Immediate Implications Of COVID-19 For MBA Applicants


I hope you are all hanging in there with the many disruptions that I know have taken place in your daily lives. There is no doubt about it – we are all living through an unprecedented event in modern times with coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, not surprisingly, things have been and will continue to be in flux for business schools during these difficult times. Below are four immediate implications of COVID-19 for MBA applicants.

Deadlines are being extended, schools are adding rounds, and/or programs are being flexible with standardized testing

Given the dislocation that is taking place globally, some business schools are extending their deadlines to provide applicants with more time to put together their application materials. For example, Columbia Business School has extended its deadline from April 10th to June 1st and Harvard Business School is pushing out its application deadline for deferred 2+2 applicants from April 2nd to June 1st.


Some schools are also adding an additional round given the fluidity of the situation. For instance, while Tuck is maintaining its Round 3 deadline, it has added a one-time Round 4 to accommodate candidates who need more time for their applications. This round is rolling from April 1st to June 1st.


Business schools are also being more flexible in Round 3 with respect to standardized testing requirements given that many testing centers are now closed (note that the GRE is now offering the option to take the exam at home in some countries). For example, Wharton is allowing Round 3 applicants to submit an application without the GMAT/GRE score with the understanding that if admitted, official test scores will be submitted prior to arriving on campus on August 10th.


If you are applying in Round 3, check with the school to understand any new policies.


There will be larger waitlists this year and more movement off of those waitlists

Because there is just too much uncertainty in the current environment, expect business school programs to have larger waitlists this year that they will draw from in order to fill any gaps in their upcoming class in the Fall. In particular, there is a high likelihood that international students who have been accepted in Rounds 1 and 2 will experience delays in visa processing, which may result in them asking for deferrals if they are unable to matriculate in the Fall. These dynamics will also likely lead to a larger number of candidates than is the norm being accepted in Round 3.

School research will have to be done virtually/digitally

Campus visits have always been one important way of learning about MBA programs; however, note that they are not the only way. With business schools cancelling in-person marketing initiatives, research will have to be done virtually. What are some of these digital ways? You can peruse each school’s website, sign up for webinars (in the current environment, many more webinars are being hosted by MBA programs), and speak with current students and alumni. A recent blog that I wrote on this topic for the Economist goes into this in a little more depth, “How to research business schools to demonstrate fit in your MBA applications.”


This is a time for opportunity

Difficult times can often turn into opportunities as you turn towards self-discovery. As more and more of you are required to work or study from home and as external events get cancelled, I encourage you to use this time to take care of yourselves and to reflect. As the environment rapidly changes, I am seeing more and more students and professionals putting thought into their future educational plans.


If you’ve been putting it off, now is a great time to start studying for the GMAT/GRE. You can also learn more about business school and the MBA application process through other articles I have written, our blog, and webinars.

Please consider Ivy Groupe to be a resource as you look ahead, and stay healthy and safe!

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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.

Click on the links to learn more about our company and how you can work with us to maximize your chances of gaining admission to the MBA programs of your choice.

#MBAApplication #GMAT #GRE #COVID19 #coronavirus

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