COVID-19 impact on Top MBA Admissions

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Covid 19 MBA Admissions

The extended COVID-19 situation has prompted B-schools and institutions around the globe to take steps to minimise the effect on their incoming students. Almost all top MBA institutions have dedicated a section of their website for coronavirus queries and have developed a redressal system. Here is our analysis of the COVID-19 impact on Top MBA Admissions.

2022 Update: the impact of the end of COVID on MBA admissions

Now that we know COVID will end by 2022, MBA admissions will see critical changes. With people getting vaccinated and social distancing becoming less of an issue, COVID will affect MBA admissions less in 2022. With the economy back on track and travel resuming, the profile of the average MBA applicant will shift.

Here’s how COVID will impact MBA applicants post-COVID:
Remote work is no longer an excuse to quit your job. Many applicants last year cited the pandemic as a reason to leave their job. The logic was that since they weren’t in the office every day, their role must be less critical to their company. As life returns to normal and remote work is once again seen as a perk rather than a punishment, this reasoning won’t hold up any longer.

With students from all over the world stuck at home and unable to take the GMAT in person, some had no choice but to take it remotely. The result was that many schools had lowered their standards. But now the days of low GMAT scores are over. As testing centres return to normal standards; we anticipate a return to normal test-taking results.
Entrepreneurial courses will become more prevalent as students start their own businesses. This is already something that is being seen in general across economies. Students will be looking for shorter programs and more flexibility. This might mean a boost to online programs or even short-term MOOC courses. Similarly, part-time MBA programs will continue to increase in popularity.

The commencement of the epidemic coincided with the second round of applications for most universities, going into the third round. The most recent information has been regarding extensions. This has happened in two ways:

Extending Deadlines For Applications

To minimise the COVID-19 impact on Top MBA Admissions, many schools have also extended their Round 3 deadlines or the Final Deadline by a period of at least a month. And some others have introduced additional admission rounds. For example, the Tuck School of Business has not only extended their application deadline, but will also be accepting applications on a rolling basis for a one time Round 4.

The following is a list of some changed deadlines of noteworthy institutions:






Original Final Deadline COVID-19 Extended Deadline Change In Days Detail
Emory (Goizueta) March 20 July 1 101 New final round
Virginia (Darden) April 6 July 15 99 R3 extension
UNC (Kenan-Flagler) April 6 July 13 67 R4 extension
MIT (Sloan) April 9 June 15 66 R3 extension
Dartmouth (Tuck)
Johns Hopkins (Carey) April 15 July 15 61 New R4 round
Michigan (Ross) March 30 May 29 60 R3 extension
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) June 1 July 31 60 New final round
Chicago (Booth) April 2 May 31 59 R3 extension
Georgetown (McDonough) April 27 June 24 57 R4 extension
Northwestern (Kellogg) April 8 June 1 52 R3 extension
Columbia April 10 June 1 51 Extension
Indiana (Kelley) April 15 June 1 46 R4 extension
NYU (Stern) March 15 May 1 46 R4 extension
UCLA (Anderson) April 16 June 1 45 R3 extension
Yale SOM April 14 May 27 43 R3extension
Source: https://poetsandquants.com/2020/03/27/the w-covid-19-mba-admissions-round/

Extending Deadlines For Score Submission

In addition to extending deadlines for application submission, a problem faced by many applicants is the inability to take GMAT/GRE tests due to lockdown and quarantine protocol. Schools are willing to accept applications without GMAT/GRE scores and have issues fresh deadlines for submission of the score.

Schools like Yale SOM and Rotman School at University of Toronto have increased deadlines for test score submission. Similarly, the NUS Business School is willing to accept expired GMAT/GRE scores as proxy, while the candidate retakes the test. Schools are offering conditional admissions, contingent on submission of GMAT/GRE score.

Will Intake Be Affected for people already admitted?

The answer varies from country to country, however, a delay is a real possibility in nations hit badly by the coronavirus. The Harvard School of Business will be refunding tuition fee for programs that have been cancelled for the current semester. While all events being held in schools or being planned in the near future have been cancelled, schools like Yale School of Management have cancelled their commencement for the batch of 2020, intended to take place between 16 – 18th May.

The MBA program of the National University of Singapore has specified in their FAQs, that students, who are unable to travel to the school due to restrictions, will be allowed deferral or refund and forfeiture.

The Rotman School of Management at The University of Toronto has the following take on offers of admission being affected:

“At present, we do not anticipate that this will prevent students from enrolling at U of T in the Fall and have no plans to rescind or defer offers. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will update our communication and notifications as needed.”

What Steps Can One Take Next?

While the times are bleak and ambiguous, we must look forward. What, then, can you as an international MBA aspirant do to combat COVID-19 impact on Top MBA Admissions?

Use the following pointers to help you navigate through your applications in a structured and timely manner:

  • Take Tests Online

The GMAT/GRE test are available to be taken online through the GMAC website. This is available only through prior registration. Check the website in conjunction with your area to confirm availability. Many admission agents and websites are offering free sample tests as well, these can be helpful to practice.

  • Apply before new application deadline

Conduct research on the new deadlines for your target schools and take your time to brush up your application before submitting. With the increasing deferral rates, there is a greater chance for you to secure admission this academic year. The Kellogg School of Management has decided to reconsider rejected applicants, and is encouraging them to reapply in the subsequent application rounds Be sure to check if your school will be accepting rolling applications, to make your work simpler.

  • Stay in touch with your school

Reach out to your admission consultant or admission office at the target school to stay abreast of the updated details. Reach out to the school via email and detail your query or problem expected due to the current circumstances. Make sure to use the vast alumni network of your B-school to get a better picture of how things would look on ground.

  • Stay informed

Keep a track of the lockdown procedure in your country as well as the country of your target school. Research on the changes in visa requirements, if any. Check the website of your school at regular intervals to not miss out on information. Lastly, reach out to the alumni of your target school to understand the situation better.

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