Anam Shams

Columbia University Video Interview Questions

"Hey guys, I was researching a bit about the Columbia vide interview questions for the MS programs and I have come across some of the following: 1. Why did you select this course for your Master's? 2. Why do you want to study this course from Columbia University? 3. What do you aim to accomplish from this MS program and Columbia? 4. Describe a hurdle you faced and how did you overcome it? 5. Tell us about when you took a leadership role. 6. Do you prefer individual or group projects? And why? 7. Tell us about a professional or academic mentor you had and what did you learn from them? 8. Describe a time when you had to take an immediate decision and how did you go about it? 9. What is something not present on your application but you would like to discuss? 10. What are your career goals? Please add to it if you guys have any more insights."

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Arjun Aravind

Hey, I found a post on reddit that includes your questions and many more. I think these interviews (especially for MS) is to know more about you, and understand you as a person. They want to see if you are a good fit for their program as well. So here are the questions: 1)Why did you apply to Columbia and this program specifically? 2)Why do you want to pursue a master's degree in chemical engineer... See more


Mohammad Sabih

don't learn the interview, the questions would be totally abrupt and they're just meant to test your english, you just have to be confident and not speak crap. I was asked the following: 1. what does integrity mean to you? 2. which is the last movie you saw and what did you like about it? 3. why columbia? See more

Enter a Search Term

What do you mean there's a video essay.

In almost every information session or meeting with a student, I always feel the mood shift when I mention that SIPA has a video essay component. Students get super nervous about the idea of this being part of the application. I'm completely aware that the type of student who is applying for SIPA is one that likes to prepare in advance before submitting an assessment however in the case of the SIPA video essay, there are very little ways to prepare. I know, I know.. it sounds stressful but I promise you it's not! We are not here to fool you. Let's talk more about what the video essay actually is.

What is the video essay?

The video essay is the final component of the SIPA application. You can only access the video essay only after you submit your application and pay the application fee. We will give you a random prompt and you'll have 60 seconds to think of your answer and 90 seconds to record your answer, then you're done! No reshoots, one and done.

Ok, Brianne.. that sounds intimidating. How can I prepare?

Well candidates, to be honest, it's very hard to prepare for this. The actionable items I tell students they can do is make sure you are in a quiet space and you test your audio/visual settings prior to beginning. The prompt is random so you won't know in advance what you will get. My best advice is treat this like you're going on a first date; have good eye contact, talk clearly, go in with the mindset of wanting the admissions committee to get a sense of your personality, and do the best to your ability. Ultimately, this prompt is just like a conversation between us on the admissions side and you. There's no expectation to be an expert on the question you're given so I think it's most important to just relax and be yourself. The best video essays are the ones that come across as conversations rather than speaking as if you're reading off a piece of paper. Also, unlike a first date, no need to get dressed up!

So I've submitted my application and paid the fee, I now have my video prompt. What are your tips in the 60 second prep time?

First, take a deep breathe and read the question. As I mentioned before, it's not a prompt that is meant to stump you. These prompts can be anything from policy-based, political, opinion, behavioral, etc. so it should not be out of your subject zone. Remember, you only have 60 seconds to think of your answer so use your time wisely, but know it's not expected that you're going to have every single piece of thought ready for this. I see many students who are trying to cram so much information into the video, especially when it's a policy driven prompt. Sometimes less is more, and I feel that can definitely be the case with the video essay. If it's a question about yourself, don't overthink it. I think the utmost important thing to remember is there is no "right" answer for these prompts. I said it before but use your 60 seconds wisely; create a structure with the prompt you have been given; maybe you have some buzz words you write down that want to remember when you're speaking. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish in 60 seconds!

My prep time is done. It's time for the 90 seconds. Any advice?

One thing that's important to share is that there will be no sound or light alerting you that your 90 seconds has started so be aware of your time. Right before it starts, take a deep breathe and remember what I shared above. One personal recommendation is to use the first five seconds of your time to introduce yourself "Hi, my name is", and start going into your prompt. I think one of the worst things students can do is clearly be reading their notes word for word on the screen in front of them. Remember, this should be conversational - we don't want it to feel rehearsed but instead more natural. It's ok to have notes, as mentioned maybe some buzz words to remember, but please do not spend the whole time reading off of something. If you experience technical difficulties during your video essay, reach out to the Office of Admission for assistance. 

It's done. Now what?

You're officially done with the application - woohoo! Please take a moment to be so proud of yourself; it can be daunting applying to graduate schools, especially if you've been out of undergraduate for a while. If you're worried that you did terrible or wish that you could redo it, remember that this only one component of your application; SIPA takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications meaning we take a very thorough review of all aspects of your application. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about admissions, can i submit application materials through an agent or third-party vendor.

No. The admissions policy requires that you submit all materials aside from recommendation letters yourself, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the sole exception of submissions by the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies: IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST; by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD); and Vietnam Education Fund (VEF). All application materials including statements of purpose and video essays must be your own words and ideas. Applicants found in violation of admissions policy are inadmissible.

Which transcripts should I submit if I attended multiple universities?

Applicants must upload a transcript from each institution attended. If any of your post-secondary coursework is from an institution outside of the United States, you are required to submit all international post-secondary coursework to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation.

My credits were transferred to my home school, do you still need a transcript from that institution?

You would not need to provide transcripts for institutions where you completed a total of 11 credits or less (on a traditional U.S. credit system) outside of your degree granting institution and those credits appear on your degree granting institution transcript.

Is the GRE/GMAT required?

GRE/GMAT is not required upon application submission, however, standardized exams are a useful indicator of academic ability and applicants are strongly encouraged to consider submitting scores to further support their candidacy and strengthen their application.

Do I need to submit TOEFL/IELTS?

Fall 2023 applicants and later:

If your first or native language is not English, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS Academic unless both of the following are true:

* the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution is English, and * and you completed your entire undergraduate degree in English.

Does Columba SPS accept the at-home version of the GRE and TOEFL/IELTS?

Yes, Columbia SPS currently accepts the at-home version of the GRE and TOEFL/IELTS.

Can both of my recommendation letters be professional?

All applicants are required to submit at least one academic reference, unless that applicant received a bachelor’s degree more than 5 years prior to the date of application. Your application will be considered incomplete and ineligible for review if it is missing the required academic reference.

I am a current undergraduate senior. Am I eligible to apply for this program?

Yes, to be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the date on which they will enroll at Columbia SPS. Applicants providing in-progress coursework for admissions consideration are required to provide a final transcript showing all grades and the conferral of a bachelor’s degree.

Can you send me a new link so I can record my video essay again?

Applicants are not allowed to re-record their video essay, unless they experienced a technical error, which is confirmed by the committee. To ensure successful submission of the video essay, our team has provided the following suggestions:

Should you still encounter difficulties, feel free to contact us.

After submitting my application, when will I receive a decision?

Once your application is submitted and all application materials (including recommendation letters) are received, it can take roughly 6–8 weeks for a decision to be posted to your account. 

How do I apply to defer my admission?

We strongly recommend that you apply for the term to which you plan to enroll. If you are admitted to the program and encounter exceptional circumstances that will prevent you from enrolling, you may submit a deferral request. Please email erm [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu with your request, and include the reason you are seeking a deferral. Please note, it is not guaranteed your request will be approved.

Questions about the M.S. Program

May i speak with a faculty member, current student or alum.

Yes, if you are interested in speaking with a faculty member, current student or alum of the program, please email erm [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] edu .

Are students able to complete the program online?

Yes, the M.S. in Enterprise Risk Management program can be completed entirely online. Please note that this is a synchronous program, requiring you to log in to class at the given class time.

When are courses held?

Most courses are held Monday through Thursday, either from 6:00–8:00 p.m. or 8:00–10:00 p.m. All listed times are in Eastern Time (ET). Courses typically meet once per week.

How long does it take to complete the degree?

The average full-time student completes the degree in three terms (16 months). The average part-time student completes the degree in six terms (3 years).

How many courses do students take per term?

The average full-time student takes four courses per term. The average part-time student takes two courses per term .

What is the average class size?

The average class size is 30 students.

What is the student to faculty ratio?

The student to lecturer ratio is about 28:1. Most ERM courses have at least one associate supporting the lecturer. Associates are working professionals or ERM graduates who are working full-time. The student to lecturer/associate ratio is about 13:1. 

Which kinds of jobs do students get after obtaining their M.S. in Enterprise Risk Management?

The M.S. in Enterprise Risk Management program accepts students with varying degrees of work experience, and depending on the level of work experience you are entering the program with, you can expect different job outcomes. For students with less work experience, some sample job outcomes are:

For students with more work experience, some sample job outcomes include:

What career services are available to students?

The Career Design Lab supports current students and alumni with individualized career coaching, including career assessment, resume & cover letter writing, agile internship/job search strategy, personal branding, interview skills, career transitions, salary negotiations and more.

Do students complete internships?

Students are able to complete internships for credit. Students must have completed two full semesters in order to take an internship for credit. Students must find their own internship and have it approved by the program before eligibility to enroll in the ERM Internship course is granted.

What is the total cost of the M.S. program?

You can find the latest tuition information here .

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Request Information

Stay in the know with updates sent straight to your inbox.


Columbia MS Online Video Interview Questions

columbia university sps video essay questions

Hi all! I thought this might be helpful for those applying to Columbia's MS programs. Once you've completed you application, you are prompted to do a recorded online interview. I saw a lot of people (including myself) lurking around for pointers as to what these questions could be, thus the idea of compiling what I've found for those who might still need them. Cheers and best of luck to everyone!

P.S. I know this list isn't going to be exhaustive, but hopefully it'll chill some nerves off of some folks (it did for me) just to understand the nature of the questions.

Why did you apply to Columbia and this program specifically?

Why do you want to pursue a master's degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University?

Why did you choose this course for masters?

Why this course at Columbia?

Why Columbia engineering?

Why do you want to pursue a master’s degree in CS from Columbia University?

What does integrity mean to you?

What do you think about New York?

What was your most recent work experience like?

He was asked about his programming experience.

What was a course that you took in college that had a deep impact on you?

Which was your favorite CS class and how did it challenge you?

What are ethics, according to you?

What does he think about ethics?

Describe a time when you pushed yourself forward.

What makes you unique?

What research are you most interested in among the research activities being undertaken at Columbia? (You can mention a professor whose research you are interested in.)

What do you want to do/plan to do after obtaining a master's degree?

Why did you choose this course in undergraduate school?

Why did she choose civil engineering during her bachelors and why does she want to go for construction management?

How do you plan to fund your study and stay in the US?

How do you intend to finance your master's degree?

How do you rank Columbia among other universities you applied to?

How do you rank Columbia among the other universities you applied to?

If admitted, how likely are you to attend Columbia University?

Any questions he wants to ask to the team?

Tell us what you know about our faculty and our staff?

What are the skills required to become a successful entrepreneur?

Which is the one policy you conform to but did not agree with and why?

If you could travel anywhere for a week, where would you go and why?

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I applied to a different program and they just asked "What are characteristics of someone who is successful within this discipline?" Don't stress about this. It's a minute long, there won't be any wrong answers. I don't think this is a make or break factor in nearly anyone's application.

Thanks a ton dude!!

How much do you think it matters ?????? Please reply anyone

I applied for the MSCS program and got the following questions:

Tell us about a major accomplishment and how you achieved it.

Do you prefer individual or group projects? Why?

What are three qualities that your best friend would use to describe you?

We need more chemists and biologists to tackle Covid and other such viruses.

what do you plan on gaining from this programe

describe an obstacle you faced.

tell us about a time you assumed leadership role

u/mrimat01 I hope you got into your top target program. I have a question about the video interview for Columbia MSCS. Those 3 questions are all you were being asked? Was that short?

I applied for MSDS for fall 22 and these are my questions:

What makes an ideal learning environment

What do you think would be the next society-changing technological innovation

What do you do for fun

Mine were :

-Tell us about a time you had a number of assignments due. How did you make sure you completed all of them on time and did a good job?

-Tell us about an academic or professional mentor you have had. What are some things you learned from them?

-If you were to enter an academic/career path entirely unrelated to science and engineering, what would it be and why?

I just did a STUPID MISTAKE. I didnt realize it’ recording and i clicked stop. The video was only for 6sec. And automatically submitted for admission. FML..... i sent the school email about it. Any hope?????????

How did it turn out?

Try emailing them

How did this turn out? I just did the same!

OP and the folks under this thread are amazing. All the best to you guys and the students that are preparing on these questions :)

applied for masters in comp sci and my three questions were:

what i the greatest contribution you made to your school

what doe it mean to think critically

what i an obstacle you have overcome

(you see all three question at the same time, get 90 sec to think, and 180 sec to answer all three - it goes by fast, so make sure you get around to answering each question!)

I applied for the MS in CS program and my questions were

What skills do you expect to gain from this graduate program?

How do I evaluate success?

If I could have dinner with someone (living/dead), who would that person be?

Just finished my Video Interview for the MSBA program. My questions were:-

- How do the skills and experience I possess help me to apply for the program at Columbia?

- What is your dream job?

- What is your favorite food and why?

I got the question on fav food too! Haha, I love that question

My questions on 14th Jan 2023 for MS CS program :

What is the riskiest decision you have ever taken and what was the outcome?

What does success mean to you?

If you were to enter an academic/career path entirely unrelated to science and engineering, what would it be and why?

i submitted the video but the status is awaiting? anything wrong? or it happens to everyone

Mine was like that for ~24h. Give it some time to refresh!

Same for me mate!!!

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How to ace columbia sipa's "video response" interview.


The School of international and Public Affairs (SIPA – pronounced “SEE-pa”) at Columbia University in New York City is one of the leading institutions in public administration and international affairs in the world. With research centers in Development Economics, Global Energy, Global Economic Governance, International Conflict Resolution, and War and Peace Studies, any student interested in international public policy can find a home for themselves at this Ivy League School.

Overview of the Video Response

Unlike many other graduate government programs, SIPA has included a video interview essay or “Video Response” as part of their application. The Video Response is only available to applicants on their application portal after they have submitted their application and paid the application fee.

The response is high-stakes in that you only get one 60-second opportunity to answer a random question and the question could be on ANYTHING!


What is SIPA Looking For?

The Video Response is not a job interview. It is not an opportunity for SIPA to fill-in gaps in your application, nor is it an avenue for you to learn more about SIPA. The question you answer is not one that the admissions committee serves up specifically for you after reading your application. Given that the questions asked range from softballs like “how was your summer” to real stumpers like “Would you detain or kill a terrorist suspect without a trial?” it is also not a controlled experiment to see measure the knowledge of applicants or understand how they think on their feet.

Instead, SIPA’s Video Response is a way for you to put a literal face with your application. And so you want that face to look as professional and poised as possible.

Tips for perfecting the SIPA Video Interview


1. Expect to be flustered.

The questions could be on ANYTHING. Which means the likelihood that you will prepare for exactly the right question are nil. Instead, make it your priority to practice the act of answering questions, rather than to memorize responses to specific questions.

2. Remember the 7-38-55 Rule .

Pioneered by psychology professor Albert Mehrabian at UCLA and popularized through books such as Never Split the Difference by FBI Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss, that 55% of meaning in conversation is communicated by body language, 38% by the tone of your voice, and just 7% through the actual words that come out of your mouth! There is a reason why many politicians including Donald Trump replay their TV appearances on mute – that’s how people get most of the meaning.

If you just practice the words to say, you are missing out on 93% of the meaning! Instead practice looking and sounding excited, open, and friendly by rehearsing answers to questions in front of a mirror or by video recording yourself.

3. *Lights*, Camera, Action!  

Remember that you need to set your stage. That means having good lighting (to show your face), a good camera (ideally at eye-level), and a professional non-obtrusive background. Do a screen test in different locations to find the one with the best lighting, acoustics, and ambience!

Sample questions.

For a full list, including actual questions from the past 3 years, please check out our interview prep service.

Personal Background

What are your most formative memories as a child?

What is the leadership experience at work that you are most proud of?

What is a piece of feedback you’ve gotten?

How do you think your academic and professional experience has prepared you for SIPA?

What are you looking forward to doing at SIPA?

How will being in New York City help your short term goals?


Behavioral Questions

How do you handle multi-tasking?

What are you unusually good at?

Who do you turn to for advice?

Areas of Interest

What course did you enjoy the most as an undergraduate student?

Where do you get your news?

What policy issue has changed the most in your lifetime?

Head Scratchers/ Current Events

Should government policy provide equity or opportunity?

What responsibilities do companies have to incorporate environmental sustainability into business practices?

How should western countries balance their immigration policies with the economic needs of their social safety nets?

Essay Editing

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columbia university sps video essay questions

Avoid verbal, vocal, and visual mistakes in #videoessays and #interviews

How to avoid the three most common types of #videoessay mistakes – verbal, vocal, and visual.

How can you utilize video to stand out from other applicants? I created my YouTube account in 2008. Still, it took me until 2012, four years, to figure out how to use video to differentiate myself from other admissions consultants. You don't have four years. How can you use video to stand out now?

First, please understand why schools want to see your video.

Why do schools ask for videos?

As with written essays, schools ask for video responses because they want to get to know you. The schools are seeking to see how you present yourself visually and with little time to prepare or polish answers. They are testing articulation and presence in a way that essays can’t and at much less expense than interviews. In that sense, these videos are a pre-interview screening device in addition to a way to learn more about your likes and dislikes, achievements, dreams, goals, and challenges. Schools want to accept students who reflect well on them.

How to avoid the three most common types of video essay mistakes

1. verbal mistakes (what you say).

(7% impact)

2. Vocal mistakes (how you say it)

(38% impact)

3. Visual mistakes (what you look like)

(55% impact)

Understand your impact

I recently came across a study that claims that what you say (verbal communication) only accounts for 7% of the impact of your message. Your tone of voice (vocal communication) accounts for 38% of your impact. Perhaps most surprisingly, your visual communication (non-verbal physical behavior) conveys 55% of your impact. While I cannot verify these statistics, I do know that what we say is often less important than how we say it. Others do not always perceive us the way we wish to be perceived

Verbal communication (words) = 7% impact

Vocal communication (tone of voice) = 38% impact

Visual communication (non-verbal physical behavior) = 55% impact

(found at; accessed 2015/10)

Vague answer

Describe a unique perspective, skill set, or life experience you have. Articulate how it might benefit your classmates, enhance discourse in the classroom, and/or contribute to our school community.

Unorganized answer

Unprofessional tone.

Avoid slang or profanity

Negative first impression – is your opening warm, classy, and engaging?

Always introduce yourself – opening (name and location) and closing (thank you)

Compare early VincePrep videos and more recent ones

Abrupt closing

Say something like, "Thank you for watching this video. I hope to see you on campus."

Do you sound articulate?

Minimize verbal junk

What is verbal junk?

Verbal junk includes "umm," and "uh"

Why do we use verbal junk?

We sometimes make noises to fill the silence as we think

This verbal mitake happens when are are unprepared

Why is verbal junk problematic: too many "umms" and "uhs" detract from presence. We sound unprofessional. We appear to lack confidence

Solution: think for a few seconds before you reply and then minimize pauses that we tend to fill with “umms” and “uhs”

Are you too quiet? – we cannot hear you

Be sure your room is quiet and you are loud (but not too loud)

Are you too loud?

Your voice sounds distorted, like a singer in a punk or metal band

If you can see the sound wave of voice in an audio recording software, you want to be just slightly in the red zone

Are you speaking too fast? – we cannot follow your ideas

We often speed up when unprepared

Is it possible to speak too slow?

Speak as slowly as you can (show Mr. Aluminum sample)

According to psychologists, visual communication (what you look like) accounts for more than half of the impact of your message. Is your presence weak or unconvincing? Is your physical appearance unprofessional? Are your hand gestures natural? Are you making eye contact? How are your facial expressions? Are you recording your video in the best location, with proper lighting? Is your camera placed at eye level?

Is your presence weak or unconvincing? – we cannot believe you

You look scared, not confident

Is your physical appearance unprofessional? – would we want to hire you?

Dress neatly, as you would at a job interview

Follow any dress guidelines the school provides

Women, put on light make-up and minimal jewelry. If you wonder if your attire is too revealing, it is

Men, get a haircut and shave. Trim that beard or mustache, if you have one

Never let them see you sweat

Max the AC in the room where you will record but turn off all AC / fans when recording to avoid hum

Your video is only one minute; you should be able to finish your recording before the temperature starts climbing

Bad posture – you look scared and small

Sit up straight and lean a little bit forward

Unnatural hand gestures – are you using your hands to emphasize your main points? Do you look like you are drowning?

Keep your hands in neutral position

Practice using them to emphasize certain points

Weak or inconsistent eye contact – you are not sure where to look

The little green dot is your best friend

Too much (or too little) breathing – you sound out-of-breath, and/or I can hear your exhalations

Remember to breathe naturally

Wrong facial expression – do you look like you are in pain?

Remember to smile

I know it is awkward speaking to a machine

When I record VincePrep videos, I put a photo of someone who makes me smile just above my computer’s camera

Wrong location – we can see your dirty laundry

What is a good background? Also, check continuity (a viewer of one of my HBS videos noticed the Stanford alumni directory on my bookshelf)

Wrong lighting – we cannot see your face

Grab every portable light in your apartment / office and flood your face with light. You will feel strange, but look GREAT for your audience

Have the window in front of you, not behind you

Wrong camera placement – we are looking up your nose

Place the camera at eye level

If you are using a laptop to record your video, put it on top of some large books

How to practice

When I first starting making VincePrep videos, I found the experience very unnatural. I hope I’ve improved with practice. You can too.

If you feel quite nervous about the video exercise or about speaking in public, consider joining Toastmasters and forcing yourself to speak publicly. You will improve your “presence” and gain confidence. Hopefully, you are reading this blog post months before you need to record your admissions video. If not, then please follow the steps below to practice with the time you have.

When recording your sample, put yourself in the exact setup you plan to use for the real thing.

Practice questions

What are some typical questions you can practice now? While you may not be able to prepare for a specific question, you definitely can and should prepare. Practice answering sample questions in 60 seconds or less. Then view the video. Did you avoid the verbal, vocal and visual mistakes listed above in this post? Once you have recorded a video that represents your best effort, contact your Agos Admissions Consultant to arrange a one-to-one session. Be sure to share your video as "unlisted" and include the URL in your email to your consultant. Here are a few sample questions to get you started:


What is the most interesting course you took as a student?

Why did you choose your college major?


What do you do for fun?

What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?

What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try?

If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?

If you could meet anyone (living or dead), who would it be and why?

What is your most treasured possession and why?

What invention during your lifetime has had the biggest impact on you and why?

Tell us about the most interesting place you’ve traveled to. What did you enjoy most about it?

If money was not a concern, what would you do?

What’s the best book you have ever read and why?

If you could witness any event —past present or future —what would it be?

What is the most meaningful thing anyone has done for you in your life?

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

How have you handled a difficult interaction? What did you learn from it?

What impact have you had on your co-workers?


Whom do you respect most, and why?

What is your favorite motto or quote, and why?

What inspires you?

What word describes you best and why?

Tell us about the first job you ever had.

When you have a problem, whom do you approach for advice and why?

What accomplishment are you proud of?

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Tell us about an organization or activity in which you have dedicated significant time. Why was it meaningful to you?

How have you changed in the last five years?

What risk have you taken and what did you learn?

Describe a difficult professional decision you had to make. What were the consequences, and what, if anything, did you learn?


If you could teach a class on any subject, what would it be and why?

What is one interesting thing about you that you would want your future classmates to know?

The real thing

Expect the worst. Our clients have reported system malfunctions and delays.

How to share your video

Send your Agos Admissions Consultant the link to your video. Be sure to make the video "unlisted," not "private." Please upload your video to YouTube. We recommend that you use the "Unlisted Video" setting so that only individuals who have the URL can view it. Only those who you send the link to will be able to view it. It isn't searchable. It won't be password protected but the only way it can be shared is if someone posts/shares the link applicants send, which we obviously won't be doing. Please click this link to learn more about creating “Unlisted” videos in YouTube:

Bottom line

The biggest mistake is simply not making a video. This video is an opportunity. Take it and make the most of it

Vince Critiques his own sample videos

What was well done, and what could be improved? Check the changes across four versions of my Columbia Business School essay tips recorded from 2012 to 2015.

First attempt (Jul 2012)

Link ▸

▸ Original analysis (good content)

Could be improved

▸ Very long (one hour!)

Bad body language

learning back in chair

touching face

not smiling

Second attempt (Jun 2013)

Link ▸

▸ Clear content, well structured

▸ Monotone (I sound low energy)

▸ Not smiling

▸ Not well lit

▸ Noise in the background (low grade hum probably caused by the AC unit running while I recorded the video)

Third attempt (June 2014)

Link ▸

▸ Clear content, well-structured

▸ Personal insights combined with school-specific data points

▸ Less monotone than second attempt from 2013 but still some awkward pauses

▸ Strange lighting and echo (shot at friend's apartment, not an ideal set up)

Fourth attempt (June 2015)

Link ▸

▸ Higher production value (opening music, titles)

▸ Vocal delivery sounds relatively natural, especially when compared to 2012 and 2013 videos

▸ Audio inconsistent between opening theme music and Vince's spoken words

▸ Text on screen hard to read

▸ Could have created some visual aids to demonstrate key points

Preparation for Virtual Interview

Dress professionally, and maintain good posture and body language

Position your camera a little above your eye level, leaving your head and shoulders visible and 10-20% of the top of the screen unfilled

Sit facing your light source, allowing for a clear and bright video

Minimize background distractions and outside noise

Information is subject to change. Please verify all data with the schools.

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