How has COVID-19 changed the MBA admission process?

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By U2B Staff 

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The impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching impacting postgraduate and executive education. Business schools are reinventing MBA admission processes as well as teaching and learning to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Aspiring MBA and postgraduate candidates can expect changes in these areas will take place anywhere from now and in the coming months.

MBA admission testing goes online: Aspiring MBA and master’s graduate candidates can expect changes in the MBA admissions processes as testing bodies allow for online-based admission tests

As the entire globe is currently practicing some degree of social distancing, admissions tests including the GMAT and GRE have been suspended as test-centers cease operations. One of the main ways admissions is changing is now, candidates can expect admissions test to be conducted online.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a leading global association of business schools has introduced the GMAT™ Online Exam in order to support businesses schools’ admissions processes.

The GMAT™ Online exam is an online and remote proctored solution developed to support candidates and schools during the disruption to test center-based delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. While open to all test-takers, the GMAT Online exam format is intended to support candidates working to meet upcoming business school application deadlines.


Aspiring MBA candidates will be able to schedule appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week from April 20, 2020, until June 15, 2020. This development will benefit MBA or master’s programme hopefuls across the globe – except for several countries including China, Iran, North Korea and Cuba due to local privacy rules.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardised test owned and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). THE GRE is an admissions requirement for many graduate schools in the United States and Canada.

Starting from April 2, 2020, the GRE® General Test is available online globally, with the exception of China and Iran due to local privacy regulations. Aspiring graduate school applicants can expect to take the test at home, fully online and monitored. Test monitoring will be conducted online using live remote proctors and artificial intelligence technology.

Admission applications deadlines moved while admission interviews go online

Due to the current uncertainty brought about by the current pandemic, business schools are making unprecedented changes to their application processes. Many schools are pushing back final application deadlines for up to six weeks.

The MIT Sloan Management School has pushed back the deadline for early admission applications to June 2, 2020. The school has also conducted interviews virtually due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. However, the school is committed to adhering to it’s standard of excellence and aims to form graduate student cohorts of outstanding individuals.

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is also pushing back the deadline for enrolment into its programme to June 3, 2020.

Similarly, Columbia Business School (CBS), INSEAD, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, and UCLA Anderson School of Management have moved application deadlines to June 1, 2020.

Potential applicants can expect virtual admission interviews and campus tours as part of social distancing measures will see many business schools will be conducting admission interviews online – the MIT Sloan Management School is one of them.

Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business is organising virtual admission events and has also announced that all MBA admission interviews will be conducted through Skype.

Business schools, including Wharton Business School will also be moving MBA campus tours online, where prospective students will get to walk the grounds of the campus, virtually.

Internships move online while others will be stalled

According to the 2019 Fall Recruiting Trends Survey published by MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance CSEA, many internship employers are responding differently to the COVID-19 pandemic which has since shuttered many businesses across the globe.

In this report, the alliance finds that 79% of responding schools report employers going virtual with some or all internships while the same number report reductions in the number of internship-hires. While 60% of employers are reported to rescind internship offers, 45% are pushing back internship start dates.

However, MBA CSEA President Beth Ursin states that the MBA will retain its value to industries, “There’s a strong market for the skills that MBA and graduate business talent bring when the economy is solid,” says Ursin, who is also assistant dean and director of career management at Willamette University MBA in Oregon. “Equally important are the talents that these students bring to employers in the current situation, such as problem-solving, entering new markets, resiliency planning, and strategy.”