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Deadlines & essays updated for Jan 2020 intake

Columbia Sample Essays

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What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal?

I wish to pursue Management consulting career with top consulting firms like Booz, McKinsey or Accenture.  I am looking forward to working with Small to Medium Enterprises and helping them move up the value chain.

Essay 1A :Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career, and how do you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals? (Maximum 500 words) 

At XX, while working on a SCM project for Italicement, I learnt subtle intricacies involved in operations of Fortune 500 companies. Within 2.5 years, in my first leadership role, I led the execution of critical modules on delivery capabilities and distribution planning reliability. As an FAR during the CMMI-5 certification, I successfully restructured the project execution process and achieved productivity gain for the team

Here, I developed a blueprint for the next five years of the career aimed at garnering relevant experience, enhancing it with world-class education and eventually launching my management consulting firm with a focus on emerging markets. I believe that the realization of my long-term goals will depend on today’s preparation and tomorrow’s planning.

Working towards my blueprint, I joined XX, a unique social enterprise that has been a case study at CBS. At Ziqitza, I led their technology team and contributed to strategy planning with the board. Using EMS response system, we increased the efficiency of life saving operations by 45%. In my next assignment, I got an opportunity to setup the offshore operations of Valuation control for XX in India. I was involved in the strategic planning – from recruitment, on boarding, goal setting to creating strategic road map. The role helped me integrate my interest areas - technology, strategy and management. In evaluating business requirements from one of the largest global Risk control teams in the world, I developed significant expertise in Risk Control domain and formulated a review process for instruments based on external prices and internal consensus.

I’m at a stage in my career, where after having gained invaluable experience in Consulting, Finance and Technology, I’m prepared to develop my diverse set of experiences in their proper context by harmonizing it with a comprehensive curriculum at CBS aimed at consulting and finance. I wish to develop expertise in strategy development, resource allocation, handling competitive threats, and process engineering. The Competitive strategy CDA caters specifically to development of these skills. I will strengthen my MBA experience by taking advantage of experiential learning, case studies and real world simulations. Through internship, “master classes” and my networking skills, I will create associations that will propel me towards my goals. Any strategic implementation should be measurable; hence deep dive insights into corporate finance and financial systems are imperative. I am thrilled about the mentorship I will get under Columbia’s renowned Finance faculty.

The unprecedented entrepreneurial aspirations among individuals and expansion strategy of multinationals have led to mushrooming of SMEs and multinational subsidiaries in the emerging markets. I aspire to become a contributor in the thriving consulting and training arena. My post-MBA work experience with industry leaders in Consulting will further enhance my pre-MBA and Columbia experience with organizational level strategy building, taking me one step closer to my long-term goal.

Once I’m confident of my position as a freelance consultant, I will use my organizational and networking skills to realize my long-term aspirations of transforming today’s SMEs into tomorrow’s Fortune 500 corporations.

Essay 1B : Please view this video, entitled Community at Columbia. Diverse, tight-knit clusters and carefully selected learning teams are defining features of the first year at Columbia Business School. Along with more than 100 student organizations and countless events each semester, the cluster system helps to create a supportive and devoted lifelong community. Describe why you are interested in becoming a part of the Columbia community. (Maximum 250 words)

I will feel right at home at Columbia as I have grown-up in multicultural, multifaceted and diverse environments at residential schools and shared accommodations for the last 15 years. I’m enthusiastic about collective approach, experiential learning and group assignments in a cluster, akin to the community we formed to launch India’s first community driven publication for Youth.

While MCA, General Management club, TBG and L.E.A.D. will help me nurture my skills in Consulting, technology and social-entrepreneurship by providing me an opportunity to learn from the industry leaders themselves, I’m equally enthusiastic about exploring opportunities in Green Business Club.

My interaction with CBS alumnus, XX, at our school alumni meet provided me insights into vibrant Columbia culture, community-driven initiatives and Microlumbia; I’m looking forward to taking up a consulting project and contributing to the novel initiative by leveraging my work experiences in Finance, Social enterprise and SHG.

As a sportsman, I have come to realize that A man makes more profound relationships at a football field than a classroom.  Having played several sports including Basketball at national level, cross-country and half-marathons, I'm looking forward to contributing to the Basketball, running and healthy living club at Columbia. Given a chance, I would like to conduct yoga
sessions with 10-15 most effective asanas to help students rejuvenate among hectic schedule.

Networking isn’t magic; but it is magical. Given that I’m still an active contributor to my high school alumni community, I will strive to uphold and further the values and beliefs of Columbia throughout my life.

Essay 2 : Describe a personal experience and how it has influenced who you are today. This essay should have a personal rather than a professional focus. (Maximum 500 words)

At a tender age of 12, I was sent to an upscale boarding school. Owing to my rural upbringing and lack of exposure, I was mocked at almost everything. Among the things I detested, a mandatory participation in cross-country run was the worst. During my first year at the competition, I stood 343rd in a group of approximately 500 students. I had no motivation to run or to achieve; I wanted to take the next train back to the comfort of my home.

I still remember the simple words of my cross-country coach the next year. He asked a profound question – “ How is a winner different from a loser when both winners and losers like to sleep? The difference is while the loser sleeps; a winner gets up at 6, practices and conditions himself to become a winner. A winner develops mental toughness and takes his training to the edge.”

In that moment of epiphany, those lucid words had a profound impact on my attitude towards life. Regardless of the weather, mood, or (most) illness, I ran. On the day of the run, I finished the race with a token that read “12”. That number transmuted me from within. I realized the magic in that extra mile.

"When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting."
- Doris Brown

The first extra mile I took was on the inside; it changed my thoughts and transformed my mindset. I contemplated on my limitations, and discovered the infinity beyond them. The next extra mile became visible on the outside, when I got out of the comfort-zone and into the breakthrough. From a meek rural guy I went on to win inter-public school debates, colors and cravats for sports and academics, ending my journey with the highest accolade - that of a school prefect. 

I continued to draw inspiration from my cross-country tokens and set high standards of self-excellence in both my personal and professional life. I felt empowered to explore horizons beyond the apparent. I have continued this trait to date in my professional life. From a comforting environment of a multinational, I took up a challenging role at a social enterprise to develop solutions that were used to save lives of accident and disaster victim. I formulated a plan for using the existing emergency medical relief helpline to be their voice. It seemed grandiose without affecting the efficiency of existing emergency medical relief operations. However, I and few others who shared the passion took up the challenge. Over the next 6 months, we created partnerships with 46 NGOs, raised funds and developed strategies to integrate the “1298 Senior Citizens Helpline” and “1298 Women Helpline” within the existing framework. Again, I finished the race with tokens of gratitude.

Life to me is not a marathon, but a series of sprits. My perspective has enabled me to take up many challenging excursions and inspires me to keep expanding my horizons.