What to know before getting your MBA at Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School, attended by ultra-successful investor Warren Buffet, is a top-ranked school and is one of only six Ivy League business schools in the country. If you are thinking about getting an MBA from Columbia Business School, here is what you need to know. 

Columbia is a highly-regarded (and highly-competitive) Ivy League school located in Manhattan, New York, and is one of the toughest business schools to get into. 

The Columbia Business School was founded in 1918 and is one of the oldest business schools in the world. As an Ivy League school, Columbia’s admission standards are high. The average GPA of new students is 3.6 with a GMAT score of 732. 

Columbia University’s overall admission rate is only 5.4%, though a little over 16% get into its business school. The starting base salary for Columbia Business School MBA graduates is $150,000 with total median compensation of more than $177,000. 

Attending an Ivy League school may not be right for everyone. Here is what to know. 

Is an MBA at Columbia Business School worth it?

Columbia is an Ivy League school, which means tuition is higher and education is regarded as superior. Columbia offers a full-time two-year MBA program as well as an Executive MBA program designed to accommodate full-time working professionals. 

But, is an Ivy League school worth it? 

Investopedia ran the numbers and, based on sheer monetary value alone, you might be better off attending a public university. Investopedia based its research on the return that students get on money spent between a more expensive Ivy League institution and a degree from a traditional public university. 

But, many argue that the personal and professional network acquired at an ivy league university is second to none. Students and faculty at ivy league colleges are believed to be highly motivated and focused on success, thereby boosting the value of the education overall.

At Columbia Business School, students attend special conferences every year and take classes taught by highly-successful professors who work at companies like IBM and Goldman Sachs, further boosting the value of their college-acquired network. 

Are Ivy League schools extremely selective?

While Ivy League schools are highly competitive with an overall acceptance rate below 7%, you might be surprised that only four out of the top 10 selective schools in the country are Ivy League schools. Stanford is the most selective school on the list, which is not Ivy League. However, Columbia is the #2 most selective school in the country according to U.S. News and World Report, with Harvard coming in fourth. 

There is a clever way to help boost your chances of getting into Columbia (or other Ivy League institutions). “Early applicants to Ivy League schools are admitted more often than regular applicants,” wrote Washington D.C.-based news-radio station WTOP.

“The explanation for this difference is that early applicants tend to have more competitive credentials than applicants who submit their materials later, according to Ivy League admissions officials.”

In 2020, the Columbia Business School received almost 7,000 applications. The school admitted 1,130 with a little over 780 students admitted. 

Do Columbia Business School grads earn more?

Investopedia found that the median salary for an Ivy League graduate in 2015 was about $70,000 a year, which more than doubles that of a non-Ivy League graduate. However, it also found that attending an Ivy League school can cost as much as four times that of a state school

Over the course of a career, Ivy League graduates can easily out-earn their non-Ivy League counterparts, although it will take some time and, of course, there are no salary guarantees. 

Also, a Princeton professor found that students who qualified for an Ivy League school but chose a more traditional option earned just as much as Ivy League grads. “Professor and economist Alan Krueger and his fellow researcher Stacy Berg Dale released a study that found that when a student performed high enough to enter an Ivy League school but instead went to a second-tier school, they earned just as much money as their Ivy League counterparts,” wrote Investopedia. 

However, listing an Ivy League school on your resume instantly makes it stand out, which could increase your chances of getting the job that you want. 

Do Ivy League graduates do better in corporate America?

Ivy League students tend to do extremely well over the course of their career, but a University of California study found evidence that Ivy Leaguers don’t necessarily dominate highly-prized senior executive positions. 

“Analyzing a sample of 3,990 senior executives drawn from 15 sectors, including government, we find significant industry variation,” wrote the study’s abstract. The study found that about ten percent of senior executives went to an Ivy League school, mainly in the media and broadcasting industries. 

Although Ivy League graduates are highly-represented in corporate leadership, an elite degree is far from a hard and fast requirement to achieve such a level of success. 

Am I too old to get an MBA from Columbia Business School?

The average age of MBA students at Columbia Business School is 28, though student ages range from the low 20s to about 40. The Columbia Business School program is designed for students of all ages and careers, including an Executive MBA program designed to work around the schedule of busy working professionals. 

The major benefits of an Ivy League degree, like at Columbia University, include:

  • A highly-motivated professional network
  • Access to successful and experienced faculty
  • School name recognition on your resume
  • Earnings potential due to more opportunities

The downsides of an Ivy League degree include the high cost of tuition, the stress involved in a highly-competitive admissions process, and a relatively non-diverse study body. 

Columbia Business School at Columbia University offers business degrees in the following areas of concentrations: accounting, consulting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, general management, health care administration, international business, leadership, marketing, not-for-profit management, production/operations management, portfolio management, real estate, quantitative analysis/statistics, and operations research, and technology. 

Tuition for full-time students is $77,376 per year.