The focus is on teaching at three levels - business skills, decision-making & leadership
The best business schools in the world share three critical factors: ideas, talent, and network. First, you need ideas coming not just from faculty members, but also from students, and alumni - for all of them to look at the world and find better, more effective ways to manage and lead businesses. Second, a great school must have talented students, who can absorb the ideas, evaluate and know when to use those ideas, integrate and adapt to a given situation and finally implement. And third, a strong network is critical. When an alumnus says, “I graduated from Columbia,” people know s/he is an accomplished and high-quality candidate who belongs to a strong network, and this network allows a B-school to bring in top guest speakers and hire adjunct faculty members from the industry.
One way that Columbia Business School has been able to achieve its coveted reputation is by integrating lessons across disciplines. We teach our students to see the big picture and connect the dots. The focus is on teaching at three levels. The first is business skills e.g., how to calculate present value or run a regression. The second is decision-making, where the focus is on solving a problem even when it is not presented in a well defined way (like in traditional cases) or when you do not have all the information you need because in life and in business, you are not usually given all the puzzle pieces. This enables our students to ask the right questions, search for missing pieces, connect the dots and finally make a decision. And lastly, the third level is leadership.
One thing that Columbia does better than its peers is that the School is able to connect theory and practice. Our faculty is consulting, visiting and working with companies all around the world - and brings the insights into the classroom. We have a large number of adjunct faculty members who bring lessons from their professional experiences directly to students. We focus on co-teaching, in which a full-time, academic-focused faculty member teaches a course with a practitioner. And of course, Columbia’s location in the heart of New York City offers unrivaled access to top firms. If a business school is made great by how well it prepares students to lead the world they will find awaiting them after graduation, then offering tangible connections to that world – not just teaching about it – is the most important lesson of all.