Coronavirus Concerns Disrupt MBA Admissions Interviews, Testing and More
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reaches over 80,000 globally, mounting concerns have disrupted normal operations of MBA admissions testing, interviews and events.
Entrance Exam Sessions Suspended
GMAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFL testing in mainland China has been pushed back further to the end of March. On its official website, the Graduate Management Admissions Council, which owns and administers the GMAT and Executive Assessment, states the following:
“In the interest of the health and safety of our candidates, all testing in Mainland China has been suspended through March 31, 2020. Previously scheduled GMAT and Executive Assessment test appointments at test centers in Mainland China through March 31, 2020 are being canceled and full refunds provided to candidates who had appointments scheduled during this time. No new appointments are being accepted through the end of March.
“Appointments for the GMAT exam and the Executive Assessment can be made at test centers in Mainland China for dates as of April 1, 2020 and beyond. Test centers in the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Taiwan are open and accepting test appointments for test dates as of February 3. We are working closely with our testing partner to expand testing availability.”
In addition, GMAT testing in Northern Italy, which has nearly 500 confirmed cases of the virus, has also been postponed until early March. The virus has also caused delays in the QS World Grad School Tour, which originally featured stops in Torino, Milan, Bologna, Rome, and Naples in mid-March, until May 2020.
GRE testing will also be temporarily delayed in Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Vietnam. Testing has officially resumed, however, in Hong Kong.
MBA Admissions Interviews Move Online
Business schools are also making adjustments to their admissions practices in response to health risks and travel restrictions stemming from the coronavirus threat. Instead of conducting admissions interviews in-person in China, Duke Fuqua will be holding them via Skype, according to Associate Dean of Admissions Shari Hubert. For those invited to interview at Wharton, but affected by travel restrictions, Director of Admissions Blair Mannix noted that the school is offering virtual Team-Based Discussion interviews.
The Switzerland-based school, IMD, also cancelled admissions interviews in Singapore, and expects to host online interviews and case studies for candidates affected by travel restrictions. ESMT in Berlin conducts most of their interviews online anyway, but Head of Marketing Rick Doyle reported that they have altered some travel in the coming months and will be relying on local alumni to engage candidates face-to-face. For applicants affected by the availability of the GMAT and TOEFL, ESMT is trying to be flexible.
On the applicant side, a Yale SOM interviewee and a Georgetown McDonough candidate reported on LiveWire that their admissions interviews were changed from in-person to online.
Per the image, anon20605 stated: “I had an interview with MSB (Georgetown) off campus (Mumbai) on 7 Feb. They postponed it and changed it to a virtual interview because the team preferred not to travel due to the outbreak.”
Community member anon42375 wrote: “Yale interview with admissions in Tokyo was cancelled on Wednesday, and I had to reschedule for an online interview via Zoom.”
Safety Measures Mean On-campus Interactions Go Virtual, Too
Business schools in China have been closely monitoring the outbreak, with on-campus life at schools undergoing changes. On February 21st, the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) held its first “virtual town hall,” sharing admissions and other updates to the school’s MBA calendar.
The town hall was hosted by CEIBS Vice President and Dean Yuan Ding, who said,
“Although we have seen encouraging signs of improvement recently, we must balance this optimism with caution when it comes to the safety of the CEIBS community. As such, we have introduced a series of measures to adjust our schedules for term dates, overseas lectures, INNOVATEChina and MBA graduation, so as to avoid large scale gatherings until the coronavirus is brought completely under control.”
CEIBS Associate Dean and MBA Director Juan Antonio Fernandez added, “Despite the geographic distances involved, the MBA Office will strive to remain close to you all, now more so than ever as we temporarily move lectures from the classroom to the cloud for term three.”
As members of a global community, business schools are taking every precaution in light of the coronavirus. Stay tuned for ongoing updates.