January 5, 2021
READ TIME: 5 minutes
With top MBA programs at Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, and Columbia (amongst others) moving their classes online indefinitely, it is no wonder applicants are questioning whether or not they should be shelling out for an MBA from a prestigious program when they could get what is to be considered the same education from a B-level school at a lower cost.
First things first, the reality is online classes do not have much bearing on the prestige of the program as all programs are in the same boat at the moment. That being said, do not let the national pandemic deter you from applying to top MBA programs.
In 2009, during the last economic crisis, GMAC reported that there was a surge in GMAT exams with the attendant increase in MBA applications:
Indeed, if conventional wisdom holds, applications increase in economic downturns when it becomes harder to find a job, maintain employment, or receive a promotion, leading professionals to apply to business school. The idea is MBA applicant would sit out the recession and then hit the ground running on the next economic upswing as freshly minted MBA graduates who have sufficiently upskilled, networked, and pivoted into a new role/industry/market.
To this point, GMAC conducted critical research and found that despite the recession, there will likely be an uptake in applications to MBA programs, and as such, programs will become more diverse, with one-year programs taking the cake and seeing a rise in popularity.
Further, it is critical now more than ever to future-proof your career by gaining the skills necessary to ensure your job position is essential. With the new hard and soft skills gained, the economic downturn will likely see businesses relying more heavily on MBA students to fill their ranks in an attempt to re-energize their companies and help with their digital transformations to withstand future economic swings that may impact how business is traditionally conducted.
For those applying, it would seem like the biggest impact of COVID-19 would be on testing. However, with the recent move to an online format for the GMAT, the closure of testing sites will be of little consequence for those already planning to take their GMAT online. Beginning in April, students will be able to take the GMAT online from home. For those anticipating taking the GMAT at a testing site, you will have to closely monitor the status of your local testing center in order to determine whether or not you can take the test in-person. Though note: many top MBA programs are going TEST OPTIONAL, so make sure to look into to avoid even having to take the GRE/GMAT!
More importantly for those applying will be the changes in MBA admissions deadlines. The onslaught of COVID-19 has rendered the traditional MBA admissions rounds relatively obsolete as schools around the U.S. continue to push back their deadlines and add additional admissions rounds. This has created an MBA admissions cycle entirely unique to COVID-19.
Now more than ever it is important to ensure your MBA application is as robust as it can be if you are intending to apply during one of the upcoming admissions cycles. Check out our blog piece on how to craft an MBA application that stands out from the crowd.
If you are still overwhelmed with all the changes and complications COVID-19 is bringing to the MBA world, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Communications Director – Write Track Admissions
Fill out the form below to get in touch