The Covid-19 pandemic has affected various aspects of life around the globe. Admission to some of the best MBA programmes is also being affected. It is important for MBA aspirants in the new situation to navigate and finalise their application for MBA admission in time.
The good news for applicants is that business schools have demonstrated a great deal of flexibility in this challenging moment. By taking measures ranging from application extensions to online admission interviews, they have succeeded in ensuring a relatively smooth admission process in these unusual circumstances.
Different application strategies
Since schools are using different methods to overcome the disruption caused by the pandemic, applicants are advised to get in touch with the admissions departments of the schools they are interested in. Samantha Nesper, director of graduate admissions at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business (US), told U.S. News: "Reach out to your target schools and ask what your options are regarding testing, deadlines, admissions decisions and enrolment deferrals. Be honest about your individual barriers. You may find that each institution has different policies and contingency plans in place, but you will also find yourself armed with the knowledge necessary to make the best decision for you."
Deadlines are a major point of concern among applicants. That is why schools have taken measures such as deadline extensions and the addition of extra rounds of admissions. Stanford Graduate School of Business (US) has extended the deadline for sending third-round test scores by four months. At the same time, MIT Sloan (US) has extended its MBA early admission deadline and said that all interviews will be conducted via Skype. INSEAD (France) has also signalled they will conduct admission interviews online instead of face to face.
Applicants are also worried that they will not be able to submit scores from aptitude and language exams due to the wave of test centre closures related to the coronavirus. Fully aware of that, business schools such as London Business School (UK) announced that they will accept applications without GMAT, GRE and English scores if applicants are unable to take the tests and do not already have scores. Schools are typically expecting applicants to take the tests later when test centres reopen. Help has also come from the organisations administering the tests. GMAC announced it will offer an online GMAT alternative by mid-April, while at-home versions of the GRE and TOEFL are already available. Schools such as Berkeley Haas (US) have already started encouraging applicants to take advantage of these online exam options.
Testing at home
With aspirants’ ability to apply in time at stake, test providers were quick to start working on temporary alternatives to compensate for test centre closures. Here are the latest updates on some of the major exams required for admission to MBA programmes.
GMAC, the organisation administering the GMAT exam, is preparing a temporary online alternative. The at-home version is expected by mid-April, if not sooner. More details are expected in the coming days. GMAC has also temporarily waived all GMAT exam reschedule fees. Test takers can now reschedule to another date and/or location (pending any travel restrictions) at no charge.
Test takers have been able to take advantage of the at-home version of the GRE General Test since 27 March 2020. Online registration is open in the following countries and administrative regions: United States, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong (China), and Macau (China). These at-home solutions are expected to become available in more locations in the coming weeks.
GRE at Home is identical in content, format, on-screen experience, scoring, and pricing as the test taken at a test centre. Every test feature that students would expect in the test centre will still be available to test takers via this solution. The security of the test will be ensured by both supervisors and artificial intelligence technology able to spot “even the hardest-to-detect incidents”.
ETS has launched a TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test in some regions. There also no rescheduling fees for test takers. The home edition of the test is identical in content, format, on-screen experience, and scoring to the test given at a test centre. Similar to the GRE home version, the security of the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition is ensured by live supervisors and artificial intelligence technology.
The Covid-19 outbreak has undeniably made applying to an MBA programme more difficult, but business schools and test providers have taken appropriate measures to make the application possible in the new situation. MBA studies are a life-changing experience on the career and personal level and applicants’ plans should not be put on hold.
Stay tuned for more updates as the world of business education finds its way through the pandemic.