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

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Real Coronavirus Stories: Vlerick Business School

Coronavirus forced Robert Boute, professor of Operations Management at Belgium’s Vlerick Business School, to switch his Supply Chain Bootcamp to an online version this week. Part of the bootcamp includes a real-life business case with European rail & logistics company Lineas. 


robert boute vlerick professor talks coronavirus


"There were considerations of cancelling the project, but we felt we could successfully complete this online through Zoom, and we did! Students were able to continue as normal, having virtual lunch meetings, continuing intermediate reporting and working in (virtual) breakout rooms – in a very similar way to offline. And, today students will be presenting their results to the CEO, COO and Chief Finance & Accounting of Lineas online.

"I must admit it has been much more demanding and energy consuming than regular teaching. I’m not sure why, but I think the dependency on technology working gives extra stress. However, I have been able to continue teaching in the exact way I do in the classroom—just online—and the bootcamp and company project has proven to be incredibly successful with students."

Coronavirus: Full-Time MBAs Want Compensation For Shift Online

March 19th Roundup


MBAs on Reddit voice concerns

Reddit is buzzing with coronavirus chat. Candidates and current students are concerned about having to pay for high-cost, full-time MBA programs which are currently being delivered online. However, some Reddit-users are now considering going to business school as the global economy and jobs take a hit.


MBA loans provider Prodigy Finance offers flexible terms

Prodigy Finance says student borrowers should get in contact if they need to pause loan repayments. Other flexible measures include: Free quotes without committing to a loan or signing a contract; You only need to sign final loan agreement when you’ve safely reached campus; Graduates only need to start repaying loans six months after course completion.


GMAC CEO issues response to COVID-19


New Master’s course helps professionals manage pandemics like coronavirus

Aston Business School launches its MSc in Crisis and Disaster Management as more businesses demand professionals trained to coordinate their response to disasters.   


Crowdsourced list of US universities closed by coronavirus

A list of universities in the United States closed by coronavirus is being regularly updated and is available online. Various business schools are closing campuses and moving classes online. Check it out to find out if your target business school is affected.


Coronavirus: Video Explainer from MBA Tube


Harvard extend 2+2 MBA admission deadline

Harvard’s 2+2 is a deferred admission process for current students, who are either in college or a full-time master’s degree program. Students pursue at least two years of professional work experience (maximum of four years) followed by two years on the HBS MBA. Instead of April 2, 2020, the new 2+2 new application deadline is June 1, 2020 at noon Eastern time.



GMAT reminder

Any GMAT test taker who wants to reschedule their current appointment (either a different date or to a different test center) can do so without incurring any fees.


Ask your coronavirus questions

Ask our admissions experts anything you want to know about how coronavirus could impact your business school application.


ask your coronavirus questions on BusinessBecause

Latest on GMAT & GRE testing

More test centers close around the world as GMAT and GRE testing is disrupted by coronavirus. Check out our latest live updates on GMAT testing and GRE test center closures.


IE Business School professor studies impact on Corona beer!


Rotterdam School of Management offers GMAT waivers

As well as making conditional offers (pending submission of a GMAT or GRE score), RSM in the Netherlands are offering GMAT/GRE waivers to candidates with outstanding undergraduate GPAs and to PhD-holders. 

Instead of GMAT or GRE, candidates can also complete two Harvard online courses, the Mathematics for Management ($90 USD) and Quantitative Methods ($150 USD) courses, scoring over 75% on both.


Coronavirus: How To Manage Your Business In A Time Of Crisis

The current coronavirus pandemic has caused one of the most turbulent economic climates in decades. By mid-March, the Dow Jones had fallen 19 points and the FTSE has fallen 33 points. 

The crisis has already seen the collapse of commercial airline Flybe, while other large corporations seem on the brink of collapse. The biggest impact, it’s believed, will be on small-to-medium enterprises.

“When you have any kind of company, you have a risk,” explains Stella Despoudi, professor in operations and supply chain management at Aston Business School. 

It may have been hard to foresee the impact that coronavirus would have, failure, in these times of crisis, often comes down to lack of preparation. 

Here are some top tips on how best to prepare for a crisis:


1. Identify warning signals


It’s easy to spot crises when they’ve already happened. Whether these are financial crashes, cybersecurity attacks, or even natural disasters, hindsight is useful at seeing the full impact. 

But what’s not so easy is being able to predict how widespread or impactful the disaster will be in the first instance. Not every crisis will be catastrophic, but it’s equally important to treat each potential threat as though it may unfold into a disaster. 

“Companies need to constantly monitor internal and external signals to promote early detection of the signs of a crisis, and deal with it before it emerges,” insists Pavel Albores, director of the Centre for Research into Safety and Security (CRISIS) at Aston Business School. 

CRISIS conducts sophisticated research into why crises and disasters happen, and how to respond to them. Part of this is multi-disciplinary, multimethodology analysis of safety and security issues, including what early warning signals might indicate a crisis. 

Aston aims to impart this knowledge to students this fall, launching their new MSc in Crisis and Disaster Management, a response to the demand from businesses to have better trained professionals who are able to coordinate their response to disasters.  


2. Assess the threat to your business


Hundreds of crises—small or large—happen every single day. But not every one will affect your business. It’s important that companies take the time to consider the impact that a crisis will have on their three Ps—products, people, and processes. 

“In terms of products, it could be product or service failures, misuse, or damage to the consumers,” Pavel explains. 

“In terms of people, it could be unethical behaviour, industrial action or lack of training.”  

“In terms of processes, there could be disruptions to the supply chain, whether by natural or manmade causes, financial crises or overdependence on one customer or supplier.” 

This can demonstrate to businesses different steps they can take to shield their company, such as diversifying their supply chain to ensure they aren’t over reliant on a single geographic location.  


3. Create a crisis management plan 


You’ve identified what the various early warning signals, and you’ve identified what the potential risk might be to your business, but what next? 

Businesses have to create crisis management or contingency plan, so they know the effective steps to take in order to shield their business from a crisis. This is the most important step, Pavel believes, to weathering a disaster. 

The MSc is designed to give students the tools to build a crisis management plan at a business. This incorporates modules on decision-making, ethics in a crisis, and crisis technology and analytics, to ensure that students have a variety of perspectives and information for the plans they are building. 

There are some important lessons to be learned from the coronavirus outbreak with regards to what a plan should aim to do. 

“Plans need to be based around developing skills and behaviours to deal with a crisis, rather than focusing on a single, narrow scenario. The COVID-19 crisis is probably something that very few people would have predicted, let alone plan for,” Pavel insists. 


4. Practice implementing the plan


Practicing your plan is just as important as having it in the first place. 

“Organisations that have a crisis management plan and practice it regularly are better prepared to respond to disasters,” Pavel insists. 

Aston students can use simulation modelling software to recreate how disasters unfold, and how they can properly implement a crisis management plan  in practice. It’s the perfect opportunity to see the impact of decision making, without the risk of doing it in reality. 

More than anything, these simulations can teach students an important lesson about how to respond. 

“Decisions need to be taken in a calm, measured manner,” Pavel says. 


The MSc in crisis and disaster management is a response to a growing demand from a variety of sectors, including businesses, non-profits, and even governmental organizations. 

Overall, it hopes to cater to this demand from organizations to be better prepared in times of crisis. 

“This plans to equip the right people with the skills and competencies that they need to respond to this kind of event,” Stella insists.  

Wharton Launches Coronavirus Course

Coronavirus (or COVID-19) has swept the world since emerging in Wuhan, China. It has hit business schools hard, and closures have forced institutions into crisis management mode. Now, the Wharton School has launched a new online coronavirus course, detailing the impact and implications of the pandemic.

Coronavirus course

The Wharton School’s course, Epidemics, Natural Disasters, and Geopolitics: Managing Global Business and Financial Uncertainty, teaches students in real-time how global business and financial uncertainty can be managed in the wake of such dramatic events. 

The six-week, half-credit course is available to all University of Pennsylvania degree-seeking students and goes live on March 25th.

The online course follows the move to take the rest of the school’s curriculum online—a decision mimicked by business schools around the world in an attempt to limit the effects of the virus.

Wharton dean, Geoff Garrett, in a press release from the school, says that ‘there are significant business lessons to be learned from the global response to the coronavirus outbreak, and Wharton is at the forefront of sharing valuable insights and creating a community to exchange ideas.’

'This is a teachable moment for the global academic community,’ he adds, ‘and this course is just one example of how Wharton is coming together to provide support during a time of heightened anxiety and ambiguity.’

Lessons from the course cover leading amid unpredictable, rapidly changing events with contested facts, the financial markets’ reactions to coronavirus, and emotional contagion and epidemics.


How are business schools responding to coronavirus?

Schools are scrambling to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread to over 100 countries and killed more than 8,000 people to date. Schools like China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and MIP Politecnico di Milano have moved the MBA courses online.

London Business School launched a webinar series on March 18th that looks at how you can lead through uncertainty. It’s hosted by Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the school. Webinars are broadcast twice per week and will include faculty experts commenting on the most pressing topics the world faces today.

Aston Business School this fall is launching a new MSc in Crisis and Disaster Management, a response to growing demand from businesses to have better equipped professionals who are able to adapt and coordinate their response to disasters.  

Meanwhile, online education platform, Coursera, is offering schools Coursera for Campus, globally, at no cost to any university impacted by COVID-19. It’s an attempt to help schools take their learning online during this time of crisis.

It gives schools impacted by the virus access to 3,800 courses and 400 specializations from some of the world’s leading institutions. Up to 5,000 licenses are being given by Coursera for enrolled students at any organization impacted.

Universities can enrol students in courses through to July 31st, 2020 and students can complete courses up until September 30th, with month-to-month extensions available dependent on need.


How will coronavirus impact your business school application?


Coronavirus and the GMAT 

As schools have closed worldwide and countries have introduced social distancing and isolation measures, GMAT and GRE test centers have also been heavily impacted.

BusinessBecause will be providing live coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on GMAT and GRE test takers throughout the crisis.

As the global community grapples with the impact of the virus on daily life, it’s a huge test for the way we work in the 21st century. The global workforce has rapidly shifted online in response, and it’s the biggest challenge yet to have faced the digital economy. 

To live up to the promise of a seamlessly digitized world, technology must hold its own. Wharton's coronavirus course is a sign of one school ahead of the curve.

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