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MBA app Plunge Due to Covid-19: How And Why US B-Schools having a higher number of MBA applications During Covid-19?
Rachita Mitra logo

Rachita Mitra

Content Curator

World economy has been greatly affected due to Covid-19 but for graduate business education, Covid-19 set some extraordinary classroom strategies. Though the impacts of Covid 19 is still unknown for employment services and the number of MBA applications have seen an increase after a steady decay. Since March, Covid-19 affected the whole education system and the universities shut down their campus.

How did the Universities have a growth in MBA applications?

At the very beginning, the universities extended their admission deadlines to cope up with Covid-19. Next, the universities changed their admission requirements to apply some ease to the candidates. The change in admission requirements include the admission deadline extension and adding one more round for admission. It also included the acceptance of alternate tests.

All these cumulatively made the admission easier and more accessible to the candidates – as a result, the number of application increased. It is reported that there is an average increase of 22.6% in the MBA applications in 2020. In number there is almost 550 more applications in 2020 that too in 21 B-schools.

Now it is a fact that the class sizes increased for MBA enrollment 2020 in these universities. In some cases MBA application numbers increased with a record growth.

To be more specific, 12 B-Schools received an double digit MBA application increase in 2020. The table below holds the universities and percentage of increase in MBA applications in 2020.

According to the data found from M7 schools application, the graph below is prepared:

Percentage of Increase in MBA Application

This picture shows that the universities accepted approximately 2000 more applications to MBA programs during 2020. Northwestern university seems to have a major increase in MBA applications. It is believed that all these are possible because of changes made during Covid-19 in application requirements.

The table below shows MBA application statistics of last 3 years which shows that the number of MBA applications down and it had a steady decay in last 3 years:

School 2016-2017 Apps 2017-2018 Apps 2018-2019 Apps
Northwestern (Kellogg) 4,595 4,471 3,779
Penn (Wharton) 6,692 6,245 5,905
Harvard Business School 10,351 9,886 9,228
MIT (Sloan) 5,798 5,560 5,200
Chicago (Booth) 4,677 4,289 4,433
Stanford GSB 8,173 7,797 7,342
Columbia Business School 6,008 6,029 5,876

In 2020, the sudden growth in MBA application volume is affirmatively a blessing of Covid-19 to the US B-schools. In the table below, the MBA application statistics of last 4 years are given:

School 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
USC (Marshall) 1,998 2,017 1,899 3,159
Rice (Jones) 813 587 625 1,021
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 1,833 1,656 1,307 2,094
Northwestern (Kellogg) 4,595 4,471 3,779 5,813
UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 2,151 1,758 1,323 1,903
Virginia (Darden) 2,736 2,279 2,190 3,016
MIT (Sloan) 5,798 5,560 5,200 6,350
Cornell (Johnson) 1,960 1,600 1,535 1,872
Penn (Wharton) 6,692 6,245 5,905 7,158
Columbia Business School 6,008 6,029 5,876 6,971
Chicago (Booth) 4,677 4,289 4,433 4,909
Duke (Fuqua) 3,796 3,557 3,036 3,356
Dartmouth (Tuck) 2,610 2,621 2,032 2,219
Georgetown (McDonough) 1,742 1,459 1,358 1,482
Yale SOM 4,098 3,785 3,194 3,453
NYU (Stern) 3,927 3,781 3,518 3,692
UC-Berkeley (Haas) 4,132 3,821 3,540 3,696
Emory (Goizueta) 1,146 1,348 1,022 1,067
UCLA (Anderson) 3,314 3,423 2,817 2,866
Texas (McCombs) 2,586 2,078 1,941 1,964
Harvard Business School 10,351 9,886 9,228 9,304
Stanford GSB 8,173 7,797 7,342 7,324
Washington (Foster) 1,038 934 836 833
Indiana (Kelley) 1,247 1,082 741 728
Michigan (Ross) 3,485 3,188 2,990 2,567

This MBA application decline seems to be paused in 2020. This shows that MBA application has increased in 2020, compared to last years and the reason behind this is the change in admission requirements. Therefore, it will not be wrong to claim that even after having a number of negative impacts, Covid-19 had positive impacts on the B-schools.

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