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Coronavirus Impact on Business Schools – How are they tackling it

Coronavirus Impact on Business Schools – How are they tackling it
A 7 min read

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted business schools immensely. Almost all the business school’s websites are now providing information regarding the latest updates on COVID-19 and how they are tackling it. Without a doubt, the normal operations of MBA admissions testing, events, and interviews are being disrupted, and business schools are looking for new ways to overcome these problems.


In this article, we discuss the impact of coronavirus on Business schools and how they are tackling it.




Before moving forward, here is a list of Coronavirus Measure taken by Top business schools:

Business School Name

Measures taken

Effective till

Chicago Booth The spring quarter classes are moved online, all events are postponed till April 15, all domestic and international travel suspended to April 15, 2020 March 10, 2020 – April 15, 2020, until further notice
Wharton University of Pennsylvania 100+ university travel and events canceled, launching new 6- week course online March 10, 2020 – April 17, 2020
Stanford GSB Has moved all courses online March 6, 2020 – Further notice
Harvard Business School  25+ events and travel suspended. All courses moved online March 23, 2020 – further notice
MIT Sloan Moved online for rest of the semester, all travel and events canceled March 16, 2020 – End of semester
Kellogg School of Management Spring break extended by one week, classes moved online for three weeks, 25+ events canceled March 10, 2020 – April 15, 2020
Yale School of Management  Limited travel and events are either postponed or canceled until April 15, 2020. Classes moved online March 10, 2020 – April 5, 2020
Columbia Business School  25+ travel and events canceled or postponed. Classes are moved online March 11, 2020 – further notice
Tuck School of Business  100+ events canceled or made virtual or postponed. Moving classes online from March 23, 2020. Travel restriction March 10, 2020 – April 17, 2020
Darden School of Business  International travel restriction March 8, 2020 – Further notice
UC Berkeley Hass Classes moved online. 150+ events canceled or postponed Till March 30, 2020
Duke Fuqua MBA Classes moved online from March 23, 2020, till then classes are canceled. 50+ events canceled for rest of semester, international travel restriction March 10, 2020 – Further notice
NYU STERN  Large events are discouraged, moving classes online, non-essential travel canceled March 9, 2020 – March 23, 2020
UCLA Anderson School of Management  100+ events postponed or canceled. Travel restriction and classes moved online March 11, 2020 – April 10, 2020
Michigan Ross School of Business Classes moved online till April 21, 2020. Abroad and international travel postponed. 100+ events canceled March 16, 2020 – April 21, 2020
Georgetown McDonough School of Business  Travel suspended, events postponed or moved virtually or canceled. Classes moved online March 16, 2020 – until further notice
 UNC Kenan – Flagler International and domestic travel restriction March 11, 2020 – further notice

Note: Data were taken from poets&quants. Visit here to check out the list of top 50 business schools for changes they made after coronavirus outbreak.

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To understand the effect of coronavirus on business schools, we have divided it into four major points:

  1. Virtual Learning: MBA Classrooms are going Online
  2. Relaxation on Admissions
  3. International Applicants number may Fall
  4. Coronavirus effects on Global immersions and on-campus events


Let us discuss each point in detail.

Virtual Learning: MBA Classrooms are going Online


Many business schools are moving their classes off-campus and into the virtual space. For classes that cannot be easily transitioned to an online format, they are pushed back. Students are encouraged to return home, whereas faculty and staff are encouraged to work remotely.

At NYU STREN, the one-year Fashion & Luxury MBA and Andre Koo Tech MBA program are highly experiential programs, and thus the start dates for these programs are now pushed back for a week. The school is also taking into consideration the possibility of a further delay.

In an interview, JP Eggers, the vice dean for NYU MBA programs, states, “The school might postpone the start date for their one-year programs that require experiential learning, to deliver outstanding educational experience.”

The statement from NYU Spokesman John Beckman on March 16, 2020, states, “The University will remain open, and university operations will continue, with classes held remotely and offices operating through telework technologies.”

Similarly, Stanford GSB, Harvard MBA, and Wharton MBA have moved to a virtual format of classes and have asked its faculty and students to teach and learn remotely.

Jon Levin, Dean at Stanford GSB, states that the school shifted to virtual instruction in sixty hours last weekend. Stanford is also moving rapidly to create a less-populated campus and has restricted events greater than 35 people.


Relaxation on Admission Process




With many GMAT test centers been closed and increasing health risks & travel restrictions due to coronavirus, business schools are making adjustments to their admission practices.

INSEAD MBA is granting conditional acceptances to candidates that have pending GMAT or GRE test results. They have also become more flexible with application deadlines, payment plans, and deferral requests. They have also communicated to extend some application deadlines.

The director of Admissions Virginie Fougea, in an email to current and prospective applicants, said that “The school is offering to conduct admission interviews online instead of face-to-face for candidates who are feeling uncomfortable to be potentially exposed in a live meeting.

According to Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of Admissions at Duke Fuqua, “The admission interviews will be held via Skype.” IMD has also canceled admissions interviews in Singapore and expects will be hosting case studies and online interviews for candidates affected by travel restriction.

Similarly, Blair Mannix, Director of Admissions at Wharton, noted that the school would be offering virtual Team-based discussion interviews for candidates.

On the other hand, Michigan Ross MBA has given a new deadline of May 29, 2020, for its round 3 applicants. This date is two months later than the original deadline of March 30, 2020.

Other Business Schools that are accepting MBA Application without GMAT


Another school that is accepting MBA applications without GMAT, GRE, and English Scores is London Business School. As stated in their website, “ LBS will expect successful applicants to take the test later if, and when, restriction ceases. The selected candidates may be asked to take the test upon arrival in the UK, or may offer waivers, depending on the test center closures timing.”

LBS has also mentioned that if the candidate is unable to take a test, he/she should send extra information on any quantitative education, experience, or training they have. The utilization of other information essays will be crucial for them.

Similarly, Illinois Tech has waived the testing requirements for Fall 2020 applicants. The test waiver is for all master’s programs, and both domestic and international students can avail it.

International Applicants number may Fall




Every year, thousands of business school candidates globally take GMAT. But with the test centers closed in various locations can impact the MBA applications this year.

Besides, with the MBA admissions committee offering Skype calls rather than in-person interviews has led to a growing concern that international student pipeline might shut down.

Business schools that have robust online MBA alternatives are beginning to discuss online programs for international students and bring them to campus later when the crisis ends.

But what about schools that are still figuring out the virtual world?


Going forward, business schools may have to select candidates more aggressively from their waitlists. They might even grant more deferrals to international students who want to enroll in the fall and prepare for the next year’s applicant pool that might increase due to more number of international students reapplying.

As discussed in the previous point, many business schools are making conditional offers to the candidate. In fact, Chinese applicants who are coping with a two-month closure of the GMAT test center are getting Conditional offers.

According to Dawna Clarke, admissions director at Darden School of Business:

“ The school’s current plan is to be generous with deferral requests, be flexible to those applying in R3 as GMAT Test centers are closed, be more aggressive with offers of admissions, and continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Additionally, Columbia Business School announced the extension to June 1 of its final application deadline for the August 2020 intake. INSEAD has also informed all candidates that it will be more flexible and accept MBA applications without test scores, while also offering support with deferral requests and payment plans.

Coronavirus effects on Global immersions and on-campus events




One of the essential parts of a full-time MBA program is the global opportunity that students get. With the restriction to travel, many business schools are facing difficulties when it comes to global immersions.

Harvard MBA has put its Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP) and Weekend Programs on hold. These programs are focused on bringing you to campus to stay and participate in MBA case studies. Also, the global information sessions for this year at Harvard are on hold.

According to Harvard’s official website, “The university has restricted travel to help avoid spreading coronavirus and are coming up with virtual gatherings and ways to connect digitally.”

On the other hand, Ash Soni, executive associate dean for Kelley School of Business, states that the Globase classes that pair MBAs with social impact projects have become the biggest challenge. The school had five MBA trips planned to Thailand, Ghana, China, Indonesia, and Brazil. They have moved or canceled a few of the excursions due to coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, due to French government regulations and the confirmed case of INSEAD Dean, Mihov, the Europe Campus of INSEAD is now in full shutdown. All the on-campus and off-campus activities are suspended.

Besides, many business schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Darden, LBS, NYU Stern, and many more have suspended on-campus activities until further notice.

At last, MBA admission events across the world are suspended, which means that the only way to communicate with the business school is by directly contacting them online.

Key Takeaways:

Business schools are changing ways in which they operate to fight against coronavirus. They are standing strong. But, from the above discussion, we can say that there can be both positive and negative implications for students who want to pursue their higher education.

In our next article, we will discuss in detail the implications of these changes made by business schools on current and prospective students.


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