The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has already begun to affect the MBA application process. Many Personal MBA Coach clients have questions on how to respond to changes such as canceled visits, interviews, and testing dates. To help during this global crisis, Personal MBA Coach is here to answer your most common questions.
Question: My campus visit was canceled, now what?
Answer: If you did not get a chance to visit your top choice schools before many campuses closed for the semester, do not panic! While normally we stress the importance of courting your target schools and visiting campuses, this expectation will be lifted this application season. While there is a chance that some schools will allow visits later in the semester or over the summer, do not wait for this. Instead, focus on other ways you can familiarize yourself with each of your target programs. Each year we have countless candidates who cannot visit campuses due to financial or geographic limitations yet successfully navigate the MBA application process.
Question: How else can I get to know my target schools?
Answer: As with any other year, reaching out to alumni within your network is a great way to learn more about the programs. Similarly, current students (even if they are not currently on campus) are a great resource. Connect with club leaders or other students with shared interests via phone or video chat. Many schools have dedicated websites with lists of students that you can reach out to. Some even allow you to search based on their background.
Question: How are campuses reacting?
Answer: Most campuses are canceling in-person admissions events. However, they are increasing their online offerings. For example, HBS is running a “Life at HBS Virtual Chat” later this month. While staff members are currently busy setting up their own virtual working office and accommodations for current students, we expect they will soon turn their attention to rolling out additional online admissions programs.
Question: What about interviews?
Answer: Most face-to-face interviews left this season will be conducted online. Prepare for these as you would any other interview and be sure to dress the part for all video interviews. Videos and video interviews have been increasing in popularity in recent years even before the virus came and we suspect this trend will continue.
Question: What should I do if my GMAT/GRE/EA test date was canceled?
Answer: As more and more testing centers close, candidates may have a narrower window to take the GMAT/GRE/EA this season. This means that you want to be extra prepared when it comes to test time. I recommend that you continue to study as planned and take a full-length practice test during your originally scheduled date. Try to mimic testing conditions as much as possible to give you the best indication of where you stand. Then, use this benchmark to develop your study plan, keeping in mind you may have fewer chances to perfect your score this year. That said, schools may be more flexible on dates that they will accept scores. This is TBD at this point depending on how the situation unfolds and what round you are applying in.
Question: How should I change my overall application strategy?
Answer: As more and more applicants are working from home and canceling social engagements, use this extra time to your advantage. Think about the sections of the MBA application you can complete now (we are already strategically working on round 1 2020 MBA applications with our clients) and get ahead. Not only will this free up time to take the GMAT/GRE/EA later but you will appreciate having the head start when life gets back to normal!
Scott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and founded Personal MBA Coach 13 years ago with the goal of providing customized one-on-one support. Scott also serves on the Board of Directors for AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants and is invited to speak at MBA Admissions events globally. Our clients have been accepted to all top schools globally with a 96% success rate. They received $4.5M in total scholarships last year.
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