Columbia University in the City of New York Reviews
Columbia Business School (CBS) students can best be described as follows (and of course, this is a generalization): "smart, but not arrogant; scrappy-- and not so straight-laced." CBS has all of the same benefits as any top business school: an amazing alumni network, beautiful facilities, world-class faculty, tons of recruitment/professional opportunities and experiences, smart classmates, great conferences/ visiting business leader speeches and programs, etc.-- but the main observation that I must point out is the depth and diversity of the student body. Before applying to business schools, I attended a number of alumni panels for different schools and was always greeted by a rainbow coalition of alums who were from different backgrounds, races and industries. Columbia stood out from the crowd because the alumni actually sounded very distinct from one another and were truly passionate about their ideas, which were not always in agreement with the other person (vs. some other schools that had alums who were more articulate, but ultimately seemed to hold the same mindset while appearing in separate bodies-- seriously). This observation struck me early on and stayed with me throughout my time at business school. In addition to the fact that it happens to be located in NY (an advantage the admissions office belabors in its marketing materials), CBS has a population that is passionate, ambitious and still very community-oriented. A boisterous group of Peer Advisors greets new students when they enter the school and a tight bond forms among each class. During the first year, everyone takes a core set of classes before taking on different elective courses to round out their formal education here. Whether pursuing a career in finance, management consulting, social enterprise, marketing or anything else, there was a place everyone at CBS and I honestly cannot recall another time where I have been surrounded by more talented and passionate individuals and where debate and new ideas were welcomed/encouraged as openly. The only drawbacks I can say about CBS are ones that can be found at any MBA program: some of your classmates will be resume-padders who overpromise and underdeliver, some professors are better than others, and not everyone gets their dream offer from their perfect company. But the experience of being at CBS was definitely worth it for me and I encourage prospective students, who are looking for a dynamic and inspiring 2 years, to seriously consider looking down this path. * One thing I must also point out to anyone considering pursuing an MBA at any school is that it is *not* a guarantee for a super-high salary or any type of professional advancement; it is a training ground where you will gain the tools to do great things in the world-- and it will be up to you to do the work to put those tools to use. Good luck in your future endeavors!
If you want a career in international affairs or public policy, SIPA is the place to be. As an NYC resident, you will have just about unlimited access to the world's top players in international affairs. The network you will gain alone will be worth the tuition! SIPA is like a mini-UN, so you will make friends from every corner of the globe. Be aware, though - like most of NYC, you have to be ready to advocate for yourself and your education at SIPA. There is no hand-holding or coddling. It's like they say: "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."
I pursued and completed a Master of Science degree in Sustainability Management from Columbia University between 2013-2014. In what was ideally set up as a part-time program jointly offered by the School of Continuing Education and Columbia's Earth Institute, I completed the program within one full academic year, including a full summer semester. The program was divided into 5 core areas, of which you needed to complete either 2 or 3 courses to cover each area and qualify to graduate. Additionally, at orientation, we were told we would need to finish our studies while maintaining a minimum of a B average. This former created some problems for students, as some often found it difficult to find specific courses that both interested them as well as satisfied the program's academic requirements. As Master's students, we were able to cross-register with other schools and departments such as SIPA and Columbia Business School, but with the latter it was a bit more problematic and time-consuming. For the most part, the professors were great and very attentive to the student's needs. They held fairly flexible office hours and I found them more than patient and approachable. Regarding the courses themselves, I believe that the program should incorporate a speciality area within the field of sustainability, whether a student is interested in energy, agriculture, water, or other sectors. In this way, the program can be built around a specific industry and graduates will walk away with a specialty in this fast growing area. This will most likely assist in the job hunt afterwords and in career development in general. Finally, the campus environment, access to its facilities and resources (as well as being in New York City as a student), is a wonderful experience that I valued tremendously. This was one of the main reasons I decided to pursue a Master's degree at Columbia from the onset.