Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 5, 2020

MBA Applications Surge At Elite Business Schools During COVID-19

Wall Street Journal, Applicants Flock to Elite Business Schools to Ride Out the Coronavirus Pandemic:

MBA ApplicationApplications to some top-tier M.B.A. programs are soaring this year after schools extended application deadlines and loosened their standardized testing requirements amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

After several years of falling application numbers, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management and other elite programs are reporting double-digit percentage application increases for their fall 2020 classes. It is an early indication that at least the top few M.B.A. programs are managing to stay stable through the pandemic and reversing several years of declining demand, according to the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council, which tracks hundreds of M.B.A. programs.

Students typically flock to B-schools and graduate programs during economic downturns, as advanced degrees are seen as a way to help further careers even as the job market languishes. ...

Applications to American M.B.A. programs have been falling for five straight years due to a hot job market and high tuition costs. It can’t be determined yet how applications at most U.S. M.B.A. programs outside the top few universities have fared until GMAC releases more data later this fall. ...

Not all schools are reporting soaring application volumes. Applications to Harvard Business School were up less than 1% from a year ago. The school eliminated its third round several years ago and its final deadline was in January. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business did extend its application deadline but posted a 14% decline in applications. ...

Consultants and admissions coaches say the broad decline of international students is likely to hurt midtier schools, which might not have seen the application spikes elite schools have, but that is unknown until GMAC publishes its application survey later this year.

“The M.B.A. market hasn’t been growing for a long time. It could be a redistribution of market share toward the top,” said Tim Westerbeck, president of higher-education consulting firm Eduvantis. “It can be pretty easy to grow applications, you ramp up marketing, lower barriers with testing waivers and offer maximum flexibility.”

Poets & Quants, Big Drops In MBA Applications, International Students At Michigan Ross

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