Live Updates: Coronavirus Impact On Business Schools

What is the impact of coronavirus on business schools? We bring you the latest updates including campus closures, changes to MBA admission requirements, and more


Latest features:

UNC Kenan-Flagler Fast-Tracks College Students Into MBA

April 28 Roundup

UNC Kenan-Flagler To Fast Track College Grads Into Their MBA Places

Recent college graduates could have the opportunity to go straight into an MBA, thanks to UNC Kenan Flagler Business School

The school has launched the NC Business Next program, which aims to boost career opportunities in the current economic crisis by offering spots to a small number of high performing college graduates, for an MBA usually reserved for those with three-to-five years of work experience. The program is open to graduates from UNC Chapel Hill, other UNC campuses, and North Carolina residents from other universities. 

“Recognizing the difficult and uncertain career opportunities for new college graduates in North Carolina, we decided to launch an initiative that provides a route to career success for new college graduates in North Carolina,” explains UNC Kenan-Flagler dean Doug Shackelford. 

The program is willing to offer a GMAT or GRE waiver to those unable to prepare for or take a GMAT in the expected time.

Find out the average GMAT scores at the world's best business schools

Our annual report of average GMAT scores at the world's top 20 business schools according to the Financial Times is out. 

Stanford tops the list, with an average GMAT score of 734, with Wharton in second place on 732. There's a three way tie for third place, between Harvard Business School, Chicago Booth, and Kellogg School of Management. 

Check out the full article here.

How online learning is equipping us with remote working skills

IE Business School professor Enrique Dans spoke to us about how MBAs moving online is actually a blessing in disguise. It’s the perfect opportunity, he says, to get to grips with technology and software that will come to define the workplace. Read the full article.

Professors from Asia School of Business give their reading recommendations

Check out our Self-Isolation Reading List here.

Coronavirus thought of the day—is the COVID-19 lockdown a bit like a social experiment?

In a matter of weeks, all of our human interactions have moved online, through platforms like Zoom and Slack. It’s a massive test, to see how well business and humans can cope with online technology; on the flipside, whether technology can adapt to suit our needs. 

It’s a little bit like a social experiment, suggests London School of Economics professor Carsten Sorensen. 

“We are all being forced to battle with digital platforms when they refuse to do what we want; perhaps you can’t figure out how to view all participants in a call or your video isn’t working. I have a doctorate in computer science and still spend time on IT support.”

But perhaps it might cause some revelations about the way we used to live.

“Perhaps a prolonged period of social distancing will lead to deeper reflections on how we live, on whether being crushed into a claustrophobic tube line is really worth it, on the importance of physical communities over virtual interaction, and on the importance of a balanced working life.”

Cornell MBA Gets STEM Designation & Harvard Offers Deferment For Incoming MBAs

April 27 Roundup

Cornell MBAs get STEM-certified

Two Ithaca-based Management Science MBA programs at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business have received STEM designation, taking the total number of STEM-designated programs at the school to five. The Class of 2021 in both programs will be the first to graduate under this new certification.

Johnson’s portfolio of STEM-designated programs now includes:

Two-Year Management Science MBA

One-Year Management Science MBA

Johnson Cornell Tech MBA: based in New York City

MPS in Management: provides students who have a non-business undergraduate degree with the rigorous business management education of a top MBA program.

MPS in Management – Accounting Specialization

STEM-designated programs are classified as such by the US government for their focus on science and technology. International students on an F-1 visa who pursue one of these programs are eligible for what is known as a STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training) extension, enabling them to work in their field for a total of up to 36 months in the US without an H-1B work visa.

Find out more about STEM-designated MBA programs

Cass Business School offers free coaching to doctors

London’s Cass will provide free coaching and resources to doctors and medical leaders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Harvard Offers Deferment for Incoming MBAs

Harvard Business School has announced it will offer deferment to incoming MBAs who want to delay their studies because of coronavirus, according to one report.

Admits will have a window between May 15th and June 1st to request a deferral to start the full-time MBA program in 2021—or potentially even later—instead of this fall. HBS will no longer accept deferral requests after June 1st.

The news comes as MBA programs are impacted by coronavirus with classes shifting online. HBS students who are happy to delay their plans and don’t want to risk jeopardizing their full-time MBA experience—studying on-campus, international trips and the like—may be drawn to defer.

3 ways an online MBA will advance your career

There’s never been a better time to study online. Using your time at home to complete an MBA can give you the rocket fuel your career needs. Read the full article.

Online MBA tips infographic

Coronavirus FAQs

With coronavirus closing test centers, preventing campus visits, and forcing interviews online, how can you keep your MBA application on track?

In this week's Applicant Question,’s Esmeralda Cardenal takes you through some common questions she'd been asked by applicants as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Read it here:

coronavirus faqs mba application

Coronavirus Sparks Visa Concerns For Business School Candidates

April 24 Roundup

Visa restrictions cause serious concern for b-school candidates

According to new research by GMAC, prospective business school students in the Middle East, Africa, and Central & Southeast Asia in particular are concerned that visa restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic will block their passage to business school. This comes as Donald Trump announces a new US immigration ban and a 60-day freeze to green card applications.

The survey snapshot reveals a third of candidates based in Central & South Asia (34%) and the Middle East & Africa (33%) reported concern about visas as compared to 13% in East & Southeast Asia, 5% in Europe and 3% in the United States.

This points to the popularity of US and European business schools. US and European students are happy to study closer to home, whereas internationals are more concerned that they won’t be able to study at their target US or European b-schools. If global mobility is limited by coronavirus, the diversity of students at business school—on MBA programs, for example—will be impacted.

See more ways coronavirus is impacting MBA programs.

GMAT Online Exam: New Online Whiteboard Practice Tool

If you’re taking the new GMAT Online Exam you won’t be able to take physical notes using pen and paper. You’ll instead need to use an online whiteboard. Understanding this could be a little tricky for first-time online GMAT test-takers, GMAC have launched a new online whiteboard practice tool to help you out.

Online whiteboard explainer

Online whiteboard tool

GMAT Online Exam: Honest review

GMAT expert Stefan Maisnier took the new GMAT Online Exam and had positive things to say about the at-home test experience and how to navigate the online whiteboard. Read the full review:

gmat online exam review

Harvard hemorrhages money

Harvard Business School expects revenue to plunge by close to $115 million due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to various reports. In an email, HBS dean Nitin Nohria and executive dean for administration Angela Q. Crispi announced they expect an overall loss of $22 million for 2020.

The email says the decision to freeze Executive Education programs, a fall in alumni donations, falling case sales, and potential endowment distribution decline caused by coronavirus have all contributed to the revenue loss.

GRE testing disrupted by coronavirus

The GRE test is also available to take online, at-home. However, some test-takers have reported technical issues with the test. If you are looking to take the GRE test to apply for business school in a test center, check out our live updates on GRE test center closures.

Countrywide postponements in EMEA:

Albania: Through April 25

Belgium: Through May 2

France: Through May 2

Hungary: Through April 25

Iran: Through May 20

Ireland: Through May 2

Italy: Through May 2

Kyrgyzstan: Through April 26

Morocco: Through May 16

Romania: Through April 25

South Africa: Through April 25

Spain: Through April 25

Switzerland: Through April 25

Tunisia: Through May 2

United Kingdom: Through April 25

All other countries are reporting at least one test center closed in response to local public health concerns.

See the rest of the world

Oxford & Mastercard Launch Online Cyber Skills Course

April 22 Roundup

Online cyber skills course

With an unprecedented number of professionals now working remotely, staying safe online has become more important than ever before.Oxford University campus

In response, the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, and Mastercard will be launching a new Cyber Futures program, designed to give executives the skills they need to recognize cyber risks and opportunities. 

“Demand for online learning has reached unprecedented levels in the wake of brader digital advancements, and more recently the COVID-19 crisis,” says Andrew White, associate dean for executive education at Saïd Business School.

The six-week program will be delivered entirely online, and cover topics ranging from data privacy to digital ethics. 

Business school leaders optimistic about management education’s future

Even in these uncertain times, business school leaders are confident that management education can adapt, a report by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the Business Graduates Association (BGA) has found. 

According to the report, which surveyed 350 decision-makers at business schools around the globe, 95% of leaders in the sector are optimistic about the future of their school.

AMBA report

84% of respondents rated their own business school as either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent,’ and expect to increase their capacity in the next three years. 

A number of schools, 17%, are planning to do this by opening a campus overseas. Given the current restrictions on travel, however, these plans may be deferred.

The survey also revealed that the majority of schools are keen to work collaboratively, with 51% reporting ties to other institutions and 68% of schools had at least one formal partnership with a corporate organization.

“We know that AMBA & BGA business schools have been resilient, and indeed grown, as the world around them has changed,” comments Will Dawes, research and insight manager at AMBA & BGA.

One important area where schools report trouble is helping their graduates into jobs. In fact, only 67% of schools said they were 'doing well' at this, and the economic impact of coronavirus could make things even more challenging. 

Coronavirus crisis highlights the value of an MBA, say business school deans

In turbulent times, businesses need skilled leadership more than ever, say Toby McChesney and Monica Powell, both associate deans at prominent US business schools. Monica Powell

Toby is senior assistant dean at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, while Monica Powell is senior associate dean at the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. 

Toby is also the chair of the BusinessCAS Advisory Board, of which Monica is a member. The Board seeks to drive innovation and collaboration in business education. 

In the face of the current pandemic, they say, now is the time to upskill. With the sudden transition to remote working, the problem-solving and leadership skills an MBA helps develop have become crucial.

As more business schools introduce the joint MD and MBA degree, opportunities also arise for graduates to make their mark in public health, helping to tackle and prevent future outbreaks. Toby McChesney

In the coming months, Toby and Monica expect MBAs and similar programs to retain their popularity. 

With so many workers furloughed or laid off, professionals will be tempted to use this extra time to focus on their personal development, and gain new marketable skills. 

Cass Business School lecturer tracks employee wellbeing in lockdown 

With over half the world’s population currently in lockdown, Cass Business School’s Dr Annelore Huyghe has set out to uncover what the ongoing disruption means for our wellbeing at work.

Annelore hopes that her study will reveal how employees and managers are responding to the changes in their lives, and what this means for their general health.

Currently, she is gathering information through a 20 minute survey, which will remain open for volunteers to fill out until Sunday.

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