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By Marian Dent, JD., Esquire

In November of this year, Emily Buckley, admissions representative from Columbia Business School, came to speak to students of Pericles American Business and Legal Education Project. Ms. Buckley stressed the advantages of Columbia and explained what Columbia was looking for in potential students from Russia. She then answered questions over a wine and cheese reception.

Columbia is in the advantageous position of being located in the heart of New York City, the financial capitol of the United States. This, for a business student, gives some unique and strategic advantages. First, Columbia has a built in pool of talent to enlist in helping to teach students practical skills. Lets face it, the world’s top financial professionals are located in New York, and many are willing to come and speak, and even give courses at Columbia.

The second advantage to Columbia’s New York location is the proximity of potential employers. Whereas students from less well located schools have to wait until employers visit the campus, at Columbia the employers are close enough that they are there all the time. This gives Columbia students an edge in the employment process, as well as a better chance at working during business school. Also, Columbia has numerous alumni who have remained in the New York area and who hire and support students from their alma mater.

Of course, there are some negatives about Columbia and its New York location. First, you will face a higher cost of living in New York than in, for instance, Michigan. You should be aware of the high cost and prepare in advance. Also, housing is tight around Columbia, it’s hard to keep and drive a car, and the pace of New York can be frantic and overwhelming to some. But you have theater, you have museums and some of the world’s top restaurants and clubs. People of all nationalities and interests live in the city. There is something for everyone. “Definitely you won’t be bored at Columbia!” Ms. Buckley emphasized.

Of course, this isn’t to say that Columbia only attracts students wanting to live and work in New York. Columbia is one of the “Ivy Leagues” the oldest American colleges whose alumni include some of the world’s leaders. Graduates of Columbia business school can be found all over the world.

Applicants to Columbia also come from all over the world. In fact, Columbia is one of the most popular business schools to which Russian students apply. The University’s strong departments of international studies, and programs such as the Harriman Institute, which has for years provided some of the United State’s top specialists on Russia, have caused Columbia’s name to be especially well known here. This causes a spill over effect of increased applications from Russia.

So how do you get an edge above the other Russian applicants to Columbia? As one student asked, “What is it that the admissions office wants to see from us?” Ms. Buckley stressed that a background with a prominent Western employer, while good, is not as important to Columbia as is an application that shows that the student is unique and talented. “Make your essays interesting,” she stressed “let us see who you really are.” The admissions staff reads through thousands of application essays, and those that catch someone’s interest, that stand out as showing a student with unique experience and talents, or that catch the readers’ eyes as being from likeable, well rounded and interesting people, are more likely to be accepted.

“Columbia is seeking a cohesive group of good students, with a range of talents and abilities,” says Buckley. “I think our student body is one of our greatest assets.” Showing yourself as someone who will fit into the challenging learning environment, as someone who will make friends and get along with classmates, is of key importance to being admitted. You can be brilliant, but if you can’t get along with people or if you are boring, you won’t succeed in business, and you won’t get into Columbia.

Marian Dent received her law degree from California Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and the dean of Pericles ABLE (American Business and Legal Education) in Moscow. Pericles offers a full MBA advising program. In addition to being the dean she also teaches essay writing, the Logic portion of the GMAT, Law Courses, Resume' Writing, Interviewing Skills, and a host of other courses. For more information about theses courses or any other course that we offer please contact Pericles ABLE Project at: 292-5188/6463.

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