Should You Apply to B-School During COVID-19?

MBA application timeline

Should You Apply to B-School During COVID-19?

In the past, a recession would almost always be met with a rise in MBA applications.

And while the world is facing a deep recession due to COVID-19, the question still remains: is now a good time to be applying for an MBA?

Financial Times recently spoke to experts on why the answer to that question is based on the circumstance.


Experts say that while the world certainty is facing a recession, it’s not as easy to map to past recessions in history.

“There is tremendous uncertainty out there about how business education can be delivered in the next academic year,” Tim Mescon, executive vice-president at AACSB International, a business school accreditation agency, tells FT. “Normally it would be logical to do an MBA as the economy enters recession, but these are not normal times.”


B-schools across the US have already begun making changes to the upcoming semester. At Georgetown’s McDonough School, for example, officials announced plans to delay the fall semester for MBAs to September from July.

The University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business announced that it will begin offering standardized test waivers to MBA applicants directly affected by COVID-19.

And at Duke University’s Fuqua School, a fourth admissions round was added to its MBA, extending the admission cycle to May 19.

But in these uncertain times, especially as many schools turn online, is it really the right decision to apply for an MBA?

Experts say, chances are, most applications are already in.

“Ninety percent of our application volume comes from the first two rounds before this stage,” Blair Mannix, director of admissions at The Wharton School, tells FT. “There will always be spaces in the third round but it is a much smaller intake,” he says, “if people can’t get here we will allow them to defer their arrival. That is the only humane thing to do.”

For many applicants, the fact remains – too much effort and time have already been spent.

“I am feeling a lot of anxiety about what is going on,” Sarah Catallo, a creative producer who received four MBA offers, tells FT. “I have been preparing to go to business school for the last two years, looking at an MBA as a way to make the transition into a corporate role helping brands focused on sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals. It has been such a long journey, taking the tests and writing application essays that I feel I cannot go back now.”

Sources: Financial Times, The Guardian, Poets & Quants

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