The impact of COVID-19 on the business school application process affects us all differently. To get a sense of the implications, you need to work out how they impact your application. Sweeping generalizations won’t help you to weigh up the value proposition of business school.
In our BusinessBecause MBA Application Guide 2020-21, we explain how COVID-19 could make applying for business school more competitive this cycle. We also list the latest MBA application deadlines to help you plan your business school application for a 2021 start.
With coronavirus, applying to business school is a little different. If you’re considering an MBA or master’s program, you should be aware of some of the most common misconceptions candidates have about applying to business school right now:
Applying to business school during COVID-19 | 7 Myths
Myth 1: The process is less competitive
While there are probably fewer international students applying right now, due in part to issues with visas, business school applications tend to be counter-cyclical to the economy. When people are losing their jobs, or need to upskill to be more competitive, business school applications rise.
The competitiveness of your application may be affected by different factors based on your specific circumstances, so there is no blanket rule when it comes to how competitive you will be compared to your peers.
Myth 2: The value proposition of the MBA has changed
The value of your MBA plays out over your whole career. It is an investment in the long-term. While graduating into a recession can certainly affect your first job after graduation, the return on investment is about more than your first job.
An MBA could still be a boon to your longer-term career trajectory. Business school can still create opportunities that you would not otherwise have access to. Think about whether this is the right time for you, and what goals you wanted to achieve in the first place.
Myth 3: Video interviews are fundamentally different
The qualities admissions officers are looking for in candidates have not changed. There are obviously some extra aspects you’ll need to think about (such as the technology, background and lighting), but you should prepare for video interviews in the same way you’d prepare for in-person interviews. You should make sure you that you have done your research, practiced the interview with someone you trust, and thought through different questions.
Myth 4: Scholarships are off the table
Scholarships may be more competitive now as applicants’ finances take a hit. Companies may also be more reluctant to sponsor an applicant’s studies. But scholarships are not off the table. There are still funds available for competitive candidates.
Myth 5: Taking the online GMAT is better or worse than taking the GMAT at a test center
You should take the GMAT when you are ready—whether that means taking the GMAT Online Exam or the in-person test. A test-taker’s readiness is a bigger factor than the small differences between the test-taking experiences.
Myth 6: There is no point getting an MBA in this jobs market
There’s no doubt the MBA jobs market is tougher, but an MBA might be even more valuable in setting yourself apart from your peers and figuring out how to navigate the new world of work.
If your industry is hard-hit or if you have lost your job, it might make sense to sit out the recession in business school. You’ll get the connections, skills and ability to pivot that could make all the difference to help you retool, reposition and reset.
Myth 7: It’s impossible to choose a business school without campus visits
As many international students will know, visiting a business school is not the only way to understand its culture. In fact, a lack of opportunities to visit campus has leveled the playing field. You’ll need to engage more online and do more online networking with students and alumni to do your research, and to determine if a school is the right fit.