As India Reels Under Covid-19 Wave, MBA Class Of 2023 Rolls Up Sleeves To Help

India is reeling from a massive coronavirus wave, as a Covid-19 surge this month pushes the country’s daily case rate to more than 350,000 and its death toll over 200,000. On Friday, news broke that the Biden administration will restrict most travel from India to the U.S. beginning May 4.

As India struggles under the weight of an avalanche of Covid-19 cases, the world is pitching in to help — and that includes admits to the MBA Class of 2023 at a dozen of the top business schools in the world.

“The second wave of Covid-19 in India is nothing short of a catastrophe,” says Tarang Gupta, an admit to The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “Seeing family members, friends, and colleagues struggle to arrange critical supplies like oxygen, medicines, and ambulances for loved ones really makes you spring into action.”

With the help of a group of nonprofits, Gupta and other admits from the M7 schools, INSEAD, London Business School, and others — half of whom are in India right now — have launched a fundraiser, offering to counsel MBA candidates on their applications in exchange for Covid relief donations.

“I believe that donating or volunteering on an individual basis is not enough, it is just as important to encourage others to do the same,” Gupta says. “And this initiative is the perfect opportunity for each of us to do this, i.e. encourage future MBA aspirants to take part in mobilizing large-scale monetary support for organizations leading the fight against Covid-19.

“In this trying time, I am reminded of the Sanskrit phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ — the world is one family. I hope that by working together we can save lives one at a time and win the fight against Covid.”


According to the BBC, India is weathering a devastating second wave of coronavirus that has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums and led to widespread shortages of oxygen and medicines. Case numbers and deaths are skyrocketing; on Monday (April 26) the country reported a record number of cases for the fifth day in a row.

With 350,000 new cases daily and nearly 3 million overall as of April 27, the country’s healthcare infrastructure is crumbling. It faces huge challenges to meet the demand of critical medical supplies, including hospital beds, oxygen, and vital medications. According to Reuters, life-saving medical supplies have begun to reach India from abroad, but efforts are swamped by the overwhelming need. ABC News reports that the U.S. is “working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies,” and “sources of specific raw material” that are required for Indian manufacture of Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine being made in India, “will immediately be made available.”

India is not only the world’s second-most populous country; it is also the top country for sending international students to business schools, both in the United States and globally. From their unique position as elite representatives of their home country, top MBA admits are now joining the effort to help India fight back against the deadly pandemic in the way they know best — by sharing their insights into how to gain admission to the world’s most selective institutions.

“As some of us, the admits, got chatting, we figured, each one of us has been overwhelmingly consulting in our own little capacity, from wherever we are. And then it struck us,” says Dola Halder, another Wharton admit to the Class of 2023. “In light of the current, devastating havoc that the pandemic is reeling in India, we wanted to do our bit to help. And it’s an awesome feeling to have found rallying support from peer admits and seniors from a gamut of schools.”


The group, which consists of more than 100 admits to Wharton, Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, London Business School, INSEAD, Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, Chicago Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, Yale School of Management, Michigan Ross School of Business, Cornell Johnson School of Management, and Oxford Saïd Business School, will donate their time and skills to give advice on business school applications, taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, career planning, and more. In exchange for tips on essays and resumes, career counseling, and GMAT/GRE prep advice, they are requesting donations to verified nonprofits in India that are on the frontlines supplying aid and resources to those who need it most.

“The idea behind the initiative is simple: giving hope by creating value,” says Gauri Singhal, one of the organizers and a Wharton admit for the fall. “After having gone through the rigorous application process and challenging recruiting season, current students and recent admits wondered if they can share their experiences to help foundations raise money for the Covid relief efforts in India. The group hopes that by offering their time, advice and insights, they will encourage more people to donate during this crisis.

“An aspirant simply needs to make a direct donation and produce a receipt to get connected with successful admits and students, who were in their shoes not too long ago.”


Interested candidates can sign up here, and after posting their donations, one of the members of the group will reach out to them. Learn more about the nonprofits that will benefit here.

Meanwhile, in a parallel effort, current B-school students across 16 top schools are holding a fundraiser in collaboration with nonprofit Give India to support India’s fight against COVID with an initial target to raise $135,000. The students have raised about $6,000 so far.

“Witnessing friends and family suffer through the most recent wave of Covid infections in India, I felt helpless,” Wharton and Lauder Institute admit Sujith Yankanaik says. “However, in speaking with current students and recent admits, I learned that we all have our unique skills and experiences that we bring to the table and with this simple initiative we have the chance to pay it forward. I’m grateful to be a part of such a vibrant and altruistic community of students and hope that with this initiative we can help India see the light at the end of the tunnel.”


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