What Columbia Is Known For
Finance. Finance. Finance.Columbia sends a high percentage of its graduates into finance, rivaled only by Wharton, Chicago Booth, and NYU Stern. Its location means the school has powerful connections on Wall Street, but the school has made a noted attempt to diversify away from just investment banking over the past several years. These efforts have paid off: Although 16% of the Class of 2015 headed down that path, that figure represented less than half of graduates headed into finance-related roles.
Location. Location. Location. This real estate adage is so relevant to thinking about Columbia, it’s traded one geographically centered tagline (“The New York Advantage”) for another (“At the Very Center of Business”). NYC has even made a guest appearance in the school’s essay questions. But wait! There’s another top business school in NYC, you say? You’re right, although the “other” New York business school may be closer to downtown’s trendy nightlife and financial centers, the reputation and clout of Columbia Business School continue to pull New York’s movers and shakers up to Morningside Heights. (The school featured more than 400 guest speakers in one year.)
Culture shift. Back in the day, you might have heard the word “cutthroat” used to describe Columbia’s culture. Known as the proverbial shark tank of business schools, Columbia’s campus abounded with stories about note-stealing and other sabotage. While the culture is still decidedly “New Yorker” and a bit more hard-edged than the very softest MBA communities, such as those at Kellogg, Ross, and Tuck, Columbia now actively seeks out applicants who will form a tight-knit community.
Theory and practice. Columbia Business School’s aim in recent years has been to create “whole” business thinkers who “connect the dots” and understand the importance of bigger-picture frameworks such as globalization. Columbia students also understand the complexity of social (i.e., non-financial) metrics in evaluating the impact of business on the world around them. Research is also important for Columbia’s faculty, and bringing theory outside of the classroom and applying it in the real world are key drivers in the curriculum’s design.