Columbia Business School – Essay Analysis

What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals? (Recommended 750 word limit)

I wanna make a (hopefully) quick-ish point about “How will Columbia Business School help you achieve these goals?” Too often, the essays we see confuse this section with “Why do you love the idea of Columbia” or “Can you think of ways to flatter Columbia GSB?”

Guys, gals. Columbia knows why it’s awesome. And they don’t to hear you tell them why. This obviously goes for all schools that ask some version of this question. They’re not testing you on “do you like me? Check YES or NO and if Yes, meet me by the jungle gym at recess.” They know it. And it is a waste of words. A giant, colossal, profound waste of words.

Think about Business Plans. Investors don’t want you to compliment them on their ties. They don’t want to read about why you like them. They don’t want to be flattered in the business plan itself.

They want to read about HOW WILL MY MONEY HELP YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL… SO THAT I WILL, IN TURN, MAKE A RETURN ON MY INVESTMENT.

Yes? We agree?

If you can demonstrate that you have a PLAN for my money—and can show what happens if I were to GIVE YOU MY MONEY—how AAA leads to BBB and BBB leads to CCC and wallah—PROFITS, SUCCESS, HOORAY. And if I can SEE it and am convinced that you’ve thought it through… I am likely to give you my money. I want you to succeed because then… I succeed.

It does me noooooooooo gooooooood to hear you talk about how great looking I am. And how charming I was on the night we met. And how brilliant my 2-run homerun against Bedford was in Marblehead, MA playoffs. [Honestly? It was spectacular. The dude threw me a 2-1 fastball up and in, and paid for it. Oh he paid for it. God damn what a shot.] While I will be flattered and will love to hear all that stuff about how AWESOME I am [see above example]… it’s not gonna persuade me to give you my money.

In order for me to give you my money—a seat in my illustrious MBA program—you need to present a logical plan. Show me how da money will work.

Fellas and fellasses… when they ask you about “How will XXX School help you achieve your goals” they want to see a business plan. They want to see how their “investment in you” (i.e., a seat in their institution, access to their resources, etc) will help you succeed and eventually… help THEM.

How will it help them? Oh that part’s easy. You’ll make money and give it back to them. You’ll get famous and Columbia Business School will appear under your name on your TV interview. That part’s simple. They need to know HOW you’re gonna succeed so that they have a reason to invest in you.

Stop complementing their ties. It’s not gonna do you any good at all.