Social Life is Really Part of the Learning Experience
An Interview with Carine Roman, Columbia student 2004
About Columbia Business School
Columbia Business School was established in 1916 to provide business training and professional preparation for Columbia University students. In addition to its renowned MBA program, Columbia offers successful business managers and company executives the opportunity to enhance their careers and expand their knowledge through the prestigious Executive MBA (EMBA) and non-degree Executive Education programs.
How did you get into this prestigious MBA program?
I focused on the GMAT and dedicated my entire spare time to secure a high score (I get 700). Well in advance, I made a list of people I would like a recommendation from and started educating them about the process. I applied in September and got accepted early November. I therefore had plenty of time to organize my moving and look for financing. Columbia Business School offers various scholarships/fellowships and I believe that applying early not only demonstrates your willingness to join the program but also helps being chosen as the recipient of a scholarship/fellowship.
Could you tell us more about your first year of study?
The first year at Columbia Business School was my most demanding year ever! I had not only to adapt to New York lifestyle but also deal with a heavy workload, an intense social life and the search for an internship.
What struck me most was the diversity of my fellow classmates. I met amazing people with very diverse professional and personal backgrounds. Social life is really part of the learning experience and you are encouraged to join clubs and get involved in social activities. Furthermore, being located in New York makes it easier for executives to come and talk to us. We have incredible speakers nearly every day coming to School and share their experience with us.
How is the 1st year different from the second year of school?
The main difference between 1st and 2nd year is that you choose your classes and can therefore concentrate on your field of interest. You also have the opportunity to attend classes held in other Columbia Schools (International or Law Schools for instance).
What classes are you learning most from?
Since I had no experience in Finance, I learned a lot through the core quantitative classes. Columbia having a strong reputation in finance, I developed deep academic skills in Finance and accounting. I think I also gained a broader view of how companies are (or should be) managed and why they make some strategic moves.
How is the atmosphere at Columbia?
Because Columbia is one of the top B-School, I was expecting competition from my fellow classmates. It is actually the opposite. People are not only very friendly but also willing to help as much as they can. The 1st year is strongly team-oriented and you take all your classes in a cluster counting around 60 students who you will get to know pretty well. Through team projects, clubs and associations, social events and trips (ski, scuba diving, Japan, Costa Rica to list only a few!) you develop a strong sense of community.
If you had to do it again, would you apply to Columbia?
Definitely! I had great expectations when I first came to New York. My experience so far goes well beyond those expectations! I met amazing people, I made friends for life, I developed strong academic skills. In a couple of months, I will be entering the workforce and I already know that the professional opportunities offered to me would not have existed hadn’t I done an MBA atColumbia.
About Carine Roman
I am a French Columbia MBA 2nd year student. After graduation from ESC Toulouse, I joined a media company and spent 7 years in the advertising and publishing industry in Paris. I was managing a sales department and felt I needed a renowned international diploma to boost my career.
Could you give a piece of advice to a prospective Columbia student?
Do your homework! Meet people (faculty, alumni and students) from School, make sure you know what is expected from your applications. Apply early and show your strong motivation.