Thank you for considering the Columbia Executive MBA Program, consistently ranked among the leading programs in the world.

Tell us what sets you apart. We are genuinely interested in learning more about you. Columbia Business School values interesting individuals who are earnest in their career aspirations. Our students are diverse. Our faculty is world renowned. The curriculum is rigorous. We believe this is the best MBA for executives. Here's what you need to do to apply.

Application Checklist

Columbia Business School requires that the work contained in your application (including essays) is completely accurate and exclusively your own. We do expect that you, the applicant, however, will not participate in the drafting of your letter of recommendation. 

All application content is subject to verification and adherence to the above requirements. 


Employer Sponsorship

  • Regardless of the level of financial support from your employer, applicants to EMBA-Friday/Saturday are required to submit a signed sponsorship letter from an authorized representative of your organization, briefly stating the terms of support.
  • Financial sponsorship is not required of your employer, but your organization must agree to: 1) Keep your travel time to a minimum; 2) Completely release you from all job responsibilities on class days.
  • Learn more about the sponsorship requirement.
  • Sponsorship letters must be uploaded into the online application system.

EMBA-Saturday applicants are not required to obtain employer sponsorship of any kind, though it is welcome.

Back to top


A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution is required for admission to Columbia Business School. As an EMBA applicant, you are required to provide the Admissions Committee with records of your academic work. Applicants should upload PDF versions of transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution that you have attended.

If offered admission, you will be required to provide encrypted digital copies of your transcripts from each of the colleges or universities submitted on your application. Offers of admission are not binding until academic records have been verified.

Back to top


Applicants should report their grade point average as it appears on their transcript.

Back to top

GMAT, Executive Assessment, or GRE Score

All applicants must submit a valid self-reported GMAT, Executive Assessment, or GRE score. Columbia Business School considers scores to be valid for five years after your test date. Please be sure to send your score report and submit your application at least one day before the scores expire.

If admitted, you must submit an official GMAT, Executive Assessment, or GRE score. Columbia Business School’s GMAT and Executive Assessment code is QF8-N6-36 for EMBA-Friday/Saturday, and QF8-N6-04 for EMBA-Saturday. Its GRE code is 6442. The Admissions Committee will consider only your highest score when reviewing your application and will not combine sub-scores from multiple exams into a single composite score.

Back to top


Applicants should upload their current professional resume or CV to the online application. Your professional resume or CV should ideally be one-page in length, but one-to-two pages is also acceptable.

Back to top


Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.

Short Answer Question

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Examples of possible responses:
“Work in business development for a media company”
“Continue my career within investor relations”
“Launch a data-management start-up”

Essay 1

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next three to five years and what is your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Essay 2

Columbia Business School’s Executive MBA will challenge you by offering a rigorous academic experience, global exposure through the international seminar, and the opportunity to immediately apply what you learn to your career. How will you approach balancing the demands of the program with your professional and personal life while you are in school? (250 words)

Essay 3:

Tell us about your favorite book, movie or song and why it resonates with you. (250 words)

Optional Essay

An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 words)

Back to top


The Admissions Committee requires one letter of professional appraisal; ideally this should be from your current supervisor. First-time applicants require one recommendation. Reapplicants are required to submit one new recommendation. If you are unable to secure a recommendation from your direct supervisor, please submit a statement of explanation in the Employment section of your application. Beyond your direct supervisor, other recommender options include: a former direct supervisor or another professional associate, senior to you, who can share their insights on your candidacy. 

Please note that Columbia Business School and several of our peer institutions use similar, if not identical, recommendation questions. This is an effort on our part to make the process easier for your recommender. We expect that you, the applicant, will not participate in the drafting of your recommendation. When entering contact information for recommenders, please use their institutional or professional email address. We ask that the recommender upload their recommendation on letterhead, whenever possible. References submitted from personal or anonymous email accounts (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo,,, etc.) will be subject to your admission being rescinded if significant discrepancies are found. Please ensure that if admitted, your recommender is aware that they will be contacted via email and phone in order to verify your recommendation.

After you have contacted your reference about writing a recommendation and completed the form on the Recommendations page of the online application, an email will be sent to your recommender with instructions and a web address they must visit in order to complete your recommendation. You will be notified via email when an online recommendation is received. Applications are not considered complete until all required information is submitted; this includes your recommendation.

We ask the recommender to consider the following guidelines when writing their recommendation (recommended limit - 1000 words):

  1. How do the candidate's performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.
  2. Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response.

Back to top

Application Submitted/Received

Keep in mind applications cannot be reviewed until they are complete. All missing required materials, such as your recommendation letter, must be received by the Admissions Office within two weeks of your application submission.

Once we have received all required application components your application will begin the review process. During this stage, your application is reviewed by at least two admissions officers, after which you will be either invited to interview or denied admission.

For all terms of entry, our goal is either to invite applicants for an interview or deny admission within six weeks of a completed application being received. Our goal for interviewed applicants is to render a final decision within two weeks of the interview report being completed.

Back to top


Once your online application is complete and under review, you may be invited to interview with one of our alumni. Interviews are by invitation only and cannot be requested.

Back to top

Application Fee

The nonrefundable application fee for the Columbia Business School Executive MBA Program is US$250. Applicants are strongly encouraged to pay this fee via credit card (Discover, Visa, or MasterCard only) within the online application system in order to expedite the processing of their application.

Applicants unable to pay by credit card should contact the Admissions Office at [email protected] for directions regarding alternative methods of payment. 

Fee waivers for EMBA applications are available to active duty US military personnel. Proof of current service is required. Applicants who qualify for a fee waiver should create or log into the application and navigate to the "Review" page. Upon accessing the Fee Waiver Request form, applicants will provide proof of service and explain their need for a fee waiver. Qualified applicants who have already submitted an application should email [email protected] to request a Fee Waiver Request form. Please allow up to one week for an update to your online status regarding a fee waiver request.

Back to top

Re-applicant Checklist

Please note that candidates may only apply once to a given term of entry. Candidates may not apply twice to the same term of entry.

The Admissions Office retains all applications for one year after a decision is rendered. If you are reapplying no more than 12 months from your initial term of entry to Columbia Business School, the checklist below will help ensure that you submit everything the Admissions Committee will need to reassess your candidacy. For example if you applied for August 2022 you will be considered a reapplicant for May 2023 or August 2023. If you are reapplying more than 12 months after the initial term of entry, you must submit a new, fully complete application.

Please submit the following to the Admissions Committee for your reapplication. If you have trouble starting a new application, please contact the Admissions Office for assistance.

  • Reapplication fee: US$250.
  • Submit a new company sponsorship letter.
  • Submit one new recommendation letter, preferably from your current employer. If you have already used your current employer for a recommendation, please choose someone else in a supervisory role or a client.
  • Please update the following sections: "Application," "Personal," "Family," Employment," "Education," and Extracurricular Activities."
  • How will you finance your MBA?
  • Submit transcripts of any additional courses you have taken since your previous application.
  • Please remember to indicate the dates and self-reported scores of the standardized tests that you wish to be considered in your admissions decision.

Please note: test scores are valid for five years. Your scores must be valid at the time of application submission.

Reapplicants are not required to submit three new essays. Only the reapplicant essay is required:

How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application? Please detail your progress since you last applied and reiterate how you plan to achieve your immediate and long term post-MBA professional goals. (Maximum 500 words).

Back to top


All admitted students are required to submit a nonrefundable tuition deposit to secure their place in the class after admission. Deposits will be applied directly toward your first semester’s tuition and fees. Please be aware that if you do not matriculate, your deposit will not be refunded.

Early Decision

Early Decision admits must submit a deposit of US$6,000 within two weeks of admission.

Regular Decision

Regular Decision admits must submit a deposit of US$2,000 within two weeks of admission.

Back to top