Paul L. Caron

Saturday, May 16, 2020

MBA Programs Brace For Enrollment Declines, Deferrals Due To COVID-19

Following up on my previous posts:

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A. Programs Across the Globe Anticipate Drop in Fall Enrollment:

Business schools in the U.S. and abroad are bracing for a decline in enrollment for the rest of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic upends higher education and threatens already-fragile graduate programs.

In past years, an economic downturn typically results in an uptick in prospective students going to business school because they are eager to get a leg up in a tough job market. But the current threat of Covid-19, which has cleared out college campuses and forced many schools to complete spring semesters online, coupled with a recession is shaping up to be different.

Nearly half of business schools now say they expect enrollment to slide for academic terms that start within the next six months, according to a survey released Thursday by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the business-school accrediting firm.

Wall Street Journal, Top MBA Programs Ponder Deferrals:

Business schools are weighing whether to allow admitted students to postpone enrollment by a year or two as colleges and universities across the U.S. grapple with whether and how to reopen campuses this fall.

Much of the value of business schools’ flagship M.B.A. programs comes from their in-person activities, such as networking with classmates, overseas trips and career fairs, some students say. A delayed start or deferral allows admitted students to preserve that on-campus experience for a later date.

M.B.A. programs, already on shaky ground amid years of falling application numbers, could face big tuition losses and trouble filling classes if masses of students defer. Schools could also lose room and board fees if some students take classes remotely.

Some of the highest-ranked business programs are taking different approaches. Harvard Business School, which exerts significant influence across higher education, recently said that it would grant deferrals to any admitted students who want them. ...

An April survey of prospective business-school students found 38% of domestic students and 49% of international students are considering delaying applying to programs, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, a nonprofit that administers the GMAT exam, the standardized test for graduate business and management programs.

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