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Business School Applications Spike

MBA Applicants Are Undeterred by the Pandemic

MBA programs are seeing a record number of applications this cycle. This is a change from the past five years, when business school applications dropped due to a strong job market and high tuition costs. Now, however, programs like the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and others are seeing their application numbers climb by double-digit percentages.

Some schools anticipated falling international student numbers because of coronavirus-related restrictions entering the country as well as the possibility that classes would not meet in person. Indeed, this year, many students chose to defer.

Reasons for the Surge in Applications

The number of people applying for business school and other graduate programs tends to swell during economic downturns as people look to bulk up their resumes when the job market is difficult. This is part of the reason for the spike in MBA applications.

Additionally, this year a number of business schools waived or loosened standardized testing requirements and pushed back application dates because of COVID-19. This spurred many who might not have otherwise applied this year to submit b-school applications.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Current MBA Students

For some already in business school, the pandemic is presenting difficulties. Some business school students are paying $80,000 per year or more for remote classes. One big appeal of going to business school is that it provides opportunities to connect with other students and start building a valuable network. Some students are feeling frustrated that their schools have not lowered tuition even though their business school experience is fully or partially online.

Additionally, some business school students are concerned about entering a murky job market that appears to be much different from when they started school. Some companies are not even going through with their typical fall recruiting efforts. Though circumstances are challenging for business students at the moment, dealing with the current economic uncertainty may be good training for the difficult situations they may face later in their careers.

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