everyone who’s currently gearing up to begin their MBA this coming fall. You’d be graduating with all the rest who went through the admissions process LAST YEAR. It’s kind of like leap-frogging time, in a way.
It’s especially attractive for anyone who missed out on applying this past season (2016-’17) and/or who just couldn’t crack the MBA admissions nut and is looking to be a reapplicant in the coming season.
But it’s not just any old applicant who’s a fit to the J-Term.
It’s really only appropriate to those who don’t need that internship.
So, if you’re making a radical career jump, then it’s going to be a tough sell to convince the Columbia adcom that you can do it without the advantage of the standard internship experience. That’s really the whole point of the internship, you know: To get you ready for the big post-MBA job that you’re angling for. If you currently don’t have much to build on, in terms of industry or function experience, then it’s not going to be so easy to convince an employer to take that risk on you – especially when you’ll be competing with all the full-time MBAs who DID do the internship (both the ones at Columbia, and at every other school that the recruiter is interviewing at).
However, if you’re using the MBA to advance your existing career path, to jumpstart your advancement in your current industry – say, you’re in PE and want to go back to PE – then the J-Term is absolutely perfect for you.
If you’re already in financial services in some capacity, then we can also see a potentially viable pitch to use the J-Term to transition to another niche within financial services.
Or, if you intend to start a business through the MBA experience, voila. J-Term.
And if you’re lucky enough to be sponsored by your current employer and you will be headed back to them after graduation: J-Term.
Someone ready to join their family business after bschool: J-Term.
And finally: Any true go-getter who is a networking genius and is at the top of his or her field already, who knows how to be the mover and shaker and everyday rainmaker and has accrued some valuable research and CONNECTIONS in her intended target sector… We can see how possibly a J-Term pitch could work out for you, too. Though that one is definitely a case-by-case basis sort of thing.
We specifically wanted to offer some advice for anyone who tried for Columbia August Start last season and didn’t make it, who is now thinking that maybe the J-Term is a better fit:
If you have questions on your situation and whether this might be the program for you, feel free to leave them in the comments section, we’re happy to serve as an initial sounding board.
Columbia candidates, J-Term and otherwise, it’s time to get started!
Here's what others have said about this:
I plan to apply for the 2016 J-Term at Columbia (application deadline Oct 7 2015). I’m curious — if I am rejected, am I permitted to apply for August’16 entry (second round deadline Jan’16)? Thank you very much.
Hey Joanna! That’s a good question! And honestly we’re not 100% certain on it but we THINK that yes, you could do that, from a technical “does the adcom permit it” perspective. HOWEVER: If you didn’t make it in with a J-Term pitch then it’s going to be really difficult to a) prove that you’re a better candidate for Columbia Business School in just a few months (any reapplicant needs to improve the profile in the time between submissions, and this window wouldn’t give you much time to do it) and b) additionally, show that actually you’re a better fit to the August Start when just a few months prior you were insisting that J-Term was your jam.
Can you say “complicated”?
It’s not any easier to get in through the J-Term than for August Start, and DEFINITELY not easier for Regular Decision. So you’d be facing like three big uphill struggles in that reapp strategy. We wouldn’t hold out hope.
However, the original question – do they accept a reapplication from someone in this sequence – that would be worth asking the admissions office about directly. We do think they allow it but possibly would discourage it for all these reasons. Hopefully you’ll hit them up about it and then report back with a definitive answer!
I got admitted into CBS j term 2016 intake. I have a total work experience of 7 years(5 years in marketing & sales and 2 years as director of our family business and an IT company that we invested in).
My question is if I can make a career switch when I graduate from j term without an internship? Suppose I want to get into finance related jobs or consultation, what are the possibilities?
@Sree, congrats on the admit to the J-Term!! That’s definitely a big win, and a great program – but not so much for career changers. It’s possible but you’ll be making it very very hard on yourself. Seems like this would be a question to direct to the school? Since you now have all of those resources to avail yourself of? (Though it seems a little strange that you’re asking this now, after already getting in – we’re guessing that none of that is what you pitched in your Columbia app.)
juan clemente says
Hello, I would love to be part of CBS but. I work in asset management (alternatives investments: PE, real estate, infrastructure) for a Latin American pension fund and I want to develop a career in PE. I believe that my network will be very useful to get my goals and my professional profile is strong but I have some doubts because my gmat (650) and toelf (96) scores are not so high. So, should I do apply to 2 years program or J-term? I know that 2 years program is lot of more competitive, so maybe J-term would be better for…what do you think?
@juan, the J-term is actually not that much less competitive at all than the August Start. If you’re A FIT to the J-Term then yeah, it’s much easier to sail into an admit with an app to that specific track. Your test scores are very low for any of Columbia’s full-time programs and we have concerns based on what you’ve shared, but it comes down to the entirety of the profile. We would much prefer to see you retake both the tests (the TOEFL is perhaps the biggest risk for you but we don’t know without seeing everything in detail). You may want to go for our Comprehensive Profile Review to get the full assessment, or if you have essays ready, the Sanity Check to see your chances on the exact program you’re aiming for. Sorry that we can’t be more encouraging but this looks like a pretty big challenge from what you’ve shared based on a number of factors. 🙁
Hello ES – a quick question here. I wish to work in real estate investments post my MBA but am not set on working in the US. My long term goals are entrepreneurial, real estate and Asia (India to begin with) oriented. While RE experience in a city such as New York would be great, I want to return to Asia and leverage the Columbia MBA here to work in Real Estate. Now, while my pre-MBA positions have not been directly in RE, I have worked on multiple RE projects and clients. Also, RE does not run traditional internships like banking and consulting and the J-term would be great for school year internships. Would I be a decent fit for the J-Term considering I don’t need the summer internship to work in the US? GMAT 720 and 7 years of experience in investment research. Thanks!
@Anant, thanks for the question! Based on what you’ve described, then yes, it does sound like you might be a good candidate for the J-Term, mostly because it sounds like you’re not a multidimensional career-changer (just one dimension), though obviously we don’t have the full picture so that’s just a first-blush reaction. It definitely sounds like you’ve been putting a lot of thought into career goals and program choice, so that’s great! Looks like you’re crafting up a good strategy already. This looks like it has some viability, but it really depends on how you execute, which is what we have to say to everyone. A 720 is a bare-minimum score we’d be comfortable with from your candidate pool these days, though if you hit the J-Term app early enough then you’ll be at a big advantage. Luckily, that app will open in May, so not long to wait!!!
Hope that helps! Let us know what you decide to do from here!
Hi there! Thanks for the post.
I have a question – I come from a family business and planning on applying to Jterm. Is the JTerm easier to get into than regular decision? I have a Gmat score of 660. Would CBS be more inclined to take someone with a lower GMAT score in Jterm than regular term? What would be the acceptance rate like?
@jj – glad you found this post, and thanks for the question!! The J-Term is a good option if you’re planning on going back to your family business again after bschool. A 660 is pretty low though and we’d be nervous to say anything about whether or not it would be high enough for Columbia (J-Term or any other program format) without seeing a lot more of your profile. Apologies for the blatant upsell but that’s exactly what our Comprehensive Profile Review service is designed for! 🙂 Here’s a post about why we’re reluctant to issue proclamations about “whether it’s good enough” based on limited info alone (and why you should be cautious with admissions consultants who do). We talk a lot about issues like GMAT and Columbia and J-Term in many more posts here at EssaySnark so hopefully you’ve continued to poke around with what we’ve been saying here, and there’s also the Columbia SnarkStrategies Guide which goes into a lot more detail too. Good luck with your quest for the MBA and we hope to see you around some more!
olivia dickson says
I looking for more information about The J-Term. I say this because i am not really familiar with it. [moderator removed spam link to: Online Technical Colleges]
For any genuinely interested in more info on the J-Term, our Columbia MBA app guide has plenty!
Hi, I´m looking to apply to the j-term but haven´t found scholarships for this program. The Columbia website says that they only apply for august entry. Do you know if there are other options ?
Hi Michelle – Unfortunately that is one of the limitations of the J-Term program. There may be scholarships you can seek on your own, outside of the school’s official financial aid award process. Have you looked into the resources at Forte Foundation? That might be a good place to begin. Let us know what you come up with!!
Would you recommend the J term for career changers? Shifting from banking to consulting!
@RR, that’s more than we can ethically answer here for you specifically, but in general it sounds pretty risky to try for consulting without an internship! It all depends on what you’ve done and why you think the J-Term is right for you. As we explained in this post, career changers are now more welcome to this program. You can also pick up our Columbia application guide which offers more discussion on these important strategies!
I have two questions:
1- I work in a management consulting company and I want to move to PE. As I have a work experience longer than usual (almost 10 years) and I am 32 years old I want to take the January intake to do not stop my career for too long. Do you think that January intake makes sense in my case? My GMAT is 710 (Q46 / V41) and my TOEFL is 106.
2- We are in August and the deadline is October 4th, but it is a rolling admission process. Is it too late to apply for 2018?
Hey Gabriel – thanks for the questions! Consulting to PE is a pretty big jump and it’s hard enough to land a PE job out of bschool anyway. We’re not saying it’s impossible to pull off a pitch like this to the J-Term but it’s gonna be tricky.
However, it’s DEFINITELY not too late to apply for any of the Columbia options!
You can read up on these important questions all over this site (hopefully you’ve already been digging into the advice and resources on the Columbia page) and we also go into great depth on them in the Columbia MBA Application Guide.
Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes!
Thanks for posting these super helpful guides! I have 4-5 years of experience in finance and is company sponsored for the MBA. I have a GMAT of 760 and GPA of 3.78. I am interested in J term but won’t be able to submit an application till close to the deadline. Would you recommend me applying to early decision for the regular 2 year track, or applying late for the J term? Where would I have a bigger chance? Thanks!
@Anonymous, thanks for the question – but unfortunately it’s impossible to say without seeing the actual pitch! 🙁 You can go for our Sanity Check app review if you have everything ready, or the Single Shot Express to get just the career goals essay reviewed, which would at least let us tell you if the positioning would work for J-Term.
Submitting J-Term near the deadline isn’t usually that much of a risk, comparatively speaking, though it’s obviously better to get it in earlier. Your profile looks strong enough that based on only that information we’d say, yes, Columbia is going to be interested in you, but we strongly urge you to apply to the track that a) you feel most excited about, and b) you feel is going to be the best fit!! We see lots of applicants with strong profiles who don’t make it in (and then come to us later – and we discover that it was the essays that were the problem!!).
Hope that helps! (And sorry for replying with an upsell, but it’s not professionally responsible for us to make definitive statements without seeing the actual presentation – things are just too competitive these days and there are way too many variables at play!!!)
it would be great to have an employment report for j term alone. results seemed too skewed. do you know where I can look at data in more detail?
@Tazzo, agree that it would be interesting to see J-Term results separately, though we’re not sure what you mean by the results being skewed. Which results? In what way are they skewed?
If memory serves, Columbia used to only report on the August Start placement statistics in their employment data. However, in recent years, the lines between the J-Term cohort and the more bschool-traditional August Start profiles have blurred, and these days it makes more sense to report on them as a class. There are many sponsored students and entrepreneurs in the August Start and lots more career switchers in the J-Term. In the overall graduating class in 2017 for example, which includes about 550 who started in August 2015 and about 200 who started in January 2016, there were almost 100 students outside the traditional recruiting tracks (either sponsored or starting their own business). It’s likely that a good chunk of those 100 students were in the J-Term but we doubt it was half of them. When the J-Term was a more distinct “type” of student then it made sense to exclude them from the employment data but we can see why Columbia would be combining them in this modern era.
However, it would still be interesting to see it! What information are you specifically looking for?
Hello! I was rejected after an interview for this years August intake. Since my plans are to return to my family business, i feel that I would make for a strong applicant for the J-term(i also feel that this was one reason why Columbia might have rejected me). However, admissions did not recommend that i consider the J-term. Is it still worth a shot?
@ColJan, thanks for the question! The most important part of our answer is YES it’s worth a shot trying again for the J-Term! But the other not-so-positive answer is that we’re skeptical that the ‘fit’ question alone is the reason you were turned away from the August Start. Can you offer a little more info on your app – specifically was it a Regular Decision app (sounds like it was) and if so, when did you submit (the actual date you submitted), and also what was your GMAT score (if you’re OK with sharing it). Columbia seems to have invited an especially high number of candidates for the interview this season and then turned away a high number too. We’re gonna guess that it wasn’t necessarily a problem with August vs J-Term fit, but more something where your profile or your pitch didn’t come through with the level of pizzazz that they’ve been looking for from other candidates. If you’re coming from one of the more crowded pools then that’s what we suspect did you in more than anything. If that is indeed the case, then that’s totally fixable with a reapplication!
I’m in sell side equity research and i want to get into buy side equity research. In your eyes – is this deemed big enough of a “career switch” that I should avoid the J-term? I’m open to internships during the school year.
@Jim, thanks for the question! This is a situation where it all depends on how you pitch it. Do you have the network in place to support this transition to the buy side? If not, can you articulate a plan to make it happen? We don’t see a summer internship as critical in your case but it really depends on how you execute your statement to the adcom in those essays. It’s highly likely that Columbia’s essay 1 this year will be your prime opportunity to do that (their new essay questions should be coming out momentarily, even as soon as today!). We’ll need to see how they’re phrasing the actual prompts this year, however what you’ll probably want to be thinking about is how to show them:
– why MBA?
– why Columbia?
– why J-Term?
All in that single essay (or possibly in combination with essay 2, again, depending on how they structure the prompts this season).
Often, anyone who’s in any flavor of finance, who wants to move to another segment of finance, can make it work through the J-Term, but as always, it comes down to how you pitch those plans to the adcom!
Our Columbia Essay Guide speaks further of these issues so you may want to pick that up, too.
Hope this helps! Keep us posted and let us know if you have other questions for us!
I was rejecred for an August entey this year, and am thinking about applying for J-term. My career goal is to switch from data analytics consulting in Big 4 to management consulting in Bif 3z GMAT score is 700 and GPA is 3.9 from a state university. Could you advise me on whether or not I will be a good fit for J-term? Thank you.
Hi Nikki – thanks for the question! From what you’ve shared, it would seem that the J-Term might work for you but it really depends on how clearly you can pitch the goals (not clear on what “Bif 3z” is) and SHOW the adcom how you’ll be set up for success in that accelerated format. Your GPA is impressive but it depends on the actual details on the transcript (which classes, specifically which school) and as you probably are aware, the 700 is a bit low in the current admissions climate. However, we don’t see any major red flags based on what you’ve sketched out here.
One issue to take note of: Since you tried for the August start then now it would help to discuss how you feel that the J-Term is a better fit; it can’t be solely because you’re in a hurry to get started, even though that’s probably most of the reason! 🙂 Also, if your career goals have shifted, those will need to be explained.
Our biggest concern is that the essays last time probably weren’t strong enough, and/or perhaps you didn’t apply early enough in the cycle? The basics that you’ve shared here should be enough to make it in to Columbia, so that indicates it’s likely the execution in the overall application, particularly the essays, that wasn’t strong enough.
Our Reapplicant Guide might be useful and definitely pick up the Columbia Essay Guide if you haven’t already – it’s chockful of important info that will help you solidify your strategy and make sure you’re hitting on all cylinders, so you can REALLY impress the adcom this year!
Let us know how it goes for you! Happy to help with questions along the way.
I was going through this page and read a few comments. Infact a comment from
Sree on 15th November 2015 is what exactly my doubt is. I have 4 years expeience in family business ( automobile accessories ) and 4 years of experience in Real Estate and Hospitality sector. I wish to make a career switch to consulting in field of finance. How helpful will Colombia be for me.
Also i would appreciate if I could get in touch with Sree who commented here on 15 november 2015 as he would have completed his J term and can help me provide insights into the program.
Hey Shubhnit! How awesome that there were others here asking similar questions already, to help you navigate all the decisions in applying! From what you’ve described, we’re nervous about hitting up the J-Term for your Columbia strategy. The Columbia MBA can certainly facilitate a transition like you’re describing, but the full-time MBA would be the best fit. Both consulting and finance industries tend to recruit extensively through the summer internship channel and it’ll be way easier for you to make the switch if you go through that traditional path. We’ve seen plenty of BSers do exactly this, but far fewer through the J-Term track. However, if you’re in a hurry to complete your MBA and you studied business subjects during college, you might check out the Cornell Accelerated MBA which could be an excellent fit instead.
In terms of connecting with Sree, we’re not able to disclose contact information as we need to maintain confidentiality of peeps posting, but if you leave a reply to his comment on this thread, then it’ll send an alert to him that you did so, and perhaps he’ll come back here and see it, and you two can connect that way. We also encourage you to reach out to the Columbia student community directly — they have plenty of opportunities to connect and get questions answered!
Hope this helps and keep us posted!
Do you mean that Cornell Accelerated MBA is a better fit for career switchers ( who already took introductory business courses) than Columbia’s J-term? If yes, why so?
Hi Manish! Not necessarily – we were specifically responding to some aspects of Shubhnit’s profile and the context of that question, in order to suggest another option to consider. The Cornell program is a good one and a key advantage there is that it’s MUCH easier to break into! For certain profiles and candidate fit especially.
One way to evaluate how successful you might be in an accelerated-format program like Columbia’s J-Term or the Cornell option is to evaluate how self-directed you are, and what connections you’ll be able to pull on, and what basis you’ll have to make the case to a future employer that you’re ready to roll and can hit the ground running even though you’ll be changing careers. This is a non-trivial examination exercise and it can be superduper important! Not only does that help you make sure you’re making the right choice of MBA program, and set you up for success in the long-term requirements of pitching those companies, but it’s essential in pitching the adcoms on why you feel their program is a fit and how you intend to make it a success story.
Many schools including Columbia are becoming more flexible on certain requirements, given how the overall market for MBA applicants is softening somewhat (at least, compared to what it used to be). So you may be able to convince an adcom for an admit more easily than past BSers possibly could. Timing might be right for you to give it a shot!! Let us know if we can help along the way!
Thanks for the informative post. I am interested in pursuing the J Term program. My background consists of 3 years in banking, 2 years in private equity and 3 years in a senior investment role at a well established hedge fund. I studied finance and economics at a well known private regional school and graduated among the top in my class. My goal is to shift back into a a value oriented, structured investing position such as private equity or distressed credit but continue investing in the same industry sectors. I will likely be submitting a late application due to time constraints associated with work/gmat preparation. My hope is that the MBA will allow me to make the pivot back in that direction while also providing me with an invaluable network to utilize both now and in the future (e.g. fundraising). Can you please let me know your high level thoughts on my fit, the impact of an application submitted close to the deadline and what GMAT score I should be targeting?
Thank you for your help!
@Drew, based on what you shared, you sound like a great fit for the J-Term! Of course, it’s all about the details and positioning, but from the career sketch, yes it seems like it might work. You do sound more senior than many applicants so that’s the only question in terms of program fit.
And, an overall issue of course is that it’s hard for ANYONE to transition into PE from bschool just because those jobs don’t typically come on campus and it relies more on your own network and hustle to make it happen. Since you already have an interesting and diverse background in finance including some previous time in PE and in the equally competitive hedge fund world, then it should not be an issue for you, especially if you’ve been in NYC for any part of the career (our guess is you have), but we always like to point that out as a possible hurdle to overcome.
It’s impossible to answer the other questions re GMAT score etc without going into the details of your entire profile (sorry for the blatant upsell, but our Comprehensive Profile Review can give you exactly that!! and we’ll also point you to our Columbia MBA Application Guide which answers oodles and oodles of strategy questions like you’re pondering). Have you seen our Columbia MBA Essays page too? Plenty o’ info there for you to spend time digging in. It looks like you’ve already been doing your homework but as we say, the decision is in the details! We need to be careful on being overly positive (or overly negative!) to anyone when we’ve got limited info only (we have kinda strong views on this!).
Hope this helps – let us know if there are other questions that we can answer/not-answer 🙂 and either way, please stay in touch, would love to hear how it goes for you!
Thanks for the helpful post.
I applied to August term last year and was rejected without interview. I’ve a 8 year experience: 6 in analytics consulting and 2 in healthcare industry. I want to get into strategy consulting such as MBB. I’m an Indian candidate with 710 GMAT (51,37). I’m considering J-term and wanted to see if you think it could be a viable option, esp when I’ll be able to submit only by deadline.
Hey Sharad! Thanks for hitting us up for some input!! Unfortunately it’s going to be really tough to call this based only on limited data – and we hate to do an instant upsell but truly, our Comprehensive Profile Review is exactly for this type of assessment!! From what you’ve shared, we’re a little nervous – the quant is awesome on that GMAT but the total is not, and we don’t know what you’ll be pitching as your reapp strategy, and we also are concerned about the MBB thing based on the 710 (and you didn’t share anything about academics, and you’re a little more advanced in your career, and all these things often pile up and make it harder…). The J-Term needs to be pitched specific to how it’s the right solution for what you need, and it’s pretty tough to break into MBB without an internship, even if you’ve been doing some consulting already. So the whole thing is a big IT DEPENDS which is probably not that useful!
Separately: Submitting for the J-Term at the deadline isn’t a huge disadvantage (it’s not the same story as the other submit options for Columbia) so it’s not ideal but it’s not a major problem if the app is strong enough. There are other concerns here but that’s not the main one.
Anyway, not sure these comments are helpful or not; it’s the best we can offer with such limited info. We’re around though if you want to dig up your sleeves and go for more support on any of your apps!!
May be a wrong place for the comment, but I have observed that Snarks reply to all comments.
I am interested in buying MBA Round 2 Countdown, but I am not able to find the option online.
Yes we do reply to all! Thanks for asking about the Countdown!
We’re undecided on whether to do a Round 2 Countdown this year and if we do, we will likely be reworking it to start a little bit later in the Fall (probably first of November, for an accelerated version — like we used to do a long, long time ago which we called 30 Days of Essays… perhaps we’ll resuscitate that one this year instead!).
Really appreciate you asking about it! We’ll post news on the main page of the blahg if / when it’s decided, and you can always ping us again if you have questions!
I have been in financial services for the past 8 years and would like to earn my MBA degree from a finance powerhouse such as Columbia. I have been in risk management within banking, investment projects in the energy infrastructure sector, and currently i am doing credit ratings within the insurance sector. My career interests post-graduation would be to stay in a credit rating agency but probably switch from the insurance to the infrastructure sector (sector mobility). You think that would be feasible with Columbia´s J-term? Another point to add is that i am 33 now.
@Jonny, that sounds feasible to us! The main question we have though is just making sure you’re able to capture why the MBA is needed for this. There’s often a fine line between pitching a goal that’s actually a bit too aggressive (a mistake many people make) and then on the flip side, presenting a goal where it’s hard to see why the MBA is a required next step. Obviously an MBA can be useful for many people in a variety of industries, however doing a lateral transition sometimes is tricky in the context of proving out why an MBA is really needed to pull it off. That can be exacerbated with candidates with greater years of work experience as well. So making sure you’re able to fully justify not just why Columbia, and why J-Term, but in particular, why MBA will be important (that’ll be true regardless of which school and which track you end up applying to).
And of course there’s the question of timing: If you’re just starting this process and don’t yet have a GMAT under your belt, then planning ahead for an Oct 2019 app to start in Jan 2020 makes plenty of sense. However, if you do have the GMAT done, then you may want to try for other programs now in Round 2. It all depends on where you’re at with things and what your timetable looks like for personal or professional reasons. It does tend to be harder for certain types of candidates to convince adcoms when they have more years of experience on the resume. Many applicants trying this year graduated from college in 2015; you’re not that much older but still, it does mean that there are more moving parts to an app when there’s more years in the workforce to present.
Anyway, hope that helps – let us know what you end up trying for and how it turns out!
I’m choosing between applying for the J-term and 2-year program next year. Currently have 3.5 years in investment consulting doing investment strategy for institutions (asset allocation type stuff) for a well-knows firm that places pretty decently in B-school. CFA charterholder as well. I’d like to transition to transition to a value-focused hedge fund or asset manager post-MBA and was wondering if they would think I’m the type of profile that would need the summer internship given the fact I’ve never worked on the buy side. Id plan to do in-semester internships at funds and (hopefully) join the value investing program. Do you think the J-term would be a good fit or would they want to see my apply for the 2-year to do the internship?
Hey Dan – thanks for stopping by the blahg and for hitting us up with your question! Your profile looks like the type that can make the J-Term work, but as we often say, it’s all about the execution and how convincing you are in the essays for making that transition. Being already in finance and especially having your CFA means that the adcoms will know you can pull it off, so then it comes down to the other aspects of a good pitch that most everyone has to make regardless of school or program.
The one glitch that we can see? We’re really nervous about where this market is heading. As is most everyone else!
What that means is basically this:
And you’re in the sector that is typically most impacted.
Is there a reason you’re putting this off till next year? We can only guess it’s because you’re early days and haven’t taken the GMAT.
If there’s any way you can possibly get an app or two done for Round 2 this season — as in, the deadlines coming up in the next few weeks — we’d strongly encourage it.
We are seeing next year be a very different admissions landscape, potentially, and things may become much more competitive, at Columbia in particular. Hard to say for sure but that’s what our cloudy crystal ball is prognosticating.
Hope that helps – keep us posted on what you decide and we’re around whenever you make a go for it!!
Hi! Thanks for this forum.
I have an undergraduate degree in finance and my GPA is not very good at a 3.2. I joined the family business where I worked for over 3 years and then decided I wanted to work in sports. I’m currently in NYU masters in sports business program and I’ve got multiple internships within this field. I want to stay in sports but an MBA will help elevate my position. I graduate in December 19 and I’m considering the 2020 J term. Do you think I would be a good fit ? I have a masters GPA of 3.8 and a GMAT of 710. I have also worked as I’ve done my Masters. Your thoughts? Do I have a chance ?
Hey Varun – thanks for posting about your situation! You certainly seem to have an interesting background and one that is at least somewhat differentiated from the typical MBA candidate (though there’s probably no such thing as “typical” anymore!). You could have a fairly high bar to convince Columbia of an admit at all – not just J-Term but in general for the MBA program – mostly that they’ll want to know why you need an MBA on top of your current Master’s? It could come across to them that, hmm, maybe this guy didn’t do his research that well before going to NYU? That isn’t alone a dealbreaker but Columbia in particular tends to be more sensitive to this issue than some other schools. The issue with whether they’ll be convinced you’re a fit to the J-Term is, do you have industry experience? Or only the specialized Master’s? Can you effectively prove that you do not need an internship? It kinda dovetails with the first issue: If you want to go into sports management, and your current education is locked-on razor focused on sports management… then why do you need MORE education to go launch your career in sports management?
Not an impossible situation, but some issues and potential gaps that will need to be bridged if you’re going to make a compelling pitch for that track. (You also really need to use this time to bring your GMAT up… we could say more if we had access to all the details of your profile in the Comprehensive Profile Review).
I have an extremely atypical background. I have a PhD (pharma) from a top US pharmacy school(3.98 GPA), then stayed in academia as a post-doctoral researcher for 5 years. I got an exposure to consulting while a post-doc, got heavily involved with the PhD consulting clubs, got invites to McK, BCG final interview rounds but did not make the final cut. Recently got my GMAT score (720). Now I’m looking at applying to the CBS J-term, but as a career changer (in the maximum swerve) am unsure if I’d be a good fit. What would you recommend (especially with the looming economic climate and no prospective internship)?
Hey AJ! Thanks for your question! You sound like you have a really impressive background that many top schools might be interested in. Believe it or not though: It’s not actually that unusual! We’ve worked with folks with similar profiles in the past.
You’re right to be wondering whether the J-Term might be a fit, and really, it will be down to how you are able to convince the adcom of that in your essays themselves! The Columbia essays tend to be super focused on goals and you would have opportunity right there within the application elements to show the adcom your thinking and demonstrate how your plan is viable.
We have to ask though: Is there a reason why you’re waiting for January? There are many programs that are still actively accepting applications RIGHT NOW in order to start this Fall of 2020. You might have a real opportunity in exactly this moment! We encourage you to think about that carefully — and quickly! 🙂 — because that window of opportunity is also closing soon. We’re betting that you’d have a much better shot if you tried right now than if you went for the J-Term. Much much more risk with the J-Term, and it’s likely to be significantly oversubscribed, compared to what’s available in this very moment of this unusual season. You’d finish your MBA on the same timeframe (graduating May 2022) yet your chances are likely much higher today than if you were to push out to apply this summer in hope to begin January instead.
Coronavirus has changed everything! For candidates, that means opportunity right now — but it won’t last!! More discussion available specifically here and across the recent posts on the blahg.
Let us know what you decide to do!
Thanks for the elaborate assessment — much appreciated! And while I agree that I can/should go ahead and apply for the Fall programs, my personal timeline with current work is somewhat unpredictable (research+manuscript = ugh). Thanks again!
Good luck with all of those projects AJ! That diversified experience is likely going to be quite interesting for admissions folks to hear about!!! Feel free to pop back in if we can help further along your journey.
Hi there – I am planning to apply to the J Term and wanted to get your view if it would make sense for me given my background. I have 2 years investment banking (New York), 2.5 years private equity and 2 years of investing across asset classes.
I’m looking to move back into a more senior investment role in my same region abroad, either on the private equity or distressed investing side. While an internship may be helpful, most of the firms I am looking at are smaller with no structured internship programs (hiring needs less clear that far out).
I had applied to CBS for August but made the mistake of applying late (and before the pandemic) in mid January, and unfortunately was not accepted. I have been admitted to other M7 schools for the August start, but the programs are less strong in financial services and do not carry the same brand value as CBS in international markets. Thanks for your help!
@ssb20218: You sound like a perfect fit for the J-Term! And, Columbia is often very receptive to a reapplicant who switches focus from August Start the first attempt, to J-Term next time (and, huge bonus, as you likely already recognize: you’d end up graduating on the same schedule as if your original app worked out). Your rationale as sketched out here for why you don’t need an internship makes perfect sense.
The only wrinkle? That we expect the coming admissions cycle to be super competitive. 🙁 That may be mitigated by the rolling process that Columbia has, and your experience with the original app actually could prove to be an advantage now, since you know what goes into putting together a full application (it’s harder than many expect!!) and you also know that your profile is strong enough to win you an admit elsewhere (all schools are different, but at least you know you didn’t totally screw the pooch on everything since you walked away with one win in hand!!). These things tell us that you might be in good shape to put together a strong app to the J-Term in the mid-July timeframe, which is probably the sweet spot in terms of when to submit this year (lots of reasons for that which are beyond scope for us to cover in this context). It all depends on all the factors that are present in your specific profile and how you pitch the reapp — but sure! We say yes, you have a real chance at it!
That being said: It is always, always a tough decision if you decide to forgo the actual admit you already have achieved. We have a sense of which school you might be referencing and if we’re right, then it’s a good program, but absolutely, we can appreciate the hesitation you have because it’s not lining you up as Columbia would do. But, this is going to be a tough year for admits to any of these top-top/competitive schools. So, walking away from a sure thing? Ugh. Hard to counsel you to do that, in all honesty.
What you might try is, keep that admit alive as an option (including paying deposits, which perhaps you’ve already done, and preparing to matriculate) while concurrently pursuing the J-Term application. Depending on timing, you could potentially find out about a Columbia J-Term admit before that other program formally starts. It would be an expensive way to get into Columbia if you ended up depositing at current school and then abandoning it last minute if Columbia pops, but it might be a worthwhile tradeoff.
Let us know what you think, and if we can help!
Thanks very much for your response. As Columbia’s re-applicant application is only the additional essay (how have you strengthened your application) + an additional recommendation, I am already in good shape to submit it in the coming 1-2 weeks, as I have been working on it in anticipation.
In the optional “additional information” essay, I plan to share my thought process of why the J Term would make sense for me and an internship not critical for my career goal, which I know is something they are focused on.
With all that in mind, I am hoping I could hear back by end of July / 1st week August, before starting at the other program. In any case I have paid that deposit and secured my spot, so that would be a sunk cost if I do get in and decide to attend the CBS program.
Sounds like you’ve got a plan coming together! The “why J-Term” actually should be in the reapp essay; skip the additional info essay unless there’s a negative that you need to give more context around. Also, the strategy needs to be considered holistically with every single element looked at carefully, on its own, in conjunction with the whole of the reapplication, and in the context of last season’s app – there’s perhaps even more strategy required with a reapp than a “fresh” one! We’ve got a variety of options available in case you think more in-depth examination would be beneficial; the Essay Ideas App Accelerator could help you on the front-end, or the Sanity Check on the back. Either way, we hope you’ll circle back around and let us know how the next few months go for you!!
I am currently a health care professional (not MD or RN) and I want to career switch into healthcare consulting. I have worked 3 years in clinical settings for a big chain. I am from Canada and would ideally like to move back after school, so I don’t know how useful an internship would be for me. Would I be a good candidate for J term? I understand the upcoming application cycle for class of 2023 is probably going to extremely competitive, so I’m hoping J term would give me slightly better chances. Thank you in advance!
Hey Erica! You actually sound like you might have a good pitch to make for the J-Term! You’re right about the level of competition, and…. we’re not sure it’s necessarily going to be any easier to break into J-Term this year, given how many folks are in a hurry to start their MBA right away. However, it will be important to demonstrate to Columbia that it’s the right track in order to have a shot, and you’re definitely thinking about things the right way!! It’s hard to say more than that based on the info shared, but it looks like you might have a chance. Your background does look totally appropriate for a transition to HC consulting. The main question will be how you are able to demonstrate that the internship wouldn’t be needed (the resume actually will be one of your biggest assets to convey that part).
tl;dr: Yes! Go for it!!! 🙂
We hope you’ll report back on how it works out!!
Dear EssaySnark team,
I have 10 years work experience in energy sector and would like to apply for j term MBA at CBS. After graduation, I will not change industry.
Could you please advise whether there is age limit for j term?
Hey Tara – definitely no age limit for J-Term – we’ve had clients with experience like yours get in there! However, you’re right to be asking the question. Sometimes candidates with more experience show up as almost overqualified for a “regular” full-time MBA, and Columbia especially likes to be sure that their students end up in the best cohort for them, based on how senior they may be and the types of problems they’ve solved before in previous organizations they’ve worked in. It’s not so much the quantity of experience as it is the quality and nature of those individual steps in the career that took the candidate to the position of wanting to right now pursue an MBA as the path-forward.
So, perhaps not a very satisfying answer, since we can’t say if they will see YOU as a good fit for the J-Term — but there’s nothing you shared in your simple sketch here that says they would not! It all comes down to how you pitch the adcom and what your plans really are.
Hope that helps! Thanks for the question and for being a reader of the blahg! We’ve got plenty more resources that will hopefully be helpful for you as you explore these exciting possibilities.
saurav kumar says
I have 6 years experience in Banks and Financial Services companies, working as business analyst, FP&A Manager, Market Risk Analyst and Financial Analyst in Canada and India. I have completed CFA Level 2 and FRM Part 1 as well. Post-MBA, I want to get into Product Mgmt in Fintech or Tech Industry. Would it be wise to apply for J-Term Program ? Thanks in advance!
Hey Saurav! From what you shared here, it looks like you’ve been putting thought into how to construct this job change, and sure, this could be workable as part of a J-Term pitch! For Columbia, the rest of the profile is going to be super important, especially since prodmgmt is very very common and they have so many candidates with similar backgrounds who are looking at the same transition as you. However, that’s fine, you never want to try and differentiate on the basis of the goals themselves; you want to show differentiation throughout the package, which is how you convince them to admit you!
So what we can say is, no issues detected from this approach you’re considering – and, it all comes down to the execution! 🙂
Let us know if we can assist further on any of those very important steps!