Read our April 14 coronavirus roundup as the GMAT Online exam is announced and we ask whether online learning can rise to the covid-19 challenge
On lockdown and working from home? Here’s five practical tips for achieving a healthy work-life balance during the coronavirus pandemic
Self-isolation during coronavirus is the perfect time to crack on with some reading and boost your MBA application
Read our April 9 coronavirus roundup, as nearly one-third of b-school candidates say they are considering delaying pursuit of an MBA or business master's degree
From GMAT To MBA, Coronavirus Shifts Business School Experience Online
April 14 Roundup
GMAT Online Exam: Release & Reaction
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner and administrator of the GMAT, has today announced the release of the GMAT Online exam, to help you complete your b-school application during the coronavirus pandemic.
You can now register to take the GMAT at home, online, with around-the-clock testing appointments available from April 20 to June 15.
To help your GMAT prep, we’ve sourced 13 test prep tips for the new GMAT test from some of the world’s best admission consultants and we’ve had all your GMAT Online exam questions answered by the man behind the GMAT Vineet Chhabra.
We’ve also launched our GMAT video guides, sharing our top tips for the GMAT Data Sufficiency section.
GMAT Data Sufficiency Guide
Coronavirus sparks interest in online learning
In a recent survey on US consumer behavior and attitude toward online learning as a result of COVID-19, more than 70% of respondents reported an increased interest in further education. 82% are interested in some form of online education, and 40% are drawn to pursuing further education.
Can Online Learning Rise To The Challenge?
After years of slow adoption, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing business schools online. So will this trigger a long-term shift? Read the full article.
B-school expert warns of dangers of panic buying
Birmingham Business School's Andrew Parker explains the operational nightmare that coronavirus panic buying poses for supermarkets.
How b-school professors teach online
Maciej Workiewicz, associate professor of management at ESSEC Business School, shows his online teaching setup.
Coronavirus: 5 Working From Home Tips To Keep You Sane & Healthy
As governments respond to the threat from coronavirus (or COVID-19), nearly a third of the world’s population has been placed under lockdown.
To survive in the coming months, many companies are depending on their employees to work remotely. For people used to having an office to go to, however, this can be jarring transition to make.
Here are five tips on how to work effectively from home:
5 working from home tips
1. Have dedicated work times and places
As soon as you step into your office you know it’s time to go into work mode, but when you’re working from home it can be hard to flip the switch.
Try to schedule time periods where you are ‘at work’ and to do your work in specific places: for example, if you’re on your laptop at the dining room table, you’re at work. If you’re sitting with it on the couch, that’s your time for browsing or gaming.
If you’re applying for business school and studying for the GMAT or GRE, or you’re a student pursuing an MBA or other degree, try to assign your studies dedicated periods that are separate from your time at your job.
Communicate your working arrangements and schedule to your family and ask them to respect them. It’s not a bad idea to schedule your ‘off’ time too: it may be easier for your child to leave you alone until lunchtime than it would be if they don’t know when they will see you.
Depending on your deadlines, you might be able to schedule playtimes or extended mealtimes you can spend with your child and give yourself until later in the evening to get your work done. On that subject…
2. Accept that you may be juggling your responsibilities
It may be unrealistic to expect eight hours of uninterrupted productivity from yourself, especially if you’re sharing your space with other people. You may also find yourself juggling your work with responsibilities that didn’t overlap before, such as housework and childcare.
Don’t get hung up on the way you usually do things. Yes, it may be better to knuckle down and complete a task in one sitting, but it will still get done if you break it up into sections so you can check on the kids. Adapt according to what works for you now, and don’t beat yourself up about the little things.
3. Keep in touch
In isolation it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, so make an effort to maintain contact with your co-workers. Not only will this help you keep track of what needs to be done and to co-ordinate priorities, but a reminder of who’s relying on you can be a big motivation boost.
Try to communicate via video calls rather than text, and at least once a week try to hold a team meeting. A conversation with some familiar faces will help you feel connected in a time of isolation.
Plus, knowing that your boss is keeping an eye on you will give you a reason to get out of your pyjamas!
4. Take breaks
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling that, now that you’re working from home, you need to work extra hard to prove you’re not slacking off. Even at the office, a coffee break now and then improves your productivity. Your work will speak for itself.
If you’re worried that once you sit down on the couch you’ll stay there, try to schedule your break to end when you have to return for meeting or task. Alternatively, set an alarm and leave it at your workspace—that way you have to go back to turn it off, and once you’re there you might as well get back to work.
5. At the end of the workday, stop working.
It sounds obvious but again it’s psychological: it can be hard to leave your work in the office when there’s no office to leave. Don’t sit in front of the TV feeling guilty that you aren’t putting the final touches to that report. If it can wait for tomorrow, let it.
To signify to yourself that your day is over change clothes and maybe take a shower. Take some “me time” or strike up a conversation, whether face-to-face with your spouse, child or roommate or with a friend or relative over the phone or video-call.
Above all, remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t burn yourself out trying to “just get it done” as quickly as possible. You have the time to develop strategies that will work for you: take it.
Take care of your mental health
Don’t underestimate the mental toll this situation can take on you: not only are you facing the stress of a global pandemic, but it’s been proven that isolation can take a serious toll on the human mind.
The USA’s Center for Disease Control recommends the following methods of self-care:
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Coronavirus Self-Isolation Reading List | 8 Books For MBA Applicants
Self-isolation can be a boring and lonely experience. For many, it’s a time that feels like it should be spent outside. For some of you, it's peak application season. You'll be putting the finishing touches to your MBA application.
So why not make the most of this time being stuck at home avoiding coronavirus?
With the help of faculty from top business schools around the world, we’ve put together a definitive self-isolation reading list to help you pass the hours and strengthen your MBA application when the time comes.
Here’s eight books you should be reading right now:
Coronavirus Self-Isolation Reading List
1. Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again by Eric Topol
Recommended by Sir Andrew Likierman, former dean of London Business School
Eric Topol, an American cardiologist, looks into the inefficiencies of the healthcare system in the US, which now constitutes about 20% of the country’s gross domestic product. The solution? Automating and improving more tasks using AI, to ensure that doctors can spend time focusing on the human part of the job that differentiates them.
What Andrew says— “It’s a fantastic insight into the impact of AI. Yes, this is applied to medicine not business, but it takes us through what humans can do better, what machines can do better and how the two will coexist. This makes it real for other fields as well.“
2. Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
Recommended by Professor Hans Genberg, professor of finance at Asia School of Business
Winners of 2019’s Nobel Prize for Economics, Banerjee and Duflo present revolutionary ideas about how too often our economic decisions are blinded by ideology rather than pragmatism or compassion.
What Hans says—”Banerjee and Duflo have shown brilliantly how the best recent research in economics can be used to tackle the most pressing social issues: unequal economic growth, climate change, lack of trust in public action.”
3. Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear by Dan Gardner
Recommended by Karin Kollenz-Quetard, professor of strategy at EDHEC Business School
We are the safest humans that have ever lived, Dan Gardner tells us. And yet the media portrays quite a different story—that we are under constant threat of terrorism, financial collapse, and, yes, pandemics. So why are we sold this belief?
What Karin says—”Risk: The Science of Politics and Fear is a grand classic, 100 percent relevant during the COVID-19 crisis. This is a fascinating insight into the peculiar and devastating nature of human fear.”
4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Recommended by Doug Villhard, academic director of entrepreneurship at Olin Business School at Washington University of St Louis
Ender’s Game is considered a science-fiction classic, written in 1985, about a dystopian future where children are trained from a young age in tactical strategy games in preparation for the event of an alien invasion.
What Doug says—”Yes, this book was intended as a science fiction book for teens. But it is an even more fascinating read as an adult and especially one interested in business strategy. Time and time again the protagonist (Ender) is put in seemingly unwinnable situations (by competitors and the larger market forces) yet by simply using thoughtful strategy he finds a way to win.
This book teaches you what it takes to be an entrepreneur/innovator and to be a great leader. And the best part of all, if you love the book, is reading the sequel "Ender's Shadow". It is the same exact story told all over again—except from the perspective of a different character in the story. Genius. Two ways to drive home the same message that a strong strategy can trump all else.”
WATCH: Coronavirus Update | Applicant Bulletin
5. Bourgeois Equality by Deirdre McCloskey
Recommended by Frank Cespedes, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School
Bourgeois Equality is the third part of a trilogy written by McCloskey, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
What Frank says—”McCloskey is an economic historian who develops a fervent defense of classical free-market liberalism, its values of liberty and dignity for commoners, and how those values have increased human opportunity, personal rights, and global well-being over the past 200 years.
“Her story focuses on the role of “ideas of betterment” and attitudes toward others’ success, and the perennial fragility of how those ideas and behaviors “are sustained in social ethics—a continually renegotiated dance.”
“I find that the publisher’s blurb is accurate: “a fact in every sentence, an idea on every page” and in prose that is witty, lucid, acerbic but respectful—a combination of Dickens and the best-read CFO you’ve ever met.”
6. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Recommended by many, including Fabian Bernhard, professor of organizational behaviour and family business at EDHEC Business School
Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, despite only being published in 2011, has come to be considered one of the most influential books on behaviour, expanding on prospect theory that he developed with his late colleague Amos Tversky.
The central belief is that humans have two systems of thinking—system one, which is fast, instinctive, and emotional; and system two, which is slow, deliberative, and more logical.
What Fabian says—”This is a book about how we sometimes believe that we are rational in our decision making, but behave so irrationally.”
7. What I Didn’t Learn In Business School: How Strategy Works In The Real World by Jay Barney & Trish Gorman
Recommended by John Colley, professor of practice at Warwick Business School
Barney, an academic strategist, and Gorman, a former McKinsey consultant, bring you a business novel that’s a clever analysis of some of the human skills that get forgotten on a highly academic curriculum at business school.
What John says—”This tale follows a new MBA starting work at a major consultancy, who as part of their first project attempts to use the various strategy frameworks they’ve been taught. However they find that organisational politics are just as important as strategic analysis.”
8. Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action by Christian Sarkar and Philip Kotler
Recommended by Willem Smit, assistant professor of marketing at Asia School of Business
What Willem says—”Many people who share advice on crisis management echo Winston Churchill’s words: “Never waste a good crisis.”
“With the idea in mind to never miss out on the opportunity offered by rethinking what we as brand owners should do in the long-term post-COVID, I recommend “Brand Activism.”
In this book, the authors Kotler and Sarkar convincingly argue about the reasons why value-driven marketing requires taking the right actions too. People expect brands to help solve the World’s problems. It is a timely, progressive and ground-breaking book that makes the marketer long-term on a how-to brand activism framework and helps them guide them to make a bigger difference with their brands.”
Finished your reading?
Coronavirus: One In Three Business School Candidates Consider Delaying Degree
April 9 Roundup
One-Third Of Business School Candidates Consider Delaying Degrees
Nearly one-third of candidates are considering delaying their pursuit of an MBA or business master’s degree because of coronavirus. That’s according to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Data was collated between March 4th and 31st.
Of the 482 individuals who responded to the survey questions related to COVID-19 and its impact on their pursuit of graduate business education, 29% said they are considering delaying their plans.
35% plan to delay by six months or less, and 30% said they were planning to delay by seven-and-12 months. Only 14% are thinking of delaying by more than a year.
Elsewhere in the survey, in the second half of March, 35% of respondents said they were very or extremely concerned about their future pursuit of graduate business school. That’s compared with just 13% in the first half of the month.
However, very few candidates are considering abandoning their pursuit of a graduate business degree altogether.
How about a digital detox?
We’re all at home 24/7, and have become more dependent as ever on digital connectivity. But how about the occasional digital detox?
Professor Sandra Sieber of IESE Business School shares her tips on how to switch off.
ESSEC Dean speaks out again
MBA Alum Leads Henry Ford Health System’s COVID-19 Response
Betty Chu, a 2013 MBA graduate from the Michigan Ross School of Business, is leading the Henry Ford Health System’s (HFHS) fight against COVID-19.
She says she starts her day as the incident commander for HFSF at 5am. COVID-19 is on her mind all day. It’s a far cry from her usual day to day, as the organization’s senior vice president, associate chief clinical officer, and chief quality officer.
The leadership skills she developed on the MBA have really been put to the test. When coronavirus cases first began appearing in China, Betty and her team began planning and holding daily huddles with specialists to discuss how they would fight an outbreak in the US.
When that day came, Betty was put at the center of the incident command structure developed for the health system, and she led her team in putting together the emergency response plan.