Columbia University School of Professional Studies

We are currently witnessing an unprecedented era of globalization and interconnectedness. Unlike any other time in history, we can wake up in New York City, hold video conferences with others in China and Egypt, and have dinner to close a deal with someone in Paris, all within the light of a single day. Today, the shoes that we wear, the cellphones that we rely so much upon, and the watches that adorn our wrists are manufactured, assembled, and composed of elements that come from all over the world in a tremendously complex supply chain process invisible for most of us, yet, existing.

Globalization has also led to significant advancements in transportation infrastructure, making international travel more accessible and faster. While this global interconnectedness brings many remarkable benefits, it also presents complications, as we’ve seen with global pandemics like COVID-19. Due to our current connectedness, the virus managed to spread rapidly from Asia to America in a matter of weeks. According to the World Health Organization, the first case of what would later be identified as COVID-19 was recorded in December 2019 (2020), and the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was registered on January 20, 2020 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). In contrast, the Black Death in 1347 took six years to traverse the European continent (Ord, 2022). This accelerated spread of pandemics is attributed to the higher population density and rapid long-distance transport in our interconnected world (Ord, 2022).

Globalization and interconnectedness also impact the labor market, which is the focus of this article. Over the years, the percentage of the US population graduating from college has significantly increased, as shown by the table below.

In 1960, only 7.7% of the population held college degrees, while by 2022, this figure rose to 37.5% (Statista. 2020). This shows that with the passing of time, more and more generations realized the broader range of opportunities that holding a degree brings and opted to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. Naturally, this growth in the number of college graduates, coupled with the influx of highly capable professionals from around the world, has intensified competition in the job market.

However, all is not lost. Professionals can improve their job prospects in this competitive environment by standing out from their peers. This could be achieved for example by graduating from renowned institutions like Ivy League schools, and holding advanced degrees, such as master’s and Ph.D. degrees.

Columbia University (CU) plays a significant role in this context. Known for its stringent admissions criteria and as one of the Ivy League schools, CU is dedicated to academic excellence and offers graduate and undergraduate programs of the highest quality. Such is the case of the programs offered by the School of Professional Studies (SPS). SPS is one of CU’s 21 schools and it offers 18 master’s programs, spanning fields such as construction, risk management, data analytics, human resources, negotiation and conflict resolution, and more. These programs aim to equip students with the unique skills and knowledge to excel in a competitive job market. Here is a list of the 18 programs offered by the SPS with a corresponding link in case you want to delve deeper into them.

Columbia University SPS’s Master’s Degrees

  1. Actuarial Science.
  2. Applied Analytics.
  3. Bioethics.
  4. Construction Administration.
  5. Enterprise Risk Management.
  6. Human Capital Management.
  7. Information & Knowledge Strategy (IKNS).
  8. Insurance Management.
  9. Narrative Medicine.
  10. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.
  11. Nonprofit Management.
  12. Political Analytics.
  13. Sports Management.
  14. Strategic Communication.
  15. Sustainability Management.
  16. Sustainability Science.
  17. Technology Management.
  18. Wealth Management.

Regarding the element of competitiveness and the solutions to overcome it, CU and SPS are working diligently to develop programs that distinguish themselves in terms of content, structure, and faculty, proudly showcasing the committed students who aspire to reach greater heights. As of Fall 2023, SPS boasts an enrollment of 3,553 MS/MPS students, and since 2020, it has conferred degrees upon over 10,000 individuals who sought to stand out. SPS remains dedicated to producing graduates who not only excel academically but are also equipped to thrive and distinguish themselves in a highly competitive environment.

Here at the Career Design Lab (CDL) of CU, we engage in collaborations with employers both in the US and across the globe because we believe in the value that companies bring to foster the growth and fulfillment of individuals. We also believe in the potential of our students, who deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their worth and apply their mindset of excelling and achieving greatness through their dedicated efforts.

By writing these words I don’t mean to discourage or cause concern about the complexities of securing a job in today’s competitive world. On the contrary, it aims to highlight the existence of opportunities and ways to stand out and achieve personal, professional, and academic success in this globalized world. It seeks to encourage students to obtain more academic grounding and to aim for excellence. Employers who are recruiting professionals from all over the world are also encouraged to look for overachievers because those are the ones who won’t settle for good and will aim for great, and CU is definitely a place where you’d find them.

If you want to learn more about what we do at CDL, Columbia University and the SPS, please visit:

Columbia University Schools:




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). CDC COVID-19 Timeline.,respond%20to%20the%20emerging%20outbreak.

Ord, T. (2022). The Precipice. Hachette Books.

Statista. (2020). Educational Attainment in the U.S. Statista.

World Health Organization. (2020, April 27). WHO Timeline – COVID-19.—covid-19

By Gonzalo Miranda Madrigal
Gonzalo Miranda Madrigal Industry Relations Specialist