How COVID-19 Has Changed Business Schools Forever


Carlson classroom

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry.

Business schools, in particular, have been hit hard and the impact of the pandemic will have lasting effects. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought positive changes. Chris Stokel-Walker from Bloomberg recently spoke to experts about how the pandemic has changed the operations of School B.


The pandemic forced business schools to close their campuses in March 2020. Universities have varied in their tactical for a return to campus. For the most part, class sizes have shrunk as hybrid learning models and social distancing have taken priority.

At Oxford Said, class sizes have been halved – from 80 to 40 students per class – to allow for good social distancing. As universities and colleges open their campuses this fall, Oxford has decided to reduce class sizes.

“This fits with the way Oxford sees teaching, which is very conversation and discussion-based, and very interactive,” said Kathy Harvey, associate dean of MBA and executive degrees at Said Business School. Oxford University Bloomberg.

According to Harvey, some of the teachings will remain asynchronous and face-to-face meetings will be used to promote engaging discussions.

“We’ve found a better way and we’re not planning on stopping,” she says. Bloomberg.

While students have found half-empty classrooms weird and intimidating during the pandemic, many now say they welcome a smaller class size and the benefits the environment promotes.

“However, we quickly realized that the smaller classes offered new opportunities for equality and quality of interaction,” says Martina Sokolikova, MBA student at Oxford Said. Bloomberg.


During the pandemic, a large number of B schools have chosen to forgo standardized admission tests – a silver lining for MBA applicants.

Some 67 of the top 100 B schools are now fully optional or allow testing waivers.

“There are so many stories from students around the world that it made the decision easier,” said Soojin Kwon, general manager of admissions and the full-time MBA program at Ross School of Business, University of the Michigan. “Even though the testing centers have reopened, going to one and feeling safe in one is another story. And although students can take the test online, taking a standardized test at home is difficult because some students are disturbed by friends or family members or have had their internet connection slowed down. It is therefore difficult to do better in these conditions.

Sources: Bloomberg, Harvard Crimson, Time, P&Q

Next page: UCLA Anderson Editorial Tips

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