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MBA Admissions: Covid-19 impact on applicants & students

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Business schools’ operations has been immense. Many business schools are developing plans for starting virtual classes as Face-to-face classes are canceled. Enrollment dates might be pushed back, and with the GMAT test centers closed, many b-schools are taking MBA Application without a GMAT Score. 


Overall, B-schools are now changing their normal operations of taking classes, admissions, and conducting events.


With so many changes made in such a short time frame, it makes you wonder how it will affect you as a business school aspirant or a current student?

positive and negative impact of Covid-19 outbreak on business school applicants

In this article, we have discussed the positive and negative impact on business school students due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The article also gives you an idea about the challenges faced by the current b-school students. Here is an outline of the article:

Positive and Negative Impact of Coronavirus Outbreak on MBA Aspirant


Here are some positive and negative implications of coronavirus pandemic on b-school Aspirant:

  1. Positive Impact of coronavirus outbreak on Business School Aspirants
  1. Negative Impact of coronavirus outbreak on Business School Aspirants

Let us discuss each point in detail.

Positive Impact of Coronavirus Outbreak on B-school Aspirants


1.      MBA Application acceptance without GMAT/GRE/IELTS score

In our previous article, we discussed how MBA programs at business schools are offering conditional offers without giving GMAT/GRE. However, students are required to provide the test later.


Oxford MBA, Wharton MBA, and Kellogg MBA program are amongst the few business schools that are accepting applications without GMAT/GRE/IELTS score after completing all other sections of the form. If a candidate is selected, the school will then expect them to give the test later.


Here are the mails that are sent by the Business schools mentioned above to their prospective students:



Check out the changes made by top business schools due to coronavirus pandemic.

Here is an updated list of business schools admissions policies in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic

Business School Round 2 Notifications Round 3 Deadline Round 3 Notifications Updates
Stanford Graduate School of Business 2-Apr-20 8-Apr-20 21-May-20 No timeline or procedural changes.
Chicago Booth School of Business 19-Mar-20 2-Apr-20 21-May-20 No timeline or procedural changes.
Harvard Business School 31-Mar-20 June 1, 2020 (2+2) July 28, 2020 (2+2) 2+2 application deadline and notification delayed two months, larger waitlist being kept.
Wharton at University of Pennsylvania 26-Mar-20 1-Apr-20 8-May-20 No timelines changes, but Round 3 applicants may submit without a standardized test score.
Northwestern Kellogg School of Management 25-Mar-20 8-Apr-20 13-May-20 Applicants can submit applications without GMAT/GRE scores until June 1, 2020.
MIT Sloan School of Management 31-Mar-20 9-Apr-20 7-May-20 No timeline or procedural changes to 2020 admissions. Delaying MBA early admission to June 2.
Columbia Business School N/A 1-Jun-20 N/A Standardized test scores may be submitted until July 1, 2020
UC Berkeley Haas School of Business 26-Mar-20 2-Apr-20 7-May-20 No timeline or procedural changes.
Dartmouth Tuck School of Business 12-Mar-20 30-Mar-20 7-May-20 Conducting a “one-time”” Round 4 for Round 3 applicants that need more time”
Yale School of Management 24-Mar-20 14-Apr-20 19-May-20 Extending Round 3 test score deadline to April 24 and creating a Round 3 Extended deadline of May 27.
Virginia Darden School of Business 18-Mar-20 6-Apr-20 6-May-20 No timeline or procedural changes.
Michigan Ross School of Business 18-Mar-20 29-May-20 8-May-20 Extended Round 3 deadline from March 30 to May 29. International students still recommended to submit by March 30 deadline.
Cornell SC Johnson School of Management N/A 8-Apr-20 8-May-20 No known changes at this time.
Duke Fuqua Business School 19-Mar-20 11-Mar-20 20-Apr-20 No known changes at this time.
UC Los Angeles Anderson School of Management 26-Mar-20 16-Apr-20 21-May-20 No known changes at this time.
New York University Stern School of Business 1-Apr-20 15-Mar-20 1-Jun-20 Extended final deadline to May 1.
Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business 4-Mar-20 2-Mar-20 4-May-20 Test score date extended for April 9 Round 4 deadline.
UT Austin McCombs School of Business 26-Mar-20 31-Mar-20 7-May-20 Creating a new Round 4 cycle for domestic students.
Southern California Marshall School of Business 31-Mar-20 1-Mar-20 15-May-20 No known changes at this time.
North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School 2-Mar-20 2-Mar-20 14-Apr-20 No known changes at this time.
Washington Foster School of Business 31-Mar-20 17-Mar-20 22-May-20 Opening a Round 4 application cycle with a May 19 deadline.
Emory Goizueta Business School 13-Mar-20 20-Mar-20 1-May-20 Dates listed are for Round 3 and 4. No known changes at this time.
Indiana Kelley Business School 15-Mar-20 1-Mar-20 30-Apr-20 Round 4 deadline is April 15. No known changes at this time.
Georgetown McDonough School of Business N/A 24-Mar-20 N/A Round 4 deadline is April 27. No known changes at this time.
Rice Jones Graduate School of Management N/A Rolling Rolling Everything is rolling as of now, waiving application fees, and admittting without standardized test scores.
Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business N/A 1-Apr-20 15-May-20 April 1 is the Round 4 deadline. No known changes at this time.
Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business N/A 17-Mar-20 1-May-20 Round 4 deadline is April 14. No known changes at this time.
Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management 27-Mar-20 6-Apr-20 4-May-20 Waiving Round 3 application fees and not requiring official test scores. Adding a new Round 4.
Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School 10-Mar-20 18-Mar-20 28-Apr-20 No known changes at this time.
Brigham Young Marriott School of Business N/A 1-May-20 N/A May 1 is Round 4 deadline. No known changes at this time.
University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management N/A 1-Apr-20 15-May-20 April 1 is the Round 4 deadline. A Round 5 is also available. No changes at this point.
Michigan State Broad College of Business 17-Apr-20 1-Apr-20 8-May-20 Round 3 and 4 dates listed. No updates at this time.
Arizona State W. P. Carey School of Business 3-Apr-20 1-Apr-20 5-Jun-20 April 1 is a Round 4 deadline. No official changes but working with applicants on an individual basis.
Wisconsin School of Business 24-Apr-20 10-Apr-20 22-May-20 April 10 is Round 4. Final deadline is June 1. No changes at this point.
Ohio State Fisher College of Business 17-Apr-20 10-May-20 27-May-20 May 10 is the Round 4 deadline. Fisher will move to rolling admissions after final deadline.
University of Rochester Simon Business School 15-Apr-20 31-Mar-20 15-May-20 March 31 is a Round 4 deadline. No changes at this time.
UC Irvine Merage School of Business 3-Apr-20 1-Apr-20 29-May-20 April 1 is a Round 4 deadline.
Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business 15-Apr-20 1-Apr-20 15-May-20 April 1 is Round 4 deadline. No changes at this point.
Maryland Smith School of Business 15-Mar-20 15-Jan-20 15-Apr-20 No changes.
Texas-Dallas Jindal School of Management 15-Apr-20 1-May-20 15-Jun-20 May 1 is Round 4 deadline. No official changes at this point.
Texas A&M Mays College of Business N/A 22-Apr-20 N/A No changes at this time.

Source – Poets & Quants

But if you are not getting evaluated on GMAT score, how to make your MBA application stand out in the absence of GMAT Score?


Business schools have always pointed out that they evaluate candidates holistically, and not just on their GMAT or GPA scores. Other components of your MBA Application that are equally important are essay questions, letters of recommendation, and admissions interview. Here is an article on how to impress the MBA Admissions Committee with resume, essays, and by attending online events.


Thus, if business schools decide not to assess you based on your GMAT score, then it’s time for you to concentrate more on other aspects of your MBA application. i.e., essays, resume, letter of recommendation, etc.


As stated by LBS, utilizing the optional essay type in the MBA application form efficiently and sending extra information on any quantitative experience, education or training will be beneficial to evaluate a candidate.


Here is an article on How to improve your MBA profile and boost your MBA application.


2.      Taking the GMAT from Home and Fees reduction


With many GMAT test center closures, a delay in taking GMAT has occurred for both domestic and international students. But here is the silver lining.


As discussed in the previous point, many business schools are giving an admit without the GMAT/ GRE score and asking for it later. Thus, a delay in giving GMAT will provide more time for students to prepare.

Achieve 740+ on the GMAT by registering for our FREE Trial today and get access to FREE GMAT resources and quality content online.


Moreover, GMAC has introduced Interim Online GMAT, where you can take the GMAT exam from your home at a reduced fee. The interim GMAT exam will be available by mid-April.


Get the latest information on the Interim GMAT exam here.

Also, GMAC has temporally waivered rescheduling fees, thus giving a chance to reschedule the test.


Here is an article on how you can reschedule your GMAT appointment.


3.      Impact on MBA Admissions cycle and Scholarships

impact on admissions and scholarships

Because of COVID-19, four positive things have happened:


  • MBA admissions deadline are rolled back

Many business schools are transitioning all Round 3 to rolling admission decisions, which might encourage both domestic and international candidates to apply in Round 3.


Some of the business schools who have rolled back there MBA Application deadline:

 Impact on Business Schools due to Coronavirus Outbreak
Business School Changes Made in MBA Application
Harvard Business School 2+2 Application date changes from April 2, 2020, to June 1, 2020
NYU Stern Accepting applications through May 1 for the full-time MBA program. Decisions regarding the application will be on an on-going basis. Earlier, the deadline for Round 4 was March 15, 2020.
Michigan Ross Accepting application through May 29. Round 3 earlier deadline, March 30, 2020.
UVA Darden Round 3 will now transition to rolling admissions through July 15, 2020. The application will remain open until this date for applicants to submit missing elements in their application.
Wharton New round 3 deadline: April 15, 2020


  • More seats available due to less competition

Due to the hassle of getting visas, accommodation, and funding in a 2-3-month timeframe, R3 admissions are mostly discouraged for international students. However, if you consider the tendency of local applicants to wait it out for Round 1, a small window of opportunity opens for Round 2 waitlisted applicants and those small groups of international students who are not adversely affected by the virus.


Thus, business schools might aggressively pick from the Round 2 waitlisted applicants. Also, if the R3 application deadline is changed, b-schools might encourage more international applicants to apply. Thus, the opportunity to get an admit is higher, even though business schools have reached the end of their admissions process.


  • Advantage of taking the GMAT exam at home

With the Interim Online GMAT exam, you could take GMAT from the comfort of your home. This allows you to make the most out of this chaotic situation. Moreover, with the reduced GMAT fees and a shorter test for the interim GMAT exam offers you an opportunity to make the most of this chaotic situation.


  • More MBA Scholarships Available

If you are a student who has given the GMAT test, you might have a stronghold while negotiating your scholarship.


We talked with one of our students, and a GMAT mentor, Shaarang, who has currently admits from 3 U.S. business schools and has received scholarships worth $210,000 from all three B-schools.


Shaarang: With GMAT test center closures at many locations, Top 20 b-schools seem to want to capitalize on inactivity on Top 15 schools (70% of R2 applicants were waitlisted by T-15 schools, compared to 35%, which is the usual number). One way to capitalize on this inactivity would be to tempt applicants to lock down the deposits with large fellowship offers.


Typically, scholarship money is exhausted by the end of R2. However, this year could be different. Top-15 schools were cautious about their admission offers, and data on ClearAdmit’s LiveWire suggests that the waitlisted candidates are as many as 70% in R2. This would mean a larger, lesser competitive R3, with more scholarship money to go around. Thus, we might see a trend of offering more scholarships money in round 3.  


Also, candidates who are thinking of applying in R1 next year would now prefer to apply in R3, as there is more scholarship money available, and you can still take the test with more seats available.


Here is a list of MBA scholarships for Indian and International Students and What is a good GMAT score for MBA Scholarship.


Thus, due to the COVID outbreak:

  1. MBA Application deadlines are now on rolling bases making it easier to apply to R3 rounds
  2. More seats might be available as competition goes down, and many candidates (especially affected adversely by the pandemic) might apply next year. Also, business schools might pick candidates from waitlists aggressively
  3. More scholarship amount will be available as business schools will now try to attract the best candidates by offering more scholarship amount
  4. Giving GMAT from home at a less price is an attractive offer especially for candidates who are applying for R3


4.      Advantages for Domestic and International Students

As there is a growing concern that the number of international students applying to b-schools might decline creates more opportunities for domestic students.

advantages for business school applicants

As pointed out in our previous article, business schools may have to select applicants from their waitlists due to a decline in the number of international students.


We can look at it in two ways – business schools might prefer domestic students due to no travel restrictions. However, diversity is one of the critical components while selecting candidates. Thus, preferring local students might not be in the best interest of the business schools.


Learn about how to get off the business school waitlist.

Negative Impact of Coronavirus pandemic on business school applicants

1.      Virtual learning, Pushed back enrolment and Career Opportunities

If the Coronavirus outbreak continues, many business schools might push back their enrolment dates, which implies that the MBA program might start late for the students joining in July 2020.

But, as pointed out by Shaarang, chances of this are very bleak cause it will lead to changes in the overall program and will shift back the entire admissions cycle for next year.

impact of covid-19 online MBA classes

He states, “Chances of canceling an entire cycle of admissions/university are very, very bleak due to the catastrophic impact it will have on the economy. Lack of students graduating means lack new talent – something companies are in pressing need of. Lack of fresh talent means a lack of upward mobility for existing talent already employed at the company. This breeds dissatisfaction and affects the overall efficiency of the firm – leaving behind long term effects. For that reason, this is highly unlikely.”


Apart from that, students who were going to start their MBA program might have to re-evaluate their finances. For example, if you are already among the candidates who have gained an admit to top business schools, you might wonder if your investment in b-school will give the same ROI as before?


Coronavirus Outbreak Impact on Networking and Career Opportunities

With the global economy at a turmoil and business schools offering online classes, is it worth to invest in a business school, especially for students who are flying in from abroad? Business schools like Harvard and Stanford GSB are giving career advice virtually, and other schools are also following the same. Thus, there is no doubt that steps are in place to overcome this barrier.

career advice

However, when it comes to taking classes online, a full-time student wants a full-time course experience. They want the networking opportunities and campus experience.


To get more clarification on the ROI of an MBA program, we asked Sharaang if he thinks this might lead to many international students canceling their admission or applying for the next admission cycle? The answer is NO.


He states, “Depending on your demography, chances of getting accepted in a top school as an international student are incredibly slim. Top business schools maintain between 5% and 10% acceptance rates for certain competitive demography (think east/south-east Asians). The difficulty of getting that stellar admit means that students are unlikely to pass up the opportunity.”


Further, with the next year set to be even more competitive, with expectations of rising median GMAT scores, applicants would benefit from not deferring their admissions to the next application cycle.


Been a full-time one of the primary concerns is about networking opportunities lost, which will lead to evaluating the overall cost of tuition. But as the competition would increase for the next admissions cycle, many students might not leave the opportunity if they got an admit.


He also adds, “When the economy is down, it’s time to invest in your education.”

invest in education

The business schools are trying their best to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, but the option of virtual learning is not beneficial in the long run. Besides, many business schools have little to no experience in delivering sophisticated online education.


As pointed out by Sharaang, learning will be affected by classes moving online. He points out that top business schools have a 2 – 3 weeks free session where they make sure that students are at the same level of competency, which might also move to virtual, with the first week of the class online.


But, being a full-time student, you expect networking in those first few weeks. Also, if the situation gets worst, it might affect networking with the companies mainly to meet and greet sessions. This will impact career opportunities as well as summer internships. Thus, moving forward, business schools must gear up their career services.


Also, business schools are highly focused on team-based activities and case studies, which will get affected.


Thus, business schools adapting to online courses in such a short notice is remarkable, but it’s a short-term fix.


2.      The Decline in International Students and High Competition Next Year


With U.S. embassies closing, it is becoming difficult for admitted international students to gain student visas to study in the U.S. Thus, there might be a decline in applications to full-time MBA programs this year.


This will also lead to a decrease in the number of international students, which means next year admissions will be more competitive.


Also, Chinese students who are not able to give GMAT due to closure of GMAT Test centers will come back next year, leading to less acceptance rate by business schools. The same is true for other international students who might be reapplying next year.


Advice for Prospective Students on GMAT prep from Shaarang

Students who have got an admit should apply for Visa as soon as possible. Delhi U.S. visa offices are closing soon, and with the time frame of getting a visa, now is the time. It takes one month on an average to get a visa appointment.


If you are planning to take Loans, it should be applied right now. Because of the uncertainty around the operation of banking services and with the influx of admissions in a larger-than-usual round three, delayed loan applications may take longer to process.

Impact of Coronavirus pandemic on Current MBA Students


One of the significant implications for current MBA students due to coronavirus outbreak is on their recruitment process. With the economy slowing down, there is a possibility that the strongest MBA job market in history will come to an end.  Although there is no news regarding companies canceling their recruitment process, we have all seen what happened during the Great Recession.


According to reports in 2002, a ton of people had their offers delayed, and internship offers during the summer were a disaster. In 2009, many careers just never started, even for some MBA graduates from Harvard Business School.


Thus, there is no reason to think that the coronavirus outbreak led recession will not affect the MBA job market. Already, some companies are clawing back their internship offers to MBA students, even at top business schools like Stanford GSB. The recent news regarding Yelp canceling its internship program due to COVID-19  has come into the picture.


Though there is no news regarding companies canceling their offers to business schools, graduating seniors are still looking for jobs and internships. With colleges typically hosting corporate visits and helping students to network with potential employers on hold, companies like Amazon and PwC have pushed job interviews for students online.


However, as more companies realize that the economy is plunging into recession, they will do what they have to do to preserve cash, cut back on hires, and reduce expenses.


Hopefully, for most companies, the switch to a remote model will mean the same number of hires.


Thus, there might be an impact on the internship opportunities for the current MBA students, and our heart goes out to the MBA’s graduating now as it will be hard for them to get placements due to economic downfall. But students who are going in now will likely not face this difficulty overall.


A year or two down the lane economy will likely recover, and thus it’s the right time now to invest in your education. 


As discussed, there are pros and cons when it comes to the impact of coronavirus outbreak on B-school current and prospective students. Moving forward, business schools need to find ways to make virtual learning more beneficial, and career services must take immediate action towards placing their students.


These are testing times, which means people must make decisions. Hopefully, this article will give you a framework to decide what’s best for you. Even if you choose to wait it out and apply next year to business schools, you should take the opportunities and get done with the GMAT test for R1 MBA admissions next year.


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