A Guide To Business School Admissions for Ukrainian Citizens During A War

1 Introduction

The worst outbreak of war in Europe since the Second World War has left the world in shock. The after effects of the conflict are likely to be devastating, with many Ukrainians asking “what now?”. Whether it be ambitious young professionals who want a business education so they can help rebuild the country or those who want to ensure that their talents are best utilized abroad, we’ve put together a quick guide for those considering business school in a time of war.

2 Eligibility

Soon after the invasion began the Ukrainian government ordered all men between the ages of 18 and 60 to remain in the country.

The earliest that an applicant could reasonably expect to leave to attend their program would be over the summer. It seems unlikely that such a ban would remain in effect that long. Therefore for aspiring business school applicants planning for a graduate degree isn’t out of the question.

Note that the ban doesn’t apply to Ukrainian citizens outside of Ukraine. Even in some apocalyptic scenario where such a ban remained in effect for an extended period of time, individuals could expect with a high degree of confidence that they would be allowed to defer for a year.

2.1 Educations Visas for Ukrainian Citizens Seeking Admission Abroad

The United States and other countries have withdrawn all diplomatic presence from Ukraine. Depending on how long hostilities continue aspiring candidates can likely expect some form of visa services to resume before the matriculation date for programs. If visa services do not resume in time, or there is a backlog of visa applications, candidates can expect business programs to be receptive to requests for deferrals.

Note that Ukrainian citizens living outside of Ukraine can apply for student visas in the embassies of their current host country. For example, if a Ukrainian citizen is currently in Poland then that citizen will be able to apply for an F-1 student visa at the American embassy in Poland.

3 Timing

3.1 Round 3 Versus Round 1

Most elite MBA programs have Round 3 admissions in about a month’s time, for programs that would start later this year. You can track the deadlines on our sister site, Glow.

For those who are interested in a Master of Management degree instead of an MBA, here are some top programs across the globe that (i) have a good track record of helping international students find jobs, and (ii) are still accepting applications from international students for a program starting in the Fall of 2022:

HEC Montréal Master of Science (MSc) - International Business

Deadline: March

Kellogg MS in Management Studies

Deadline: April

HEC Paris Master in Management

Deadline: April

Essec Master in Management (MIM)

Deadline: April

LBS Masters in Management

Deadline: May

INSEAD Master in Management Programme

Deadline: May

ESMT Berlin Master in Management (MIM) Innovative Management track

Deadline: June

Antwerp AMS Master Global Management

Deadline: June

LSE Master's in Management

Rolling Admissions

Alternatively applicants can target programs that would begin in the Fall of 2023. Such applicants have plenty of time to work on their candidacy – applications won’t even open until the Summer of 2022.

3.2 Fall Entry Versus Winter Entry

A select number of elite business schools offer programs starting in the winter of 2022/2023. For the most part applications are now open for such programs and aspiring candidates can get a decision well in advance of their matriculation.

The top such MBA programs are:

Columbia January Entry MBA

HEC Paris MBA (January Intake)

INSEAD MBA January Intake

Ivey One-Year MBA Program

ESMT Berlin Full-time MBA

And highly rated Master’s in Management programs are:

CMU Tepper Master of Science in Product Management

Ivey MSc in Management, International Business

The NUS MSc in Management

4 Standardized Exams

During the height of the pandemic most elite business programs offered a GMAT waiver. The number of business schools that are presently offering one has declined. However Beacon contacted the admissions offices of various elite MBA programs using dummy email addresses pretending to be Ukrainian citizens seeking admissions for later this year without a GMAT score and we found the programs were generally open to providing special waivers given the unprecedented nature of the crisis.

The bottom line is that even programs that don’t presently offer GMAT waivers may be willing to make an exception for Ukrainian citizens.

5 Narratives

A large part of business school applications come down to the narratives that applicants write in their essays. For those presently in Ukraine we can only imagine the kinds of scenes that have been witnessed. It may be too soon to relive them for the purposes of an application, but tragedies can translate into powerful admissions narratives. In the past we’ve worked with clients from Afghanistan and found admissions committees generally receptive to essays about the experience of conflict.

For Ukrainian candidates living outside of the Ukraine, narratives focused on experiencing the war from afar, the influence that one’s Ukrainian heritage has had on a life built outside of Ukraine, or a commitment to helping Ukraine rebuild are avenues to consider.

6 Overall Chances

These are grim times and this is a dark topic to write about. Thinking about a national catastrophe with respect to advancing one’s own education feels uncomfortable. Ultimately, though, Ukraine will need leaders to rebuild. WhatsApp, PayPal and Snapchat are just some of the leading companies that owe their success to Ukrainian talent. Given the fortitude shown by the people of Ukraine and the possibility that with rising geopolitical tensions there may be more conflicts like Ukraine in the future that educated leaders will have to navigate, Ukrainian applicants can expect their applications for graduate education to be viewed favorably.

We’d be happy to speak with you about your application. You can reach out to us. We wish you all our best.

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