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Why A COVID-Era MBA Is Still Worth It

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly industry. And that includes business schools.

As b-schools replace in-person classes with online and hybrid programs for the fall, many are left wondering: is the MBA still worth it?

Vicky McKeever, a reporter for CNBC, recently spoke to students who decided to pursue the degree despite the pandemic’s effects to understand what value they still see in the MBA.


For many, the decision to pursue an MBA despite the pandemic stems from the uncertain job markets.

And experts say that reasoning has held true throughout the history of recessions.

“I don’t wish a recession on anybody,” Bill Boulding, dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, tells P&Q. “Let’s keep people working and in jobs. But historically there is a counter-cyclical effect on application volumes to business school. As the economy worsens, applications go up and as the economy improves, applications go down.”


Another reason why people are seeking an MBA degree right now is access to cheaper loans.

According to Nerd Wallet, a number of loan lenders have introduced low-rate, small-dollar loans to consumers dealing with financial hardships in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“U.S. Bank and Capital Good Fund are two lenders offering small loans at reduced rates,” Annie Millerbernd, of Nerd Wallet, writes. “Neither lender requires borrowers to show proof that the coronavirus crisis has had an impact on their finances.”

Maxime Arnulf, who will start the MBA program at HEC Paris this August, says he was able to take out a low-interest bank loan that only requires him to start repaying in three years’ time.

“So it’s quite a good deal that I got from the bank and many banks with the coronavirus, they’re being more lenient,” Arnulf tells CNBC.


But some set on pursuing the MBA say that the pandemic, if anything, has highlighted that the business world has some serious problems.

“I think again the pandemic has really magnified (that) some things are really broken and have been really broken for a long time, about how we live or how we do business or how we work,” Sydney Nolan, who will be starting her MBA at Trinity Business School, tells CNBC.

Nolan, who currently works for a nonprofit mental health center, hopes to help bring about that change in her work post-MBA.

Sources: CNBC, Austin Business Journal, Nerd Wallet, Poets & Quants

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