I'm a current first-year MBA student at Columbia Business School. OCR recruiting week is finally over (at least for banking). Now I know where I'm going for summer, so I finally have time to create this AMA thread for prospective students interested in banking/investing/consulting/tech (I have good exposure to all of them) or those who just want to know more about social/academic life at CBS.
International student (not native English speaker so please forgive my grammatical errors)
Prior non-business Masters degree in U.S.
Five years financial industry working experience in New York
28 yrs old male
GMAT 750/GPA 3.1
Social life is awesome, especially for people that never had "frat" college experience. I know many people here think CBS doesn't have a community feeling since it is situated in NYC, but I can guarantee you that it is absolutely not true. I used to live in midtown and I know the feeling of living in NYC. However, living in Morningside Height is very different from living in the "city". It is almost like a university town that as restaurants are filled with Columbia students.
Yes, there are some local students spending more time with their old friends but many more people choose to fully embrace business school life (basically they tell friends that they are dead for two years). Also in the end, local students only account a small fraction of CBS' population.
Every Wednesday we have rugby happy hour. Bi-weekly we have CBS Socials (free food/drink) and after-party at the hottest clubs on Thursday night. After-party is awesome because it is cheap and sometimes private (e.g. $20 cover for Marquee, 1hr open bar, free table/champagne and 2hr exclusively for CBS students).
Due to Grade Non-Disclosure policy, people don't worry too much about class. At least for your first-semester core classes, attendance matters if you want to get a good grade. I wouldn't say that the core classes are too impressive due to my background, but some are more solid than I thought.
The best/most popular classes at CBS are definitely those optional value investing classes or hardcore finance classes. I will talk about that in the career section below.
I will only leave some basic details in this AMA section since it is difficult to summarize all aspects of career planning at CBS. Feel free to post your questions below.
Banking is more popular than in previous years due to a bump in base salary and "improved" work-life balance. Most Americans get the bank they want while this is more challenging for international students. The first semester is extremely important since you need to do ain order to get the real interview in January. Most people do at least 20-30 informational interviews but I know the record is around 70ish. Literally every bank comes on campus and /EB gives out roughly 5-10 offers to CBS students.
Investing is one of the most popular career paths at CBS due to its strong value investing program. Almost every mutual fund and some well-known hedge funds (like Appaloosa) will do their OCR here. Most smaller hedge funds will just do off-campus recruiting. I would say CBS is probably the best school for people who want to do investing without any relevant prior experience.
1. There are more than a dozen classes about how to invest and most of them are taught by current portfolio managers instead of professors. If you are exempted from some core classes, you can enroll for decent investing classes in the first semester.
2. The best thing about being in NYC is the school year internship opportunities. I can literally see new school year hedge fund internship posts every day. It is true that many are unpaid or some small no-name funds but that's the best chance to prepare a solid resume andrecruiting in the late second semester.