What Is Columbia Business School?

Columbia Business School is the graduate business school of Columbia University. Founded in 1916 and located in Manhattan, New York City, it is generally considered one of the finest business schools in the world and is known for its close ties to the financial sector.

The Columbia Business School Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is regularly rated among the best MBA programs in the world. In 2020, it received an 11th-place rating by the Financial Times for executive education and an 8th-place ranking from U.S. News and World Reports for 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • Columbia Business School is a graduate business school located in Manhattan.
  • It has historically been known for its strong ties to the financial sector, and for its important place in the history of value investing.
  • In recent years, Columbia Business School has become a popular destination for those pursuing careers in management consulting.

How Columbia Business School Works

Originally founded with only 11 full-time faculty and 61 students, Columbia Business School is now home to over 1,500 students and nearly 150 faculty members. Although the faculty at Columbia Business School possess expertise in a wide range of subject areas, the school is best known for its strength in financial subjects such as investment banking, private equity (PE), mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and alternative investments

The school has a particularly strong reputation among value investors, due to its association with Benjamin Graham. Having graduated from Columbia Business School in 1914, Graham joined the school as a faculty member in 1928, where he remained until 1965. Among his pupils was none other than Warren Buffett, whom many consider the most accomplished investor in history.

In recent years, Columbia Business School has taken steps to diversify its curriculum away from its traditional strengths in finance. Although the school continues to have some of the strongest relationships with Wall Street among any American b-school, its graduates are increasingly pursuing alternative industries for their post-graduation careers. Management consulting has been particularly popular in this regard, which has grown to almost match the popularity of finance among Columbia Business School’s MBA graduates.

Real World Example of Columbia Business School

With annual tuition of roughly $75,000, Columbia Business School MBA grads saw an average starting salary of $150,000 in 2020, along with an average signing bonus of $30,000. Of these, 90% of graduates had already received their job offers by the time they had graduated.

Although historically Columbia Business School had been pursued primarily by those seeking careers in finance, the percentage of MBA graduates employed in consulting has now roughly matched that of financial services. In 2020, finance and consulting represented 34% and 33% of MBA graduates’ industry choices, respectively.

Upon graduation, Columbia Business School graduates join a living alumni network over 44,000 strong. This includes many notable members, including Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK); Kevin Burke, CEO of Consolidated Edison (ED); Harvey Schwartz, President of Goldman Sachs (GS); Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup (C); and James P. Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley (MS).