2 Hits 1 Miss and 1 Draw From The Economist’s Article On The MBA Class Of COVID-19

The Economist wrote a fascinating article on how COVID-19 is impacting business schools.

Hit: Employer Demand For MBA Degrees In A Post-COVID Economy

The Economist quotes Edieal Pinker, deputy dean of the Yale School of Management, as asking: “Do you think the problems the pandemic created for society and the economy are narrow specialised problems or complex ones that cut across sectors and disciplines?”. The Economist answers the question by quoting the GMAC’s survey of top firms that recruit at business schools which found that: “89% intended to hire MBAs in 2021, up from 77% last year”.

Business schools are doing their best to prepare their students for the post-COVID economy. An article in the Wall Street Journal looked at how business schools are adapting their curriculums to study the decisions that companies made during the pandemic.

Miss: Horizontal Learning

Employer demand may be up, but the MBA experience has changed. The Economist quotes Ilian Mihov, the dean of INSEAD, defining the term “horizontal learning” as working in teams or discussing the day’s lessons over coffee. With programs having shifted online the class of COVID-19 has missed out on this critical MBA experience.

Hit: Class Sizes

Class sizes are going up and that’s great news. It means more students will have access to the resources provided by top institutes. For students it will mean more networking opportunities and richer classroom discussions especially in the niche electives that are becoming increasingly popular at MBA programs. The Economist quotes Madhav Rajan, dean of Chicago Booth, as saying that they “enrolled the largest full-time MBA class ever”. Columbia and other programs have reported similar changes to their class sizes.

Draw: International Admission Chances At MBA Programs

The Economist quotes a study from the GMAC which found that less than 50% of US and Asia Pacific MBA programs reported a rise in the number of international applicants. This is in contrast to Canadian and European programs where a majority of programs reported a rise in the number of international applications.

How applicants should feel about this mostly depends on where they’re applying. Europe and Canada have become comparatively more competitive for international applicants, while American and Asian programs, in light of increased class sizes, have become easier for internationals to secure entry to.

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