As the World Health Organization declares a global health emergency due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, China has canceled the GMAT and GRE exams for the entire month of February. The decision by China’s National Education Examinations Authority was made in an effort to contain the spread of the disease which is rapidly spreading in China and has become a significant risk beyond the country.
The closure of test centers coincides with a decision by the Shanghai government to also shutdown classes for all universities and other schools until at least Feb. 17th. Among the business schools impacted by that decision are the China Europe International Business, which recently placed fifth on the new 2020 Financial Times Global MBA ranking for the second year in a row.
But the impact also extends to many U.S. and European business schools that depend on a steady flow of Chinese students into their programs. At UC-San Diego’s Rady School School of Management, for example, 90% of the students in its master’s of finance program are from China. Chinese students in Rady’s master’s in business analytics is close to 50%, while some 10% to 15% of the school’s MBA cohort is Chinese.
ON TOP OF THE GENERAL DECLINE IN APPS, THE CRISIS COULD SEVERLY IMPACT A LOT OF U.S. SCHOOLS
“This is a big deal for us as a school,” says Shaun Carver, assistant dean of graduate programs at Rady. “We don’t want to lose sight of the impact on our current students. They are concerned about their families and friends and they need our support.” Carver, who spent almost 14 years in China, vividly recalls the impact of SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) when he arrived there in the early 2000s. “A lot of my colleagues were sequestered in their apartments through that summer,” he remembers.
“On top of the general decline in applications, putting this on top will severely impact a lot of schools,” adds Carver. ” Some schools have already filled their classes in round one and two. At Rady, we probably have 60% to 70& of our applications in so there are a lot of partial apps that need to be completed. If this continues past February, it can impact matriculation. . If this continues on through the summer, you have to wonder how much appetite the U.S. will have for issuing student visas to people who have been exposed. I don’t think there will be much support for sending them to schools throughout the United States.
The NEEA said that all English tests for IELTS, TOEFL and the GRE and GMAT graduate entry exams next month would be canceled. The severity of the situation calls for comprehensive “measures to contain the spread of coronavirus at all public venues, including test centers,” the authority said in its announcement.