How the MBA Became More Attractive During COVID

Applications to business schools increased by 2.4% globally last year, despite the world shutting down by a pandemic. Notably, applications to Columbia Business School and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania jumped 18% and 21% respectively.

According to experts, this increase in MBA admissions is here to stay. Bloomberg Business Week recently took a look at how business schools are poised to maintain their surge in admissions during a pandemic over the next several years.


One of the main reasons business schools saw such a big jump in applications last year is due to the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the global economy.

“As the economy turned around from high growth to a screeching halt, many mid-career professionals began to cover their careers,” said Rahul Choudaha, director of industry analysis at GMAC. The Wall Street Journal. “They see business schools as a chance to get out of this uncertainty.”

With the campus closures last March, business schools had to find innovative ways to attract potential candidates. For many schools, this meant lengthening application deadlines, offering deferred admission options, and forgoing GMAT and GRE admission requirements – strategies that many experts say helped the MBA degree become an option. attractive in an economic recession.

“Suddenly going back to school wasn’t a bad thing, because of the threat of job losses and real job losses,” said Brad Staats, professor and associate dean of MBA programs at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. Bloomberg Affairs.

Kenan-Flagler saw a massive 43% jump in MBA applications last year. To cope with the increase, the school increased its class size by 37%. Additionally, Kenan-Flagler extended his final round four application deadline by more than three months, a key strategy that allowed for additional nominations.

“It’s definitely a book for the books,” said Danielle Richie, senior associate director of MBA admissions and student recruitment at the school. P&Q. “We increased the class size because we had so many strong, quality applicants that we really wanted to create a diverse class from the increased pool. Some of the innovative things we’ve done have been successful in attracting a larger pool of applicants. “

At IE Business School in Madrid, the full-time MBA program has also seen an increase in applications over the past year. Mar Hurtado, vice president of global recruitment and marketing at IE, said growth was only accelerated by the pandemic as candidates began to understand the importance of an MBA in tough times.

“So many people who lost their jobs didn’t take care of training themselves; they thought their business was going to be here to deliver forever, ”said Hurtado Bloomberg Business Week.

Sources: Bloomberg Business Week, GMAC, P&Q, The Wall Street Journal, P&Q

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