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  • Malvika Patil

Columbia Business School MBA Recommendation Questions 2023 - 2024




Columbia Business School, located in the heart of New York City, provides its students unmatched access to the global capital market, a diverse business landscape, and top industry leaders, many of whom visit the school to share their knowledge and expertise. 


CBS’s MBA program is a perfect blend of academic disciplines and applied functional areas taught using case-based lessons and collaborative learning models  — a learning approach that equips students with transformational, future-ready business strategies. 


This drive to build solutions for real-world problems and use business to create positive change is what you’ll need to demonstrate in your Columbia Business School application and your letter of recommendation.


How Many Letters of Recommendation Does Columbia Business School Require?


CBS requires one letter of recommendation. For reapplicants, they recommend that you submit a new recommendation as part of your reapplication material. If you’ve been employed in a full time capacity for a period of more than 6 months, your current manager should ideally be your recommender. In case you are unable to request an LoR from your current manager, your next best alternatives are your former direct manager, or a senior colleague who can provide the school with insights about your candidacy. In this case, you must also write a statement of explanation in your application. 


Like most schools, CBS uses the GMAC Letters of Recommendation to frame its Letter of Recommendation questions. The school does not require the recommender to rate the applicant on their leadership abilities.


Columbia Business School MBA Recommendation Questions


Recommender Information


  • Do you have an MBA?

  • If so, graduation year?

  • Are you a Columbia Business School Alumnus?


Recommendation Questions 


  • How do the candidate’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.


  • Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.


Limit your recommendation to 1000 words. Please submit your recommendation as a PDF or Word document on letterhead, if possible.


Analysis


Recommendation Questions


The recommender will have to answer 2 mandatory questions. Both answers combined should not be longer than 1000 words.


  1. How do the candidate’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.


Your recommender is asked to evaluate your performance, aptitude, skills, and leadership qualities in comparison to your peers working in similar roles. 


Our advice is for your recommender to offer 2-3 examples that each illustrate a specific strength or quality. This allows the school to assess your candidacy based on concrete evidence (even better if this is quantified by your recommender). As they write about these strengths, a good rule of thumb is to make sure they’re aligned with the school’s values. Here’s what Columbia is looking for in their MBA candidates: 


  • Innovative thinker 

  • Adaptive mindset 

  • Ability to lead in a rapidly evolving business world

  • Leaders aspiring to create value for their stakeholders and society at large


Use the SCAR methodology (Situation, Challenge, Action and Result) to structure the examples and make sure your recommender is aligning them with your target school. Reiterate to them the importance of quantifying results to showcase the impact and outcomes of the projects you've participated in.


  1. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.


Often recommenders find it challenging to choose the weakness they should discuss in this answer. Don’t ask them to share an unconvincing weakness, or a strength masked as a weakness. Dig through your performance reviews or evaluations, or speak to your manager to find a real weakness that they gave you feedback on during your time working together. It should present you as someone open to feedback, who can self-reflect and work on improving themselves. Guide your recommender to provide examples of how you worked on the feedback and the changes you made to improve. 


To frame the answer, guide your recommender to use the SCAR method to structure their example. Since the school is looking to build a cohort of diverse individuals driven to create an impact on the business world and solve real life challenges, try to demonstrate a fit with these values, keeping it consistent with your written application.


Our complete Recommender Guide course on MBAConsultant.com has all the advice (and sample letters based on real applicants) you need to create a compelling letter of recommendation.



 

Want personalized support for your letters of recommendation? Book a chat with us today!

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