Interview with Meyer Feldberg, Dean of Columbia Business School

Interview with Meyer Feldberg, Dean of Columbia Business School

Could you give our readers some information on your MBA program?

A Columbia Business School MBA gives you the edge in a world that demands smart, flexible, effective business leaders. By encouraging independent thought, assessment and learning, the Columbia MBA program equips students with all the tools they need to manage in a dynamic global economy. 

The strength behind the program is our distinguished, innovative faculty. At the School, students hear concepts directly from the people who developed them. Our faculty is comprised of professors from around the globe, many of them Fortune 500 professionals, who excel at showing their students how to apply knowledge to any business challenge. 

By design, our curriculum is an evolving process and continually reassessed to ensure that it meets the needs of a rapidly changing marketplace. The Columbia curriculum provides students with a strong, integrated, well-sequenced core, as well as increased flexibility to pursue individual interests. After completing the core, students are free to choose from more than 150 elective courses at the Business School and supplement them with more than 4,000 graduate-level classes offered by the University''s 12 other schools. 

While concentrations are optional, the School does offer a dozen: Accounting; Decision and Risk Analysis; Entrepreneurship; Finance and Economics; Human Resource Management; International Business; Management; Marketing; Media, Entertainment and Communications; Operations Management; Real Estate and Social Enterprise. 

Specialized programs such as entrepreneurship, real estate, social enterprise and media, entertainment and communications provide students the opportunity to focus on cutting-edge issues that are evolving day by day. Dual-degree programs with other graduate programs within the University are also an option for students whose interests span several fields.

What makes Columbia unique amongst business schools?

Columbia Business School is one of the most selective business schools in the world. Columbia MBA students enjoy regular access to international business leaders and enjoy life in a vibrant metropolis, New York City, a cultural capital and global business center. 

Columbia is one of the most heterogeneous of leading business schools in professional background, international representation and individual demographics. Students often remark that one of the key strengths of the MBA program is that they learn as much from their classmates as from their professors. 

As part of an Ivy League university, Columbia Business School students also gain from the University''s renowned intellectual capital and cutting-edge faculty research. Sixty-four Nobel Prize winners have taught or studied at Columbia, including current Business School faculty member Joseph Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001.

What are the benefits of your location?

Columbia Business School has benefited from being in the most dynamic, hottest growth city in the world in terms of talent, New York City. New York is a major capital of industry, finance and fashion, media and high tech, arts and entertainment, real estate and manufacturing. With thousands of multinational companies, a diverse real-estate market and the major stock, bond and commodity exchanges, the city is a living laboratory for the Columbia community. 

Our capacity to connect the school with the city and bridge theory with real world practitioners has been very successful. Hundreds of prominent business people come to campus each year as teachers, speakers, adjunct lecturers and advisors. 

New York is also home to numerous Columbia Business School alumni, who welcome MBA students into their professions and wide-ranging networks. Thousands of them are just a subway ride away and thousands more span the globe, acting as resources for students in every career path. 

I just want to make a note of our alumni, the alumni network at Columbia Business School is extraordinary and extremely involved with the School. Some 3,000 alumni in 59 countries and 42 states interviewed more than half of the applicant pool in 2001. Alumni participate in the life of the School by serving as guest lecturers, working with students on class projects and speaking at student club events throughout the year. Students can find Columbia Business School graduates in virtually any field at almost any time.

What are the characteristics you are looking for in MBA applicants?

Columbia Business School looks for intellectually driven, unique students from diverse educational, economic, social, ethnic and geographic backgrounds. It''s not uncommon for an incoming class to include an Olympic skier, a ballerina, a classical pianist and a mathematician. 

Recruiters from diverse industries tell us that what attracts them to Columbia MBAs is their ability to hit the ground running and contribute immediately to their organizations. Columbia MBAs excel in academics, they are global in their focus, have a sophisticated skill set and demonstrate leadership and professional abilities. 

Has the upgrade of Uris Hall and the new building you share with the law school helped you improve your space problems? 

The new business/law building has marked a tremendous improvement in space for our students. The business/law building provides a number of small and large study spaces for group projects. In addition, both the business/law building, along with Uris Hall, are equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia equipment and technology. In addition to advanced video-conferencing capabilities, every seat in the new building is wired for data and electric connectivity, enabling faculty to integrate web-based tools and realtime data into the curriculum.

What is your school doing to remain at the forefront of business and management thinking?

Columbia Business School is constantly developing and challenging current business and management thinking. In the past five years, almost 60 new faculty members, promising young academics and established leaders in their fields joined the faculty to share their expertise and inspiration with students. 

Within the last year, ethics and corporate governance have emerged as the two burning issues in management education. At Columbia, we recently formed a task force of faculty and administrators to critically evaluate the integration of ethics into our curriculum. I anticipate a report from the Committee by the end of 2002 and to have their recommendations implemented by fall 2003. 

Columbia Business School has also made strides in other areas of academic research. In the past year alone, several research centers have opened at the School including the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, the Arthur J. Samberg Institute for Teaching Excellence, the Columbia Center for Excellence in E-Business (CEBiz), and the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. These new centers join the School''s other eight established research centers in promoting ground-breaking research, publishing works in progress, and sponsoring seminars and conferences on the most pressing issues in business today.

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