What Covid-19 Means for MBA Students

People don’t wish to study in a country with Covid swarming up and why is that important

Covid-19 has changed and shifted the decisions made by the MBA students. Rather than considering from the fame of the institution to the depth of the courses they provide, location wise has also became a prominent factor. This can be observed from the survey that was conducted by the education research firm Carrington Crisp and a certified organization, EFMD. The outcome portrays that over 23% of MBA students are willing to abandon their enrollment if the respective country is under the influence of Covid-19.

This is heavily looked upon it due to the fact that the demand for the MBA degrees has risen up in the period of Covid as the uncertainty in economy prevails employees to chase stronger qualifications. This phenomenon results higher enrollment of MBA students but with this pandemic taking into account.

Many experts see this as an unavoidable result from this pandemic. Eric Cornuel, Management Development President for the European Foundation, emphasizes on the importance for school to acknowledge that epidemic control in a certain country is what makes student decides to come for MBA course.

Cornuel argues that difference in Covid control especially during the early waves determined their current economic stand. Lack of government’s actions and policy to contain the virus such as Brazil and India is facing the consequences whereas leading nations like Australia and New Zealand with a strong containment of the virus is able to recover from the damage.

Furthermore, he acknowledges why MBA candidates are deferring their offer. The quality of their study shows strong correlations with the Covid containment including the successful implementation of vaccine roll-outs, accurate track and trace systems, logistical management within the campus and whether the online course can meet up to the quality from the campus. He added “Experts across the disciplines agree that students are showing considerate but thoughtful observations to decide their school to enroll.”  

Is travel restrictions making a huge impact for MBA students?

An empty airport in Incheon, South Korea due to quarentine requirements diswaying international travel

Schools witnessed greater number of students deciding to study in their home country. With growing population of offshore study, this raises concerns over poor quality of online teaching.

“No one likes to study through Zoom or online when learning in campus in comparison provide much more value to the experience” discussed by the Antonia Kalkavoura, director of corporate affairs at Alba Graduate Business School in Athens, Greece. She states that with such high tuition fees and lack of networking for the online teachings, the course become mediocre with an example of petition signed by vast number of students.

Top MBA schools like Stanford and Wharton couldn’t avoid the petition as well where students have requested refunds or discounts from what they believe that the quality provided through online course did not meet the standard of the school fees they endured.

Kalkavoura also suggested that the westerns countries like US and Europe are ahead vaccination campaigns where Asia, in other hand, which had effectively contained the virus via public health efforts, is now falling behind. She says countries that are better off with this pandemic or their vaccination rollout is experiencing more applicants wanting to study. This was backed up by Andrew Crisp, co-founder of Carrington Crisp, where leading countries with vaccination rollout will retain favorable position when it comes to students deciding where to study from end of 2021.

Another consideration is the physical obstacle which is travel restrictions. MBA Director at Maastricht University in Netherland, Boris Blumberg, worried “Students will simply not commence their study if they can’t come to Netherlands due to travel restrictions” He however, does predict the will be temporary until the restrictions are valid and vaccination campaign are rolled out.

Travel limitations have been one of the major hurdles restricting the growth of MBA applications, particularly from overseas students but also if students who are obliged to begin their education online may acquire post-study work permits. Last year, the United States was forced to backtrack after a backlash erupted from declaring that overseas students would be barred from living in the country if they only took lessons online.

Beyond post-MBA graduates during Covid

According to the MBA director at China Europe International Business School, Shameen Prashantham, there a percentage of students that is yet to make decisions and decided to postpone their enrollment and neglecting their study option this year.

He argues that although the safety factor is a motive for students to decide where to study but ultimately not the biggest decision driver. He admits, however, that the epidemic is tied to an applicant’s belief on the economy of a specific country. Moreover, he explains that MBA graduates will gain more opportunity if the country they reside to study recovers faster from pandemic which is linked to the pandemic country.

International students need to consider after their graduation, settling down in a foreign society with often a huge debt. When this is taken into account, if leading companies are not hiring, that is going to make international students unfavorable to apply to that country. Therefore, students are willing to understand and aware the necessity for containment measures and minimize the pandemic’s influence on the application trends.

With multiple mutations and variations that are destructive and unstoppable such as Delta type, Blumberg at Massatricht discussed the uncertainty of more mutations to evolve is substantial and will continuously put countries in risk with high infection rates like Latin America currently.

The United Kingdom is becoming a popular place to study for overseas MBA candidates due to its sucessful vaccination campaigns

A survey of 105,083 prospective students conducted by the higher education think-tank Quacquarelli Symonds shows that 47 percent of people agreed that the UK has become an attractive destination for oversea students. This is due to the fact that UK showed impressive result with their vaccinations campaign and its successful outcome.

Open communication between institutions and applicants is becoming more crucial with the unpredictability of the current situation. CEIBS’ Prashantham explains “Although we may not have all of the answers, continuous and open communication is critical.”

According to Crisp, the long-term result might be more students preferring to study online, perhaps eliminating the need for travel. “Countries that provide high-quality online education will benefit the most.”

It is early to say whether the current direction will maintain its tendency with the uncertainty still beneath around Covid for business schools.

Read More: The Continuos Demand for MBA Programs

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