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Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts on How Coronavirus is Affecting MBA Applications and the Resulting “Extra” Round

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts on How Coronavirus is Affecting MBA Applications and the Resulting “Extra” Round

First, Personal MBA Coach would like to send our best wishes to you and your loved ones during this challenging time.

It is no surprise that COVID-19 has changed this year’s MBA application process. Most notably, it has created a unique Round 3/4 this spring/summer.

Historically I have discouraged most candidates from applying during round 3. With few slots, later rounds traditionally have had very low acceptance rates. However, the story is quite different this year.

Admissions directors at top schools have directly shared with me how they expect to have an unusual number of late cycle admits this year and many have added or extended their application deadlines accordingly.

Below is a chart listing the updated application deadlines for those schools that have extended their deadlines for class of 2022 hopefuls.

They are taking this approach for a few reasons. First, a sizeable number of international candidates may be forced to defer if they are unable to secure visas in time to arrive on campuses this fall. In addition, after a few cycles with a decreasing or flat number of MBA applicants, admissions directors are hopeful that a softer economy will encourage strong candidates to apply.

As many top schools open their doors for candidates, round 3 (or 4) could be a great option for class of 2023 MBA hopefuls who are ready to start classes in September.

In addition, those candidates who did not fare as expected in round 1 or 2 might now have an opportunity to broaden their school lists during round 3. Some schools are even allowing candidates to appeal previous rejections. This week, Kellogg became the first top school to publicly announce this option.

Finally, if your current or expected employment situation has suddenly changed due to economic conditions, beginning business school this fall may now be an attractive proposition for you.

In order to ease the application process for late class of 2020 hopefuls, some schools are waiving the GMAT requirement. Kellogg became the first top school to announce that round 3 applicants will not be required to submit a GMAT score. Others are allowing alternate or delayed testing score. However, we still recommend taking the test! If you get a great score, you can beat others who decide to skip it. Remember waiving does not mean you necessarily get accepted.

GMAC has also made an online GMAT test available to support MBA candidates. Registration for the online exam is now open. Candidates are only allowed to take the online test one time (though repeat in person testing will be an option) and scores cannot be cancelled. For many candidates, the option to take the exam in the comfort of your own home could be a good one. Personal MBA Coach encourages MBA hopefuls to consider whether the online exam could be a good fit for you, especially now that many of you have extra time on your hands.

As you weigh the option to apply/reapply this spring/summer or wait until round 1, keep in mind that the increasing number of deferrals combined with a weakened economy are likely to lead to an extremely competitive MBA 2020/2021 application cycle. Getting ahead of this could be a compelling choice for some.

Wondering if round 3 is right for you? Need help pulling together your application strategy quickly? Personal MBA Coach is here to help. Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.


Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 13 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email scott@personalmbacoach.com for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!

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