Q&A about Columbia's J-Term Program
- Posted on [February 28, 2009 ] @ 5:45 pm
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I’ve had a few people contact me with related questions about J-Term, so I thought it would be useful to post my answers here. These questions were sent to me by Jose, who posted a comment comment on an earlier post.
1. Â Do you anticipate any changes to the January Program in terms of format/structure and class size?
I don’t expect any significant changes, but you should probably ask an AdCom. The curriculum was just updated in the fall of ’08 to provide a smaller, more focused, and more flexible set of core classes. I am a big fan of the flexcore, where students get to choose one course from each of the following categories: Markets, Organizations, and Performance. These category titles are vague, so click thru to see the flexcore offerings here .
2. Â What would you say is the most important thing the CBS AdCom is looking for in a J-Term applicant? Â Besides a solid GPA, GMAT, and work experience, what do you recommend one can do to really enhance his candidacy to the J-Term program?
Most importantly, I think applicants need to explain why the structure and schedule of the J-Term program makes more sense for them than the fall-term program. For example, J-Termers don’t have a summer internship, so an applicant will want to demonstrate how they will be successful without that.
3. Â What kind of academic changes are happening at CBS as a result of the financial crisis?
I don’t see any significant changes to course structure or material, but I do see a major effort to provide more support for the job search. The career management center is really working overtime right now. They are hosting frequent sessions where you can do mock interviews and get resume feedback from career coaches, most of whom are CBS grads in your field of interest. Another great resource is Executives in Residence Program where you can grab lunch with former execs who are more than happy to provide career advice. For example, I went to lunch a few weeks ago with Rich Zannino, who was the CEO of Dow Jones when they negotiated their sale to Rupert Murdoch.
4. Â What percentage of J-Term students are getting job offers?
That’s hard for me to say since I don’t know that many second year J-Termers. Although, of the handful that I know well, a couple have already accepted offers (which is pretty good considering it’s still February).
5. Â What is the current hiring situation for J-Term students?
Again, it’s hard for me to give an accurate estimate of hiring stats. However, given the weak job market, a lot of people are rethinking their career options and considering going into other fields that that will give them experience and skills that will help them reach their long-term goals. I actually think this may be a good thing for a lot of people who would have jumped on the ibanking bandwagon, as it forces you to be creative in both identifying and capturing the opportunity that interests you.
6. Â Do you anticipate a decrease in international applicants to the J-Term Program because of the lack of the no co-signer loans, tighter financing, and tighter work visas in the U.S.? Â Do you anticipate competition in general will be extremely high for this year’s J-Term applicant pool?
I have heard that the financial aid office is working hard to address the financing issue for international students. You should definitely follow up with them to get more info.
Another concern for international students (who want to work in the US after school) is the limitation of H-1B visas for firms that receive TARP funds. I know the school is working to get clarification from key recruiting partners to find out what effect this may have on future recruiting. Since the school doesn’t have further info on this yet (the bill was just passed about a week ago), I’d suggest following up with then in a couple of weeks.
As for competition for next year’s class, a lot of people expect the applicant pool to increase, especially as more people find themselves out of work. That’s just how it has worked historically, as you probably know. That said, if you’re ready for business school and really think J-Term is the best fit, I wouldn’t let the size of the applicant pool discourage you.