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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COVID-19 Will Change The Future Masters Study Model

May 13 Roundup 


New research shows shift to more flexible masters programs 

According to new research from CarringtonCrisp, COVID-19 is going to shape the future model for masters’ programs. 

The 2020 Tomorrow’s Masters study, in association with EFMD, reveals there’s more demand for shorter and more flexible learning options and the need for business schools to speed up the diversification of their programs is heightened by the pandemic. 



“Competition from traditional providers in global markets, from online providers and from new private entrants offering degrees and alternative qualifications are likely to mean that prospective students will be able to shop around to get the best value for their spend,” says author of the study, Andrew Crisp. “While that does not always mean the cheapest degree around, students will be very focused on outcomes.” 

Of the 1,041 students across 35 countries involved in the study, 36% are interested in digital learning and 33% would consider short online courses as alternatives to full-time degrees. Interest in blended learning programs has almost doubled since 2019, from 7% to 12% 

“Even before the pandemic, there was growing interest in alternatives to traditional business masters degrees, partly driven by concerns about rising living costs and fees,” he adds. “Modular study options, where students get to tailor their course to suit them, will become more prevalent long-term,” Andrew adds.  


Wharton Reveals AI For Business Offering 

Wharton MBA alum Tao Zhang and Selina Chin, donated $5 million to establish the business school’s AI for Business course. Led by AI expert, professor Kartik Hosanagar, the course will enable students to explore digital transformation in business.   

Tao is a 2002 alum who previously served as co-chairman and co-CEO of Chinese internet company and platform, Meituan-Dianping. Selina graduated the same year and went to serve as the China chief financial officer and vice president of finance for Goodyear Tires & Rubber Co.  

“Selina and I share experience and interest in management, tech, startups, and opportunities for leadership in global business which comes together in AI,” says Tao. “Wharton is the ideal setting for us to enable these experiences for such talented students and renowned faculty. We are proud to be engaged with the school and to be a part of jump-starting AI for Business.” 




“The advances made possible by artificial intelligence hold the potential to vastly improve lives and business processes,” addWharton Dean Geoff Garrett. “Our students, faculty, and industry partners are eager to join in our AI knowledge creation efforts to more deeply explore how machine learning will impact the future for everyone. We are deeply grateful to Tao and Selina for so generously enabling us to explore this opportunity and get AI for Business underway.” 

AI for Business will include the development of new coursework for undergraduates and postgraduates, covering the implications of AI technology, competitive strategy, and the impact on society, run collaboratively with professionals worldwide through executive education.

“Our students and professors are energized by the idea that AI is influencing nearly every aspect of humanity and our efforts to understand it can make a difference for years to come,” says Kartik. “I’m very excited to help lead AI for Business since the future of machine learning is happening now ­– there are unlimited entry points for experiential learning to explore the topic.” 


ISB 100th School To Win Triple Accreditation 

The Indian School of Business (ISB) has been awarded accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA). It’s now the 100th school in the world to achieve the triple crown––accredited by AMBA, EQUIS, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)––joining the likes of IE Business School, University of St. Gallen, and Singapore Management University.  



“I would like to congratulate ISB on becoming the milestone 100th triple crown school,” says Andrew Main Wilson, CEO of AMBA & BGA. “They have now joined an outstanding group of schools who are justifiably proud of their triple crown status.” 

All ISB MBA students and alumni are now a part of AMBA’s global member community, which involves 49,000 students and alumni across 150 countries, with networking, thought leadership, career development, and a variety of benefits.

Read more about the MBA at ISB

Business Schools Hope To Start On-Campus Programs In September

May 12 Roundup


Business Schools Hope To Start On-Campus Programs In September

Only 6% of business schools globally plan to shift campus-based programs online in September, according to a survey of 227 schools by AACSB. The survey asked schools whether they are offering usually face-to-face programs virtually in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

While 95% of schools with terms beginning in the month of May are offering courses and programs online, this figure drops to 76% in June, 62% in July, and down to 6% by September.

While schools are considering online options, they are not committed to a move online and are still hopeful of a return to face-to-face teaching by the time most business school (MBA and master’s) programs start.

Aside from moving programs online, schools are also considering modularizing the term into multiple smaller sessions, and/or deferring start dates. 


How is COVID-19 impacting the international jobs market? Register for tomorrow’s FREE WEBINAR to find out! 

Hosted by BusinessBecause editor Marco De Novellis and EDHEC Business School careers center director Jerome Troiano, our webinar can help you when applying for jobs at the world’s leading multinational companies. 

Our live webinar on May 13 will take you through the five steps to launching an international career. You’ll:

- Discover how to tailor your CV when applying for jobs internationally.

- Gain insider tips on recruitment strategies for international companies. 

- Find out how a Master in Management program can open doors to a global career.

- Get to ask our expert panelists your questions.

Time: 1pm (UK, BST), 2pm (CET)


The problem with working from home


German b-school predicts soccer clubs will go bust!

The German Bundesliga (Germany’s top soccer league) is one of the few globally to be starting again in May as the country lifts coronavirus restrictions. However, German soccer clubs are at risk according to a report by HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, which analyzed the sustainability of the clubs from the 1st and 2nd division of the Bundesliga using publicly available market data. 

The school says six German clubs are threatened by bankruptcy—including Schalke and Union Berlin—and another seven are at risk. The clubs require further professionalization in the areas of finance, management and player-talent development, according to the report.


4 common reactions to COVID-19

Bloomberg MBA Ranking Cancelled, But FT’s Executive Education Ranking Released Today

May 11 Roundup


Business School Rankings Face COVID-19 Disruption

In April, top business school industry bodies—GMAC, AACSB, and EFMD—requested that business school rankings providers—including the Financial Times and Bloomberg—suspend rankings this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic. They argued the pandemic could alter key metrics that rankings institutions rely on to produce their respective data sets.

Then, last week, Bloomberg Businessweek became the first organization to announce it would suspend its 2020 MBA ranking. The reasons they gave include:

Respecting the wishes of business schools and industry bodies like GMAC.

Avoiding adding workload to business school staff, required to complete lengthy surveys to compile rankings data.

Data collected would be overwhelmingly impacted by the pandemic and not show the true differences between schools

Instead, Bloomberg have asked schools to participate in a student survey on online learning during the pandemic. Students will be asked about their online learning experience. Bloomberg will publish aggregated results of student questions, and will not use the data to make comparisons between schools.

It seemed like rankings providers may suspend their activities during the pandemic. However, the Financial Times has today released its Executive Education Rankings, based on ratings provided by corporate clients.

Read our coverage of the Financial Times Executive Education Rankings


CEIBS holds first online EMBA class


Gies College of Business launches $10k Online MiM

The University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business is launching a new online Master of Science in Management degree (iMSM), which costs just over $10,000. You can apply to the one-year Online MiM from June 1 with the program starting in October. 

The new iMSM is offered in partnership with Coursera and open to students from any educational or industry background. In additional to foundational courses in accounting and finance, iMSM students will take a series of fundamental management classes, including leadership and teams, marketing management, strategic management, and process management. 

Students also have the opportunity to customize their degree by taking elective courses focused on global business challenges as well as data-driven decision making and communications.


Indian business school launches ‘Term Zero’ initiative for incoming students

India’s Great Lakes Institute of Management has launched an initiative to support incoming students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the school’s academic year start deferred to August 2020, incoming students have access to a series of interactive online study sessions hosted by industry experts. These include professors from NYU Stern, Harvard, Stanford, and the dean of Chicago Booth, as well as leading execs from Nestle India and Accenture.

Other Term Zero sessions include Masterclasses in Marketing, Finance and Accounting, Operations, and Analytics, Workshops in R and Python, Case Analysis Workshops and live discussions, Resume-writing workshops, interactive sessions with alumni and digital student icebreakers. 


AMBA launches podcast

Meet The MBA Supporting JD.com’s Global Expansion During Coronavirus

Alex Rudnicki lives in Beijing with his wife and three cats. On conference calls with government officials and executives from top multinational firms for his job at Chinese tech giant JD.com, a stray cat has been known to walk across his video screen.

Alex was in Thailand during the Chinese New Year when coronavirus, or COVID-19, first broke out in China. His boss allowed him to stay, but as the virus spread he returned to join his wife in Beijing. Just weeks later, China closed its doors refusing entry to non-Chinese nationals—Alex still has friends stuck outside the country.

In Beijing, he says, life is basically normal. The city never had a Wuhan-style lockdown. Even at the peak of the crisis, people were still able to leave their homes taking the usual precautions—masks and temperature checks in public places.

If anything, work has gotten busier during the coronavirus pandemic. JD.com is the largest retailer in China and the third largest internet company by revenue in the world after Amazon and Google. Governments and companies across the world have looked to China, and JD.com, to source masks and other personal protective equipment. “It’s been a little crazy!” Alex smiles.

As associate director of JD.com’s International Corporate Development team, he’s committed to driving the company’s international expansion. It’s a dream job, he says, and one he owes “one hundred percent” to his MBA.


china mbaAlex's home office during Chinese New Year


Why do an MBA in China?

Like many of his peers, after studying business and economics at undergrad, Alex thought he’d pursue a career in finance and become an investment banker. But in 2012, the US economy was still struggling with the aftermath of the financial crisis, and getting a finance job was tricky.

Alex got into digital advertising sales at reviews platform Yelp in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, where he learned how to sell and managed a team of 14 people. Considering whether to pursue a future promotion to sales director, he decided the time had come to take his career in a different direction. Alex saw an MBA as an opportunity to pivot his career to do what he really wanted to do: take up a strategic role in a technology company.

Alex knew about the Tsinghua Global MBA at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management before enrolling. His now father-in-law is Steven White, associate professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at Tsinghua. 


home mba thesis

Alex writing his thesis in a small village by the Great Wall


The MBA program is also run in partnership with MIT Sloan, giving students the option to go to MIT to complete a dual degree (Tsinghua MBA + MIT Master of Science in Management Studies) in their second year.

Alex compared Tsinghua to other international schools and US schools like Stanford, but with the added bonus of a full tuition scholarship and support from the Chinese government, Tsinghua stood out.

“It was also clear to me that the world’s economic center was shifting to Asia,” he explains. “At the time, I only really knew about China from reading the Economist and discussions with my father-in-law, so I thought: What would my experience be like if came to Beijing?

“I’d always wanted to live abroad and the MBA seemed like the ideal way to kickstart an international career. My thought was if I go to Tsinghua and China is a terrible fit, I will go to MIT for the second year and I’ll be back in the US. I’ll have two excellent brand names on my resume; I’ll have had an interesting experience; and I’ll be able to go back to Silicon Valley and do something more strategic in tech. Any downside was completely capped.

“The upside was: What if this is a game-changing career move and the MBA is the way I can unlock that?"

Three days after getting married, Alex and his wife left their home and jobs in San Francisco behind. “We went straight from our wedding to honeymoon in France,” he says, “and literally with the same bags we went to Beijing!”


China MBA experience

Alex arrived in China on a tourist visa three months before the Tsinghua MBA program started, using the time to take Mandarin classes five days a week. Even so, his first few months in Beijing, with little Mandarin, were a challenge. “The first time we went to a store, it took us maybe two hours to translate labels and know what the heck we were buying!” Alex laughs.

“Finding communication difficult was the fuel to study every day. I also found the best method to studying Chinese was talking with the Beijing taxi drivers. They are so bored they are willing to humor you even if you’re spewing terrible Chinese!”

In the MBA program, Alex quickly benefitted from the close network of MBA students. He says Tsinghua has a good balance of internationals and  Chinese students who are both keen to learn from their international counterparts and happy to share their own Chinese cultural knowledge.

“It would take 10 or 20 years for me to learn what I learned in two years from my classmates,” he says.


x-lab tsinghua mba

Alex with young entrepreneurs at X-Lab


Alex also mentored young Chinese entrepreneurs through X-Lab, Tsinghua’s startup incubator, which provides students and alumni with free office space in the Tsinghua Science Park as well as an ecosystem of mentors, professors, industry professionals, lawyers, and investors ready to support them.

He says this experience, plus two MBA classes in particular, set him up for his job at JD.com. One was a class on design thinking by Steven White, which teaches students how to build products and services that meet the consumers’ needs by working with social enterprises.

The other was a class on international technology strategy taught by Christopher Thomas, global managing partner of digital strategy at McKinsey and former general manager for Intel in China.

“The first case study we did was on Tencent—known for making the WeChat app—and why they failed to internationalize,” Alex explains.

“The takeaway was, to succeed despite the intense level of competition in China they had to gear the entire company towards building products that fit China like a glove, and because China is so different to the West, it’s hard for one company to do both well. And, actually, with so many opportunities to disrupt huge industries dominated by the state-owned sector in China, it’s still very rational for China’s tech giants to be more focused on China than to look at potentially riskier bets overseas.

“That’s basically the innovator’s dilemma, but for an entire country! I personally experienced that at JD.com as the company refined its international strategy, and Christopher was the perfect person to learn from.”


design thinking tsinghua mba

Design Thinking class: Final presentation


Dream MBA job at JD.com

Alex knew JD.com was recruiting from the Tsinghua MBA program and, as soon as a job description went live, he was able to get an interview within a couple of days. A week later, he was accepted for an internship.

He started on JD.com’s summer MBA internship program, but even as an intern he was leading meetings and working on projects with American Fortune 50 partner companies.

“That showed me that being in China there’s a lot of opportunities to level-up your career and do much more interesting things than you would back in America, simply because there aren’t that many westerners able to work in the Chinese work environment.”

Alex joined JD.com full-time after his MBA, joining their one-year international management trainee rotation program for MBAs. The program gives trainees access to leadership across departments, helps them understand the company’s internal structure and motivations of different business units, and eventually to choose the right team and boss to join full time.

In January 2020, he found his dream role in the international corporate development team, where he works with the team to set international expansion strategy, manage strategic partnership launches, and liaise with foreign governments.


Tsinghua MBA graduation day

Alex on graduation day with his wife and father-in-law


Working in China is different to working elsewhere, Alex says. He’s been fortunate that his boss at JD.com—an American fully integrated in China—has helped him to adapt. “I thought people work hard in Silicon Valley; in China it’s on another level!” he laughs. “People are happy to make personal sacrifices to make the team goal happen and I am lucky to be working for a boss who respects both hard work and weekends."

For foreigners considering a new career in China, Alex says the decision has to be taken carefully but that the rewards are there.

“This is not the easy way to go about life. It takes a certain type of crazy to pick up from working in Silicon Valley, for example, and move away from that to pursue a career path that requires a large investment upfront in a foreign language and cultural immersion with the goal to differentiate yourself long term,” he says.

“But for people with a few years of work experience under their belts who want to build an international career with a focus on Asia, I’m not sure there is a better way to do it than at an MBA program like Tsinghua’s. That two-year ramp-up period and network is so valuable to get your feet on the ground.”

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