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:

Association Of MBAs Launches Coronavirus Fundraising Campaign

April 21 Roundup

Sharing valuable business lessons to raise money for coronavirus relief

As coronavirus relief efforts continue in earnest, the UK-based accreditation body, Association of MBAs (AMBA), is jumping to action with a new fundraising initiative—the MBA Challenge.

AMBA is asking graduates from around the world to share the five most valuable lessons they learned at business school.

For each lesson learned, participants are asked to donate £1 ($1.23) towards AMBA’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which supports vital charities like Doctors without Borders and Actionaid. 

AMBA hopes the lessons graduates share will raise awareness of the importance of graduate management education during global challenges, as well as directly raising money to tackle coronavirus head-on.

Coronavirus & MBA Admissions: 4 Common Questions Answered

If you’re currently applying to business school, you’re probably wondering what the coronavirus pandemic means for your application.

BusinessBecause asked Scott Edinburgh, founder of admissions consultancy Personal MBA Coach, to answer four of the most common questions that applicants currently have.

Scott revealed that online GMAT testing, virtual campus tours, and remote seminars mean that many applicants can continue their process as usual.

However, other candidates might want to reconsider their application strategy, as schools add rounds and push back application deadlines. 


Online MBA at Imperial Business School opens for applications

London’s Imperial Business School has just opened applications to its Global Online MBA program, which will begin in January 2021. 

The 24-month program is currently number one in the UK, according to the QS online MBA rankings, and costs £37,600 ($46,285). 

Potential applicants can attend ‘virtual drop-in sessions’ in April and May to find out more. 

As more candidates than ever consider an online MBA due to the travel limitations imposed by coronavirus, we can expect the program to retain its popularity.

 App records your cough to study coronavirus and other diseases

At Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, Dr Martin Lukac (below) is working with researchers at the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences to build a Cough Analyzer.  701364045be09c41f0819e8f78d26728507fc482.jpg

The analyzer will act as a diagnostic tool to pick up on diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and now COVID-19.

Researchers are currently gathering a database of coughs, recorded through a mobile app that anyone can download. 

Along with a five second clip, app users will be asked to provide any diagnoses they have had, and posed questions about the nature of their cough—such as whether it is dry or wet, and how long they have had it.

With a large enough data set, it is hoped that the project will lead to improved understanding and diagnosis of coronavirus. 

GMAT Exam: Online Whiteboard How-to

You can now use a physical whiteboard for your GMAT Online Exam! 

Check out the specifications and our list of the best GMAT whiteboards.

Get familiar with the GMAT Online Exam’s online whiteboard

Last week, we announced the launch of the new Online GMAT Exam, along with online GMAT test prep tips and a Q&A with one of the test’s creators

For security reasons, you cannot take physical notes using pen and paper during the GMAT Online exam and instead need to use the online whiteboard provided onscreen when working out your quant calculations, for example.

Using an online whiteboard is something new for a lot of candidates used to jotting down complex calculations on a physical notepad. With this in mind, Stacey Koprince, from Manhattan Prep, explains how to best use the online whiteboard and practice ahead of time.

Online GMAT vs GRE

ClearAdmit have made a side-by-side comparison of the online GMAT and GRE tests including cost and technology requirements.


Screenshot from ClearAdmit

Is Udemy worth it?

There’s never been a better time to do an online course. Along with Coursera, Udemy is one of the biggest providers of online courses with 50 million students enrolled on Udemy courses globally. But is doing a Udemy course really worth it? Read the full article.

Business school deans speak out on coronavirus

We asked deans from Stanford, Oxford Saïd, Cambridge Judge and six other top business schools, to explain the business implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

GMAT and GRE test center closures

Remember you can keep up to date with the latest on testing suspensions, test center closures, and resumptions via our live feeds:

GMAT test center updates

GRE test center closures

3 Ways Coronavirus Impacts MBA Programs

The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting business schools and MBA programs globally. We spoke to industry experts who consider three ways COVID-19 could impact MBA programs and your MBA experience.

1. The attractiveness of the MBA

Coronavirus could impact how many people are willing to pursue MBA programs.

MBA applications tend to move counter to the markets. Historically, demand has risen in times of turmoil, including during the financial crisis of 2007-08, as workers facing redundancy sought to upskill, ready to hit the labor market for when the recovery kicked in. 

With America shedding 701,000 jobs in early March and unemployment spiraling, the economic outlook looks dismal. However, the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, and the full extent of the economic damage is unknown, making decisions difficult for prospective students. 

It’s also unclear whether business school campuses will be open for the start of the fall semester. With questions over whether online instruction can match the quality of in person education, and concerns about MBA jobs prospects, some may consider the MBA a devalued asset. 

Schools are already reporting requests for tuition fee refunds and application deferrals to 2021 when prospects hope for a clearer picture of the situation. 

Nevertheless, David White, founding partner of Menlo Coaching, an admissions consulting firm in the Netherlands, expects MBA applications to increase. Menlo Coaching has seen more inquiries than usual lately, he says. 

“Although applicants have legitimate concerns about fall 2020 programming being held virtually, they also recognize that Covid-19 is causing major disruptions in the job market. 

“The MBA remains equally attractive, maybe even more attractive, if compared to an economic scenario where bonuses, promotions and job switching is much less likely. Students may also estimate that a recovery would begin by the time they graduate in 2022.” 

2. MBA student diversity

Schools are expecting a less diverse class for the fall semester. Embassies and consulates are closed, so visa processing has ground to a halt. Airplanes remain grounded across the globe, meaning study trips, a major component of an MBA, are also cancelled. 

Eric Cornuel, president of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) in Brussels, says: “Many schools will turn back to national and regional students to compensate for the disruption to global mobility.”  

However, schools are taking action to hedge their bets. Harvard Business School has a longer wait-list this year, a list of applicants who may be offered a place in future if space in the class becomes available. The idea is to keep a larger number of domestic applicants available to enroll if overseas students cannot get visas to come to Boston in the fall. 

Business schools face the challenge of adapting their admissions policy to account for the coronavirus crisis while striving to maintain entrance standards.  

Many have launched an extra admissions round or are extending current rounds by two or three months to give themselves and students more time to complete the admissions process. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business launched a one-off fourth round of applications, adding an extra 60 days to the cycle. 

With admissions test centers temporarily closed around the world, several schools are being more flexible in their admissions policy and accepting applicants without standardized test scores, including INSEAD, London Business School and the Rotterdam School of Management in Europe. 

However, the GRE test can now be taken online and the GMAT should be online by mid-April

3. A shift online

Will Dawes, research and insight manager at the Association of MBAs (AMBA) in London, expects a rise in applications for online courses as more people are forced to work from home because of COVID-19. They may therefore feel more confident in studying virtually. 

“Business schools, like all organizations, are having to find innovative ways to adapt,” he says. 

Eric too says the accelerated switch to online instruction after years of slow uptake among schools and students is a “silver living in [a] dire situation”.

However, the crisis has raised questions over whether online instruction can match the in-person experience. Cultivating a professional network, sitting cheek by jowl with classmates from around the world, is a hallmark of an MBA. The consensus is that online learning has not replicated this. 

“Schools are eager to return to in-person programming, and I expect them to do so as soon as this is a responsible option,” says David from Menlo Coaching. “Schools know that full-time students prefer in-person experiences.” 

Short-term, much will depend on whether schools can successfully adapt teaching and operations online. Already, the whole MBA application process has gone digital, with schools conducting video interviews and virtual campus tours.

Looking forward, the coronavirus crisis will stretch the finances of some business schools, with job losses and even closures being predicted. However, Eric from EFMD says that if business schools are flexible and innovative with their MBA programs, they will survive.

Read our coronavirus coverage:

Live updates: Coronavirus impact on business schools

Live: GMAT testing updates

2020 MBA Application Deadlines

Wharton Launches Virtual MBA Campus Tour

April 17 Roundup

Wharton Launches Virtual Campus Tour

Meeting in person is off the table and business schools around the world have had to adapt their approach to attracting prospective MBA students.

The challenges brought by COVID-19 has pushed innovation to the fore, and the Wharton School is rolling out a brand new offering for prospective students. Drum roll please. 

The live virtual campus tour led by a Wharton MBA student goes live on April 21st at 12:30PM Eastern Time. 

First-year MBA student Caitlin Lohrenz will walk participants through Wharton’s newly-released virtual tour, giving commentary along the way, just as she would if they were walking through campus in person. She’ll discuss student activities, academics, commuting, and more. After the tour ends, she will answer prospective student questions live.

Value Of An MBA For Women

The ability for students to meet in person and attend classes on campus may have diminished amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but the value of an MBA remains, especially for women in business. 

Though achieving a universal gender balance is a slow and arduous process, some schools are making big strides when it comes to gender parity. 

Since 2019 the MBA cohort at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales Business School in Sydney, Australia, has consisted of 50% women, placing it among the top 10 MBA programs for women in the world two years running.

Each year, Women in Leadership (WIL) scholarships of $50,000 and $25,000 AUD ($30,300 and $15,150 US) are offered to women with outstanding achievements in leadership, career progression, and global citizenship.


Cranfield School of Management tells a similar story when it comes to bolstering the careers of women in business. 

MSc in Management graduate Shivanshi Sharma (pictured below) secured an internship at the The Security Institute, which she landed through the Cranfield Career Development Service.


She says the network she built in the UK has given her confidence when she thinks about her future. The People Management and Leadership (PML) module was particularly useful when she put together and presented her five-year marketing strategy to The Security Institute CEO during her internship. 

“My CEO actually took me to a directors’ meeting, where I got to present my plan to 13 other directors who work across security non-profit organizations––definitely an advantageous networking opportunity.”

Britain’s response to coronavirus is reminiscent of response to Spanish Flu

Tania Jain (pictured), a fellow in management from the London School of Economics’ Department of Management, claims Britain’s lacking response to the COVID-19 pandemic is reminiscent of their response to the Spanish Flu, more than 100 years ago.


Britain’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been atypical even amongst western countries, she explains. As it did during the Spanish Flu, Britain began by underestimating the seriousness of the crisis to keep public morale in check before introducing strict regulations. 

Other nations, particularly in the East, have had quicker and sharper responses. For instance, South Korea and Singapore have had mass rapid testing, Japan has mass produced much needed personal protective equipment, and Taiwan have been prompt in surveillance and contact screening. Even Germany have beat Britain in testing capacity, allowing them to achieve low mortality rates.

How To Lead During A Crisis

As a former communications director for the White House, David Demarest knows a thing or two about managing crises. 

The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) lecturer of management shares his crisis leadership playbook.

Leave a comment.

Maximum 1000 characters 

Unlock the next step in your career