MBA classes may be graduating, but the dark cloud of coronavirus still hangs over graduate business education — and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Now a new survey provides the latest signs that Covid-19 and its repercussions will be part of B-schools’ calculus for some time to come.
In its April 2021 school member survey, the nonprofit MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance reports that 57% of responding schools have teams that are currently working fully remote, and 65% of students are currently studying at least partly remotely. But in looking ahead to fall 2021, the unknowns mount: 68% of schools say they have not made decisions about fall travel restrictions yet.
6% OF SCHOOLS TO LIFT ALL COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS; 6% TO LIFT NONE
MBA CSEA is a global association for individuals in graduate business career services and employers, with more than 880 members representing over 230 business schools and corporations. Its latest findings come from a survey conducted April 29 to May 11 that received 130 responses, 81% of which came from schools in North America, 13% from Europe, 5% from Asia-Pacific, 1% from Latin American and the Caribbean, and 1% from Africa.
MBA CSEA found that besides the 57% of schools with faculty and staff working entirely remotely, 21% have a hybrid approach involving working remotely sometimes and in-person at others, while 13% have them members who are simultaneously remote and in-person. Only 4% report their whole team is working in-person. Among the written responses for “Other”: “Half of the team is hybrid and the other half fully remote”; “Fully remote with one staff member in person/week”; “80% remote (working from home) and 20% in the office”; and “An approved/small group go in once per week/ea. assigned to a specific day.”
MBA CSEA discovered that as far as student learning modes, most students (65%) are learning in a hybrid environment that involves some in-person instruction, while 27% are studying entirely remotely. Only 6% are learning entirely in-person. Among the written responses for “Other,” one school official wrote: “We are moving toward some students in person and others remote.”
But as students and schools look ahead to the fall, MBA CSEA’s final poll question is perhaps the most important: “Has your school made any decisions about travel restrictions for the Fall?” More than two-thirds, 68%, answered No — their school has not made or announced any decisions. Nineteen percent said some restrictions will be lifted, and 6% said all will be lifted. Another 6% said their schools plan to continue with all current restrictions.
OTHER RECENT POLLS BY MBA CSEA
More perhaps than even their ongoing snap polls about the reality of business school operations, MBA CSEA’s jobs reports are followed closely by academic and industry insiders. In March, the nonprofit published a report showing that the tech industry saw the largest increase in full-time job postings at business schools in fall 2020, with 57% off member schools reporting an increase, similar to 56% who reported an increase in 2019. Healthcare, unsurprisingly amid a pandemic, also saw an increase in 2020 (50%), 10% higher than in 2019.
The industries where the largest numbers of schools saw a decrease include — again unsurprisingly — hospitality, where 61% saw a decrease in 2020 compared to only 6% in 2019; and consulting, where 46% saw a decrease in 2020, compared to 55% in 2019. Overall, 22% of schools reported an increase in full-time job postings last fall compared to the previous year, when 49% indicated an increase; 32% indicated recruiting was flat in 2020, compared with 26% in 2019. The difference in on-campus recruiting — school-scheduled interviews — was less drastic, with 21% reporting an increase in 2020 compared with 23% that reported an increase in 2019.
Other recent MBA CSEA surveys have shown how B-schools were weathering Covid-caused budget cuts and optimistic outlooks by schools on the employment prospects for their 2020 MBA graduates.