Applications to some top-tier M.B.A. programs are soaring this year after schools extended application deadlines and loosened their standardized testing requirements amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
After several years of falling application numbers, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management and other elite programs are reporting double-digit percentage application increases for their fall 2020 classes. It is an early indication that at least the top few M.B.A. programs are managing to stay stable through the pandemic and reversing several years of declining demand, according to the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council, which tracks hundreds of M.B.A. programs.
Students typically flock to B-schools and graduate programs during economic downturns, as advanced degrees are seen as a way to help further careers even as the job market languishes.
At Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, applications for this fall were initially down until Covid-19 hit.
“Starting in April through our July deadline, our applications soared,” said Shelly Heinrich, the school’s associate dean of M.B.A. admissions. “We started receiving a lot of applications from people who had been furloughed, laid off, who are looking for their next step.”