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


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MBAs Jobs Prospects Strong Despite Coronavirus, Says Top Careers Director

With class of 2020 graduation dates just passed, business school students may be worried about the impact of coronavirus on MBA jobs prospects. But according to Doreen Amorosa, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business' career center associate dean and managing director, MBA grads are still in a good position to bolster their careers.

“Employers generally hire MBAs to strengthen their leadership talent pipelines,” Doreen explains. “Even during difficult times, opportunities exist. MBAs need to be nimble, diligent, and disciplined in the hunt for jobs right now, and we are witnessing wins every day by our students.” 

MBAs around the world have nonetheless expressed concern, comparing the job market to the uncertainty MBAs faced in 2008 after the financial crash. The IMF also anticipates a 3% drop in the global economy this yeara steeper downturn than ‘08So, are concerns well-founded? 

Where are the MBA jobs? 

Major MBA recruiters, such as Google, Amazon, BCG, and Goldman Sachs haven’t reported any hiring impacts so far, but the likes of Facebook, LEK Consulting, and Johnson & Johnson have reportedly canceled interviews and rescinded offers for internships scheduled to run over the summer months.  

Doreen explains that for McDonough MBAs consulting and investment banking positions for the year have largely been filled, and that these firms––more often than not––have honored their job offer commitments. Healthcare, technology, and e-commerce are all under increased strain due to increased consumer demand, and are looking for workers as a result. 

“However, hiring has dramatically slowed down in the hospitality, retail, and transportation sectors,” she continues. “Real estate hiring is paused, but the expectation is that it will pick up soon. Small companies in some sectors aren’t faring as well as large companies.” 

McDonough School of Business lists among its top MBA employers the likes of Bank of America, EY, and Microsoft. Graduates could therefore be in a strong position to secure roles with these firms, which are operating in less affected global markets.  

The number of secured placements for the class of 2020 are almost at the same levels as they were the year before, Doreen adds. 

“Given the current environment, we are advising students who are still seeking jobs to play to their strengths and seek jobs where they can make an immediate impact,” she says. 

Navigating job market uncertainty 

Even at times of crisis when everyday life seems to have screeched to a halt, there are still opportunities to be found. Even during the financial crisis, Wall Street continued to recruit for critical positions, Doreen emphasizes.  

So far, the McDonough School of Business 2021 cohort isn’t seeing too many interruptions to internship programs students had secured prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, for those students who have been affected, Doreen says the school is encouraging them to be creative and secure whatever valuable experiences they can.  

“Consider crafting a summer experience that combines project work, educational or technical training, and volunteerism,” she says.  

Future employers will appreciate the willingness to be creative when building up your portfolio of experience. Times such as now, as the pandemic rages on, make it so the conventional path MBA students take to secure job roles in their chosen industries simply isn’t possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  

“At this very unique time in history, our goal is for all second-year students to have compelling stories to tell employers when they begin their full-time job searches in the fall, Doreen says.

Read how McDonough is supporting its MBAs on page 2

Support from McDonough School of Business 

Georgetown has an ethos of Hoyas Helping Hoyas––and Doreen says this has been shown tenfold by McDonough alumni who are supporting current full-time MBA students.  

“It’s been amazing,” she says. “Jobs, internships, and short-term virtual projects have been posted. Resume books have been requested. Hoyas have offered to open their LinkedIn networks, conduct virtual mentoring, deliver technical training, and provide industry insights.” 

Doreen’s role, fortunately, is just as impactful online. She explains the MBA career center is fully operational and offers virtual interview practice––online networking events and coffee chats––as virtual networking becomes the new norm. 

"Through Zoom, we can seamlessly share documents, such as cover letters or resumes, conduct mock interviews, and hold job search strategy sessions. Zoom also works well for presentations, webinars, and career programming.”  

So, according to Doreen, there are still plenty of opportunities for MBA graduates this summer––you’ve just got to be a little bit more creative in your approach. 

COVID-19: Is Now A Good Time For An MBA?

Is it a good idea to apply to business school during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dear BusinessBecause, 

I have five years' experience in mechanical engineering, and was hoping to do a one-year MBA program to change fields.

Given the current situation, should I still pursue an MBA program this year? Will I miss out on anything if I have to take the MBA remotely?

The Answer

This week's Applicant Question is answered by Andrea Flores, global head of admissions and enrolment at IE Business School

Deciding to move forward with one’s original plans, when all we hear around us is pessimism, takes courage, but putting a hold on an education that will train you for the future is hardly an option worth considering.

Engineers are highly qualified professionals with superior technical skills but who lack, in most cases, a solid and profound business acumen. 

Technical skills combined with top managerial skills are a powerful combination, and one of the most demanded profiles in the job market today. 

Industries and sectors are being reinvented thanks to technology, but with digital transformation also comes human transformation, and this is the biggest challenge of all.

An MBA is a journey that is meant to transform the way you face new business challenges; this pandemic and its consequences on our economy is one of them. 

Now more than ever, considering an MBA is a great option. 

It will be a place where you will broaden your horizon at an intellectual, practical, and social level.

IE Business School program options

At IE Business School, we offer two MBA options. Our Tech MBA, a STEM profile oriented one-year full-time MBA, is aimed towards shaping the leaders of the technology sector or who are involved in technology-related functions. 

It was designed to provide a learning journey across the areas of technology, management, and transformational leadership, creating professionals who can adapt to the fast and continuous pace of technological evolution. 

This program allows you to earn a very strategic positioning in a highly competitive environment. 

Alternatively, our International MBA, the one-year full-time program, allows you to develop your leadership skills in a highly diverse environment. This program prioritizes hands-on learning as well as customization, you can create an experience of your own.

Perhaps an MBA is a safe bet in the economic climate. But, you might also be wondering about the experience of an MBA program these days. 

How will it be affected if you need to start the program remotely? 

My best recommendation here is to get to know your school’s plan in detail. As there is no precedent, business schools are finding themselves reinventing everything they held true prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Got a question of your own?

Diversifying the way you learn at IE

For IE Business School and IE University, the pandemic brought an opportunity to take the lead in reinventing higher education. Our promise is to deliver the same experience online as face-to-face. 

We will be able to achieve that by putting into practice our new Liquid Learning philosophy. We have embarked on a journey of program redesign that aims to transcend the barriers of face to face vs online formats, curricular vs extracurricular, and professor vs student led learning exercises. 

As of fall 2020, we will be taking the meaning of hands-on to the next level. Our Liquid Learning will be based on a robust implementation of our hybrid methodology. By hybrid, we don't mean taking traditional business school case-method approach to online classes. Our methodology will be based on three pillars:

1) Active learning: Continuous engagement and development of critical thinking skills. Implemented through synchronous and asynchronous class discussions, group debates, peer-to-peer evaluations, and personalized feedback from professors in a multi-platform environment––beyond the typical class schedule.

2) Real world practices: Encouraging trial and error practice, career development, and networking. Implemented through multimedia cases, professor-led simulations, personalized career advising, company sessions, and student run networking activities.

3) Flexibility: Adapting to the new reality and providing students options that easily adapt to their circumstances. This doesn't mean we intend to minimize the importance of an on-campus experience. 

In fact, full-time programs will continue to lay their foundations on this given it is one of the main deciding factors when choosing Madrid. However, we want to guarantee that, no matter the external factors (e.g. second outbreak, job interview outside Madrid, personal force majeure, among others), our students can continue their education with the same level of quality, rigor, and engagement.

Read More About IE's Liquid Learning

IE liquid learning article

IE University was among the first universities in the world to advocate for high-quality and interactive online education. Over 20 years ago, the journey started by launching MBA programs based on distance-learning format. 

Today, we're ready to continue bringing innovative pedagogical and networking tools, where the digital and face-to-face worlds blend into one. This isn't just a contingency plan; it's our way of challenging the higher-education status quo. 

We're prepared to deliver on-campus and remote experiences. Our aim is to prepare you for the future challenges and to help you face this new reality with resilience and equipped with the best tools to succeed.

Ask an admissions expert a question

Next week, you'll have the chance to ask Dr. Thierry Post, a member of the admissions committee for the Master's in Finance at Nazarbayev University's Graduate School of Business, anything you want about getting into business school.Dr Thierry Post, of Nazarbayev university business school

As well as selecting students for the schools Master's in Finance program, Thierry acts as head of the accounting and finance department.   

Prior to joining Nazarbayev University, Thierry acted as professor of finance at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. 

He has lectured at institutions including Cass Business School in London, and worked in asset management. 

What Is The Impact Of Coronavirus On MBA Jobs Prospects In 2020?

At this time of year, graduating MBA students are usually rubbing their hands together, looking forward to launching the careers they’d dreamed of the day they set foot in business school. 2020 is a little different. 

The coronavirus pandemic means this year’s graduating class face obstacles in the form of hiring freezes, furloughed staff, a damaged economy, and certain industries in free fall. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that the global economy will contract by up to 3% in 2020, which is much worse than the 2008 financial crisis. 

As unemployment rates rise and companies strategize to overcome the challenges imposed by the pandemic, what will the prospects be for graduating MBAs?

MBA jobs in 2020

To quell the spread of the virus borders have been tightened, international mobility has plummeted, and sports venues worldwide shut. 

It’s no surprise then that the transportation, hospitality, and professional sports industries have been heavily hit. MBA graduates targeting those industries may have to put their plans on hold or look for alternative career opportunities. 

Even if some countries reopen to international tourism this summer, it’s unlikely the travel industry will recover at a pace that creates a plethora of jobs this year. 

Delta Airlines has introduced a hiring freeze, as has JetBlue, according to a document obtained by Poets & Quants . It adds that Marriott is rescinding internship offers, as is NBC Sports.

Dominic Prosser of Exeter Business School thinks it's too early to know the impact of covid

Dominic Prosser (pictured below), MBA careers coach at the University of Exeter Business School, says an inevitable recession post-coronavirus will disrupt recruitment in the same way the 2008 financial crisis did, and possible more deeply. How the labor market recovered in 2008 will help us anticipate what is to come beyond the pandemic. 

In 2008, the worst jobs cuts took place at investment banks, technology firms, and chemical and pharmaceutical companies, as well as the media—where vacancies halved during the course of two recruitment rounds. 

This time around, however, it’s likely that the travel, airline, leisure, and hospitality sectors will be the worst affected, as the pandemic puts severe restrictions on global movement and social distancing measures deeply hurt restaurants, bars, and hotels. In contrast, the same technology and pharmaceutical industries that saw drastic cuts following 2008 could find themselves buoyant. 

Firms like Zoom, a video conferencing company, and Slack, an office communications tool, have seen their stocks rise during the crisis. Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies will also need experienced, trained management professionals to manage the race for a vaccine and the global strain on hospitals and medical providers.

industries with the best and worst job prospects 2020

The banking sector could also see a spike in recruitment. In the UK, for example, in the last three years new tech roles in banks have increased by 46%, according to a new report by global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis experts Vacancy Soft. 

That is set to be amplified by the COVID-19 crisis. Tom Chambers, senior manager for technology at Robert Walters says that “lockdown and social distancing measures mean that banks have had no choice but to scale back their retail operations, instead pushing customers towards digital platforms.”

Robert Walters analysts predict that online banking penetration will reach 90% by the end of 2020, driven mainly by COVID-19—business school graduates may look attractive prospects to banks grappling with increased digitalization.   

“At Exeter our 2020 MBAs have nurtured their skills in resilience, change management, and self-awareness,” Dominic explains. “This will fortify them with the adaptability and tenacity required to navigate what will inevitably be a challenging jobs market for several years to come.”

Bain, BCG & McKinsey: How are the consulting firms holding up?

The consulting industry is likely to benefit from the downturn in other sectors. As companies look to recover from the impact of the pandemic they may turn to the expertise and insights offered by consultants to help steady the ship.

At the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) virtual recruiting is well underway. The company say they are utilizing technology to connect with candidates regardless of where they are, addressing their questions and providing insight on the latest opportunities available at the firm. 

They are also paying strict attention to federal, state, and local authorities as they consider their reopening and campus engagement plans. But any concrete plans for this are as yet unannounced. 


What Does It Take To Be A Management Consultant? | Bain's Chief Recruiter

McKinsey’s Global Head Of Recruitment Tells You How To Get Hired

McKinsey takes a through cycle approach to hiring, meaning they are continuing to recruit. They are also honoring the offers already extended to full-time consultants as well as summer interns. The firm doesn't see any major changes to their hiring approach and have no plans to cut staff.

McKinsey’s summer internship program is continuing, with health and safety measures in place. The North American internship program has begun and is fully virtual, with the third and final group set to start at the end of June. 

The company is also planning to recruit at typical levels this Fall. Many school career services are asking employers to recruit virtually through to the end of 2020 for health and safety concerns, and so McKinsey’s hiring will follow suit until at least the end of the year. 

A lot of hiring at Bain & Company had already taken place before the pandemic hit. Keith Bevans, global head of consultant recruiting at Bain, explains that for graduates full-time recruiting typically happens in the fall—MBA internship recruiting happens primarily in January.

He adds that those already with offers before the pandemic hit will be onboarded virtually and that their work will be carried out online like the rest of the industry.

Should MBAs be worried?

A Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey snapshot of more than 1,000 prospective b-school candidates showed that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has amplified the concerns candidates have over the jobs market. 

The proportion of b-school candidates that said the job market was an area of concern due to COVID-19 increased from 13% on March 15th 2020 to 51% on April 15th—for MBA candidates specifically, that figure rose to 53%.

Hamza is an MBA graduate from Cambridge

Should MBA graduates be worried about their job prospects this year? If they had their sights set on the travel, hospitality, or sports industries, then the heavy impact on these sectors may take its toll. 

Nonetheless, healthcare, technology, and consulting firms may see an uptick in the number of hires, especially the latter. An MBA could in fact help you stand out in the crowded jobs market to come. 

Hamza Mudassir (pictured right), an MBA graduate from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, believes consulting firms will require MBA graduates as they grapple with one of the key challenges to come out of the pandemic for businesses: digital transformation. 

The MBA taught him how digital business models work, as well as giving him a helicopter view of an entire business. He believes digital savvy MBA grads will be in high demand in the next few years. 

That’s because the operational ability of a business now rests on its digital infrastructure, as entire workforces work remotely, and international business trips are replaced by virtual conference calls.

Chris Garnett (pictured below, right), head of postgrad careers and employability at Alliance Manchester Business School, echoes Hamza’s point. Although he says that recent graduates are naturally worried and need to be flexible and pragmatic in their approach to their post-MBA career, the value of the degree goes far beyond their first job out of business school. 

“Whilst you may need to reassess in the short term, you have invested in yourself and your career for the long term, and that will pay dividends,” he says. 

Chris believes the MBA will have a lot of value post-pandemic

“Everything is changing around us so much at the moment that it’s hard to not be concerned, but for people considering doing an MBA there is a strong argument that leaving the job market for a while at the moment makes sense.”

Whereas 10 years ago, post-financial crash, some governments opted for austerity measures, this time around they seem to have agreed that stimulus is the best way forward—that can only be good for business, says Tony Somers, employer engagement director at HEC Paris’ Career Center.

At HEC Paris, he says that they are receiving (so far) few, if any negative signals regarding recruitment in Fall 2020. Virtual recruiting activities will become the dominant feature of the recruitment cycle, leading to a possible change in the way recruiting is conducted.

READ MORE: Bain, BCG, McKinsey: How To Get Hired By The Big Three Consulting Firms

bain, bcg, and mckinsey are frequent hirers of MBA graduates

The future of MBA recruiting

Companies do need to rethink the way they recruit during the pandemic, with face-to-face interviews and campus hiring not currently an option. Highered, a global talent platform, and EFMD, a management development nonprofit, have launched the EFMD Virtual Career Fair Series in response. 

In the first series around 100 companies signed up to the virtual career fairs, and over 25,000 students met with 800 recruiters. Companies from Bloomberg to Coca Cola, KPMG, Amazon, and Heineken have taken part, connecting with students from schools such as Cass Business School, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), BI Norwegian Business School, and Singapore Management University (SMU).

Students can access the fairs from their tablets, smartphones, or desktops. As if it was a standard recruiting event, they can access company ‘stands’, chat with recruiters, view and apply to jobs.

The CEO of Highered, Bernt Blankholm, explains that it removes the need for companies to visit only a select number of campuses, and expands the reach for business schools who might only hold recruiting fairs with local companies. It puts them all in the one place. 

Companies Signed Up To The Virtual Careers Fair

list of companies hiring from the virtual careers fair

There’s also the sustainability aspect, he adds, of removing the need for companies to spend vast sums on flying their recruiters around the world for campus recruitment. 

It’s a sign of the accelerated innovation needed to adapt and thrive throughout the coronavirus pandemic. “We needed to help our students find jobs and virtual fairs are the way to go,” says Bernt. 

He hopes it will become the future of recruiting. It’s something that brings more value to both sides and evens the playing field. You have companies that will only go to certain schools to recruit, but the virtual career fairs mean they can meet up to 100 schools in one place. 

“When you look back this is one of the things that has come out of the pandemic—it has forced us into becoming digital. I think the whole MBA and international education will come out stronger, because it’s more apparent that you will be able to recruit internationally without it costing a fortune in travel.” 

Find out more about the Value Of An MBA in a crisis

Coronavirus: How MBA Students Are Helping Startups In A Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has caused shockwaves to the global economy. According to McKinsey, it’s businesses with less than $20 million in annual revenue that have been disproportionately affected. 

For many business school students around the world, this has been a cause for concern and they’ve been looking at ways to help.

In the US, a team of MBA students from various schools have joined forces to launch the Small Business School Challenge—a virtual workshop where MBA students are paired with small businesses to work out solutions to the challenges they’re facing.

At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, students from Stanford GSB launched Giftcard Bank, a platform where people can donate gift cards to those most affected by the pandemic.

These are just some of the initiatives that are helping connect business school students to local businesses, as well as helping those most in need. 

Case study: Nyenrode Business Universiteit

Consulting service for startups

In the Netherlands, like much of Europe, it’s smaller businesses and entrepreneurs that are suffering most. In fact, 85% of entrepreneurs in the country are reporting or expecting financial difficulties.

In light of this, a group of students from Nyenrode Business Universiteit, which has campuses in Amsterdam & Breukelen, have been using their learning to give back and help local small businesses.

Setting up a free or ‘pay what you can’ consultancy service, called The Fac, Nyenrode students been offering their skills to local Dutch entrepreneurs.

The service relies on over 40 students from a mixture of programs at the school, with backing from four experienced entrepreneurs to offer extra guidance.

After being put in touch with clients who’ve requested assistance, the students work on offering financial advice, help with government schemes, and also creative brainstorming and marketing. So far, they’ve helped over 100 different businesses.coronavirus mba startups

One of those is an entrepreneur and restaurant owner. ‘The students have helped me a lot in saving my company during this time by setting up a crowdfunding campaign and thinking about creative solutions to generate turnover,’ he said.

For Erik van der Liet (right), head of marketing, communications and recruitment at Nyenrode, local business is a crucial part of society, helping generate jobs and prosperity.

“Providing a peripheral view on society to students, that includes all stakeholders—beyond shareholders—is a moral obligation that business schools have towards future generations, who deserve responsible leaders, serving society,” Erik says.

For the students themselves, it’s a chance not only to give back to the community, but also provides real-life case studies to apply lessons from class.

Supporting the wider community

mba startups helping"Nyenrode reinforces the message that all students have their responsibility towards society."

Students from Nyenrode are also involved with Verder Met Nederland, an initiative gathering insights into how best to bring the country together to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The thought leadership platform aims to offer ideas and solutions for social and economic renewal in the Netherlands. 

With input from industry specialists and faculty staff and alumni from Nyenrode, they’re bringing together different voices to help cope with the pandemic collectively. On June 22, 'Verder Met Nederland' will present their findings nationally. 

Their hope is that these ideas will influence and help how the Netherlands moves forward during and beyond the crisis.

Erik says this is reflective of Nyenrode’s core values—leadership, entrepreneurship, and stewardship. “With these values, Nyenrode reinforces the message that all students have their responsibility towards society.”

Good news for students, as well as business

It’s clear that student initiatives are good news for local businesses and society, but they’re benefitting the students too. In helping these businesses, students are not only able to help the local economy during a crisis, they’re also developing important relationships for the future.

This translates into jobs across the business landscape. Recent Nyenrode MBAs have landed jobs at startups and local SMEs as well as top multinational companies including Uber, EY, Philips, Nestlé, Accenture, and ING, and 88% of MBAs find a job within three months of graduating.

Nyenrode’s intimate MBA class is 94% international, with 17 nationalities represented, and after graduating, those classmates form a tight-knit alumni network which can be relied on for career opportunities down the line. 

While there is caution around what an economy in recession might mean for jobs prospects in 2020, the business school continues to provide MBA students with the opportunity to develop their professional networks and take the next step forward in their careers.

Next read: Why Online Learning Is Good News For Master's In Management Students

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