Students are placed into clusters (~70 students) and are then further divided into learning teams of approximately five students from diverse backgrounds who work together throughout the core courses on group assignments; creating a family within the larger class. CBS’ core curriculum uses case-based lessons along with collaborative learning models as students master business functions and disciplines. Students who demonstrate proficiency in a subject area are eligible to replace core classes with electives.
Approximately 30% of CBS students are on the J-term schedule which begins in January and provides for a faster experience through CBS in 16 months total by starting later and eliminating the summer internship to reduce opportunity cost of being out of the workforce. August-entry students can take as few as 12 credits or up to 18 credits per term and can have up to 6 credits from other Columbia graduate programs, Independent Study, Global Business Project, or a Cross-Cultural Seminar. Classes are typically held Monday through Thursday with Fridays left open so that students can have in-semester internships.
CBS uses its location at the center of business to offer Immersion Seminars that give students the opportunity to apply their classroom learning in the real world. Topics for the seminars range from deep dives into data analytics, entrepreneurship, brand experience, innovation and more. Started in 2015, the Immersion Seminars allow CBS students to apply their classroom knowledge to issues presented by current C-suite executives each week. This unparalleled access to companies such as Google, Tiffany and Company and Morgan Stanley gives students an experience they would be hard-pressed to find at any other top business school.
Another feature of the CBS curriculum launched in 2006 are Master Classes, which are project-based experiential learning opportunities for students in their second year. They offer an opportunity to apply the core concepts learned in the prior year to real-world business problems. Master Classes are typically more intensive than the regular class as they require work both inside and outside the classroom. Teams of 3-6 second year MBA students are matched to a project sponsor who provides them guidance and support throughout the semester as well as experienced faculty. In Fall 2016, the Master Class “Retailing: The Design & Marketing of Luxury Products” taught by Ketty Maisonrouge (Adjunt Professor, KM&Co.) case studies were created specifically for the class by companies such as Carolina Herrera, Maclaren and Oscar de la Renta.
CBS curriculum offers career-focused paths which give students an in-depth look at industries and functions in a more holistic view, combining courses from multiple departments. Some examples of these pathways include Entrepreneurship (through the famous Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center), Health and Pharmaceutical Management, and the Media and Technology Program. Other resources include the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise and the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing and the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate give students an established network of faculty, advisors and students to get an in-depth look at their interests and learn from practitioners share their experiences to the classroom.