High-profile layoffs last week at Twitter, Meta, Amazon, and Shopify have the tech industry in an uproar. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management made news by offering to waive test requirements for any fired techie interested in applying to its MBA program by the round-two deadline. But Kellogg isn’t the only B-school making overtures to the thousands of newly unemployed tech workers.
MIT Sloan School of Management, like Kellogg a member of the vaunted M7 group of elite B-schools, will not waive its test requirement but plans to extend its round-two deadline for recently laid off employees from January 18 to February 23, 2023, thereby giving applicants time to prepare for and take the Graduate Management Admission Test or Graduate Record Exam and submit a quality application.
Another top-25 B-school, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, is offering laid-off tech employees GMAT/GRE test waivers as well as application fee waivers — and touting an array of scholarships that are available for admitted applicants.
‘IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO’
According to Layoffs.fyi, a tracking website that monitors reports in Bloomberg, Tech Crunch, the New York Times, and other news sites, more than 42,000 tech workers have been fired in more than 120 layoffs in November alone. Through Monday, November 21, the site had tracked 136,989 layoffs at 850 tech companies in 2022.
Dawna Levenson, assistant dean of admissions for MIT Sloan, says her team’s calculus in considering overtures to fired workers who may want to pursue an MBA was simple. “I think the perspective is that it is the right thing to do,” Levenson tells Poets&Quants.
Linda Abraham, founder of MBA consultancy Accepted, says MIT’s move signals that, unlike Kellogg, the Sloan School doesn’t want to waive the GMAT/GRE requirement and thereby “have different testing requirements for different categories of applicants.” But Sloan does want to respond to the sudden flood of potential applicants, and their need for special accommodation, Abraham says.
“MIT doesn’t want to waive the test, unless an applicant is unable to access it,” she tells P&Q. “If you look at the LinkedIn discussion that followed my posting of the Kellogg news, you will see that many posters expressed concern and disapproval over the lack of fairness in Kellogg requiring the test for some and not for all applicants. MIT Sloan is saying that it is maintaining its test requirement but giving this group of people a little more time since their being laid off is something they didn’t anticipate and may change their plans.
“Obviously, MIT Sloan is also hoping it will increase application numbers.”
‘A GREAT TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS HELPING STUDENTS PIVOT THEIR CAREERS’
At Indiana Kelley, Jim Holmen, director of admissions and financial aid for the Kelley full-time MBA program, notes that Northwestern Kellogg’s move to waive exams only applies to the second round; Kellogg’s deadline for Round 2 applications are January 4 for the Evening & Weekend program, and January 10 for its full-time programs. The waiver will not be offered to those applying to Kellogg in later rounds.
“In our case, we aren’t making a one-time exception,” Holmen says. “Rather, we are calling attention to an opportunity that already exists for Kelley MBA applicants — the opportunity to apply for a GMAT/GRE waiver, regardless of the application deadline they meet. We base waiver decisions on the strength of a candidate’s past academic record and evidence of successful completion of prior quantitative coursework.
“We value students from all academic and professional backgrounds, so we certainly believe those formerly employed in the tech industry have much to contribute. And thanks to our curriculum, MBA Academies, and career coaching, we have a great track record of success helping students pivot their careers, whether they are looking for a modest pivot or an extreme career change.”
The Kelley School also will offer application fee waivers to those laid off and seeking an MBA, Holmen says — an unusual move for the school. “We usually only provide application fee waivers to those who meet with us at a recruitment event (in-person or virtual),” he says.
Indiana Kelley has three upcoming deadlines for fall 2023 admission: January 5, March 1, and April 15. The exam waiver offer is available through all its remaining deadlines, Holmen says.
LISTEN TO OUR BUSINESS CASUAL PODCAST: ApplicantLab’s Maria Wich-Vila and Fortuna Admissions’ Caroline Diarte-Edwards join P&Q founder John A. Byrne to discuss the new MBA admission policies for laid-off young professionals