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Coronavirus Impact on B-schools, MBA applications: 6 Things You Need to Know

Last updated on April 29th, 2020

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Until a few months ago, we were unaware of the term “Coronavirus”. Now it is probably the most commonly used word in a person’s day-to-day conversations. You are here on this page because you want to know all about the Coronavirus impact on B-schools and MBA applications. And this is an article that’s going to give you the facts as it is, no sugarcoating here.

So, what is the extent of the global pandemic’s impact on B-school applications and admissions for 2020? What are the changes you, as an MBA aspirant, should expect due to the current lockdown conditions across the countries? We will discuss all of this and more in this article.

The global pandemic is said to have an impact on the world economy and it has already impacted the education sector abroad and in India. We have had some of our students reach out to us with several doubts pertaining to their MBA applications during this uncertain time.

Here’s what we think about the current MBA scenario: If you are somebody who has been planning to do an MBA this year, you should definitely go for it. This is the right time for you to acquire knowledge. You will graduate when the economic issues that we face right now are over and you will be able to be a part of a flourishing job market. 

Let us take another scenario – If you are someone who has lost their job recently, this is a good opportunity to invest in yourself. So, utilize this time to acquire more knowledge, garner new skills and get ready to be back in business in a couple of years’ time.

In this article, we share the most relevant information related to the impact of Coronavirus on B-school admissions, MBA applications and of course, the GMAT centres.

To give you an idea, here are the topics that we will be covering in this article:

1. What is the Coronavirus impact on GMAT test centres and exams?

2. What is the Coronavirus impact on B-school applications and joining dates?

3. What is the Coronavirus impact on the number of B-school applicants?

4. What is the Coronavirus impact on B-school waitlists this year?

5. What is the Coronavirus impact on B-school student VISA applications?

6. What is the Coronavirus impact on upcoming B-school classes?

Before we delve into the article, here’s something that you might want to look at. If you are someone who has completed your MBA and wondering what to do next or someone who is pursuing your MBA, here’s What to Do After an MBA. If you are someone who is about to submit your MBA applications, we would like to say that there is no harm in planning your career ahead and we would suggest that you read the article to know everything about becoming a marketing manager.

Now, let’s get into the details of each of the points mentioned above without wasting any time.

1. What is the Coronavirus impact on
GMAT test centres and exams?

We know that most of the GMAT centers across the world are shut now owing to the Coronavirus outbreak. So then, how will you take the test? The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the owner and administrator of the GMAT has come up with an online GMAT exam alternative that you can take from home.

If you are planning to take the Online GMAT exam, here’s All You Need to Know About the Interim GMAT Exam You Can Take from Home!

The GMAC came up with this alternative exam to ensure that the B-school admission process for 2020 takes place without any issues. And the online exam will definitely help to make the process easier to some extent.

B-schools have gone ahead to state that they will not devalue the online GMAT exam scores of the students.

At the same time, there are a few B-schools who have stated that they are waiving off any standardized test scores, at least for now. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and the Wharton University of Pennsylvania are two out of the few B-schools that have waived off any standardized test scores for Round 3 applicants to their MBA programs.

But, most of these B-schools expect their prospective students to sit for the exams and submit their standardized test scores after they are admitted. So, do go through every point mentioned in your preferred B-school’s website to be clear about the application process and profile evaluation.

With all the Coronavirus chaos, you must be wondering whether it is a good time to apply for your MBA. We had a Wharton graduate, Aruna Prabhakaran, discuss this in our webinar – MBA During Recession: Is it a Good Choice? Watch the full webinar to make an informed decision regarding your MBA application.

2. What is the Coronavirus impact on
B-school applications and joining dates?

A number of B-schools have extended their application dates for their prospective students in order to get a larger pool of MBA applicants for 2020. If you check out Wharton’s MBA application updates website page, you will see that they have extended the Round 3 application deadline to April 15, 2020, and their Advance Access Program deadline to May 27, 2020.

The decision to extend MBA application deadlines has been taken by the B-schools based on the concerns raised by several students who wish to pursue their MBA in these renowned universities and in the light of the current Coronavirus situation.

If the deadlines have been extended, what happens to the joining dates? They get shifted too. If you look at the FAQ page on the Kellogg School of Management website, you will get to see that the students have to now report at the campus for the 1Y/MMM program on July 15, 2020. Their classes will begin only on July 20, 2020. Many other universities have delayed their course start dates too.

Also read: Top 10 One-Year MBA Programs in the US

Now that travel is restricted, the MBA candidate interviews will be conducted virtually. In some cases, the universities are ready to provide an interview waiver. But this decision will probably be taken based on a case to case basis.

Note: While there is a change in the Round 3 application deadlines and the course start dates, the application dates for the next academic year remain the same as of now.

3. What is the Coronavirus impact on
the number of B-school applicants?

Before the GMAC came up with the new online GMAT solution, we thought that the number of MBA applicants would go down drastically.

The number of applications from a few countries — Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Slovenia — might still go down. This is because the GMAC could not implement the online GMAT exam option in these countries due to their local data privacy issues.

On the other hand, we also feel that the number of students trying to apply to B-schools might increase due to the looming global recession. We have always seen that people invest in themselves when there is a cold job market out there. This can be expected even now. This is the time when people try to upskill so that they are ready to re-enter the job market once the economy is flourishing.

Also read: Top 7 Reasons to Do an MBA

We do not yet have a lot of details regarding the number of applications received by the B-schools in Round 3 or Round 4. But, as mentioned earlier, the universities are also trying to extend their deadlines so as to receive more applications. Despite the crisis, the B-schools focus on the quality of their prospective students.

4. What is the Coronavirus impact on
B-school waitlists this year?

B-schools might hold bigger waitlists this year. Now, you must be wondering why. The three points mentioned below will answer your question:

     i. International students might not be able to get VISAs due to the lockdown situation

     ii. Students might not want to begin their classes online

     iii. People who have already invested in B-school admissions might no longer be able to afford it

Due to the aforementioned points, the B-schools are expecting at least a few admitted students to drop out, giving the prospective students in the waiting list a chance to join them. The MBA programs have to take place irrespective of whether the admitted students drop out. So, if you apply this year and get waitlisted, the chances of getting the admit looks higher than usual.

But we would like to tell you that if you get waitlisted, do keep in touch with the respective B-school waitlist manager. They will be able to tell you whether you have a chance of getting into your dream B-school this year.

Now, what should you do if another B-school confirmed your admission?

You have two options: You can either share some important achievement with the university that waitlisted you and increase your chances of getting admitted or you can make the deposit in the B-school that confirmed your admit. You should think well before making this decision.

5. What is the Coronavirus impact on
B-school student VISA applications?

You would have come across the VISA issue for international students in the previous point. So, let us say that you are a student from India. If you get admitted to your dream school in America now, it is not necessary that you get a VISA. Due to the COVID-19 situation, there might be certain VISA restrictions that have been imposed by the country.

This is applicable to any student trying to travel to another country for their higher education. But this need not stop you from applying to any of the B-schools in your own country.

Let us say that your admission has been confirmed by a B-school and that you are to join them in August. If the Coronavirus situation does not get better by then and you are unable to join, you will have two options to choose from:

     i. Attend the first few months of college online – You don’t need any VISA for it (More about this in the next point)

     ii. Defer your MBA program – You can apply for the VISA later (But you might want to read the details below now)

Now, you need to know that there are two types of deferring — voluntary and involuntary. If you are in a position where there is no way you can join the course due to the VISA issue, you can inform the university and most probably defer. In the involuntary deferral scenario, the college might ask you to defer.

The university’s acceptance of your request to defer might be impacted by the reason for your request. If you request a deferral because you can no longer afford it or because you don’t want to start your session online, the university might accept it but it is not necessary that they hold your spot.

6. What is the Coronavirus impact on upcoming B-school classes?

We know that you must have been confused when we said, “…start your session online…” in the previous point. Yes, the B-schools might start their upcoming session online if the students are unable to travel to the campus at the starting time. This too depends on the B-school. You might want to clarify this with the admissions committee before you decide to join.

Online class is, in fact, a great alternative as a lot of people are now working online from home. They have gotten used to attending meetings over video calls and making submissions or presentations online.

But when it comes to MBA classes online, you really cannot be sure whether it can match the in-person experience. The B-schools might also be going online full-fledged for the first time. So there will definitely be hiccups before they master the online teaching technique.

But the B-schools will definitely move back to their classroom schedule as soon as the Coronavirus situation is under control and when it is safe for students to move out. 

So, if you are applying for an MBA this year, you might want to get ready to attend your initial sessions online. Also, the first semester could be shorter with a condensed version of the course as the classes might begin a little late.

We know that you must have been holding yourself back from your MBA applications as you did not have clarity on the above-mentioned points. Now that you know all about the Coronavirus impact on B-schools and MBA applications, you can go ahead and make an informed decision.

If you are trying to apply for an MBA and you want to know how good your profile is, you can talk to the expert and get their feedback. They will also guide you on how to build your profile so that you get admitted into your dream B-school!

Also read: Improving your MBA profile – 40 ways to an awesome MBA application!

And if you are looking to prepare for the GMAT from home, we would like to let you know that you can join our Live at Home Mastery Program in which you get to attend 80 hours of classes during the weekends and get the benefit of being handed over a structured study plan! Our GMAT experts are always coming up with ways to help you out, isn’t it?

Our students came to us, seeking clarity on the aspects pertaining to the MBA applications and we think that we have cleared it. Now, if you have any questions that you think we missed out, leave them in the comments below and we will try and help you out.