Covid19 and MBA Admissions: The Deans Are Talking, Are You Listening?

I have been asked, what coronavirus means for MBA Admissions. Will Adcoms be looking for anything different?

I advise looking for answers the way I always do: listen carefully to what schools are saying (and not saying) and interpret it carefully.

For example, a recent post-Corona BusinessBecause interview of six b-school Deans and Associate Deans around the world, sheds some light. I share two with you.

Peter Tufano, Oxford University Saïd Business School: “This is not a time for business as usual. This is a time for business unusual. We need to think about not only the world in which we find ourselves, but also the world that we want to build when we emerge from this pandemic, economic and humanitarian crisis. We are going to have to collaborate and act in new ways. We are going to have to be mindful not only of the present, but of the future.

“This calls for leadership that can not only deal with the realities of disrupted supply chains and cash flow constraints, but also the longer-term goals of creating a better economy and society.”

Tai-Yuan Chen, HKUST Business School: “It is imperative for business practitioners to evolve with time. Specialization gives competitive edge but a holistic business understanding and the ability to speak the language of different business units are equally important.

“If you are considering to equip yourself with new skill sets, aim at those that offer you flexibility, so that you can evolve with time, intellectually and professionally, and adapt to changes when required, giving you a much stronger foothold in the ever-changing economic environment.

“The coronavirus crisis prompted us to rethink the objective of our education. Instead of just preparing students for normal times, we should take the opportunity to empower their professional knowledge, skills and mentality for crisis as well.”

The takeaway: along with the standard attributes you need to get into an elite business school, at the current moment there is particular admissions value for those who can show evidence of flexibility in crisis, holistic thinking, overcoming a significant change event, reducing uncertainty, or collaborating to create better outcomes.