MBA in 2021: MBA World in the Post Covid-19 Reality

There is perhaps no aspect of this world that the Coronavirus pandemic did not leave a mark on! As for the MBA world, there are quite a few things that you need to be wary about while applying in the upcoming sessions.

But, at the same time the core components of international MBA programs still remain the same.

The shift to the online world is the most obvious and visible change in the educational sector. But this has had far more deep impacts for MBA candidates. Be it a change in the budget for the course, online classes, or the future prospects that an MBA degree provides, it is time to prepare strategies to suit the ‘new normal’!

So, let’s start by taking a look at some of the broader changes that are coming to shape in the post Covid-19 MBA world.

1. Changes in school ranking

There are quite a few aspects that are considered into the creation of MBA school rankings. So, while the final rankings cannot be confirmed until a few more months down the line, we do have access to certain temporary rankings.

For example, here’s a look at the top-MBA school rankings in 2021 as per USNews:

B-School Rank(2021) Rank(2020)
Wharton 1 2
Stanford 1 3
Booth 3 10
Kellogg 3 11
MIT Sloan 5 6
Harvard 6 1
Haas 7 12
Columbia 8 8
Yale 9 14
NYU Stern 10 22
Darden 11 18
Fuqua 12 16
Ross 12 30
Tuck 12 16
Johnson 15 23
Anderson 16 25

As you can see, there have been certain remarkable shifts in this list, and the condition is quite prevalent throughout the globe. Needless to say, the Coronavirus pandemic had a role to play in this shift. But, rankings of B-schools change over time even without a pandemic situation. If you are applying to the top-tier MBA programs then it will more or less always remain the same cluster of schools.

2. Changes to the curriculum

While the semester curriculum overall does not see a huge change, the primary changes are the new forms of online classes that are being provided to students. Be it through interactive sessions or more team based assignments, students are now learning how to serve their roles digitally as well as in the real world.

Some b-schools, especially the larger ones, are opening their doors to house limited students. Some schools in Europe are even trying out hybrid models of teaching that combine both online and offline classes.

As we continue to come out of the pandemic, it is expected that more B-schools will be going back to the regular schedule of on-campus classes this year.

3. Changes to the finance sector

The entire global finance sector took a massive hit during the pandemic. On one hand this has increased the demand for experienced MBA candidates, but on the other it has also led to a fall in MBA applications all over since many firms are not currently hiring.

But as far as 2021 is concerned, most B-schools as well as industry experts are claiming that 2021 will see a reinvigorated push for hiring MBA candidates. Take a look at the infographic below to have an understanding of how market forces are affecting the hiring of MBA candidates:


Source: gmac.com

We recently got in touch with one of my applicants who was enrolled in one of the top-tier MBA programs during the pandemic, and here is what she had to say –


As you can see, the B-schools have indeed created an academic atmosphere that will provide you with the transformative experience one seeks from top-tier MBA programs. From offering online classes to opening up new areas of expertise such as sustainable finance, the schools and faculty are definitely making sure that their students are prepared for the world outside!

So, these are some of the effects of the pandemic that has shaped most of the MBA trends for the past year.

But, with a fresh new batch going to start soon, what are some of the things students applying in 2021 should be worried about?

5 Things You Must Know For MBA Application in 2021

Apart from the bigger industry changes there are quite a few smaller aspects of an MBA applicant that have been affected as well. While your application process may be not-affected by these changes at all, you should still take a look at them!

  1. Getting an internship: Internships are really important as they enable a smooth transition into full time recruiting. Although there was an impact on networking and internship recruiting right in the first year of Covid, but the world seems to have evolved massively towards online hiring, networking and recruiting. A lot of companies conducted online networking and interviewing events to meet their internship hiring targets. Whatever the new reality the world may evolve into, the businesses will not stop, and their requirements for top Tier MBA’s is going to further increase. While the stats are looking better with every passing day, students should ensure that they have an internship planned out as early as possible.
  2. Delay in joining dates: Hiring processes have definitely slowed down. While you are bound to get job placements if you are in a reputed B-school, don’t be awry if you are not employed right off the bat. On the flipside, you can also expect some level of flexibility from the employer’s end as well.
  3. Change in job offers: While some students faced difficulties regarding job offers during the 2020 period, it is expected that 2021 will see things return to normal!
  4. Professional opinion matters If there was ever a need to consult a professional regarding the MBA application process, now is probably the best time to do so. With the entire affair going into a dynamic mode, someone who knows the ground better will definitely help increase your chances at getting into an Ivy League MBA course.
  5. Visa regulations: For students in India who wish to study abroad, this may be something that you should start taking care of way early in the timeline. Don’t be worried, almost all the top B-schools are providing the facility of online classes to students whose visas are delayed due to any unforeseen reasons. The pandemic has made all of us more flexible than ever! While a lot of schools will see their classes resuming this coming fall, the applicants who are applying in the first round of 2021, and are keen on starting their MBA in 2022 should hopefully be significantly away from the impact. 

Summing Up

So, as a student in India trying to land a top MBA school in Europe or America, is there a huge change in your roles and responsibilities? The quick answer can be no, but there are many uncertainties that you will have to deal with. There are various aspects that you should plan well ahead, although things are expected to return to normal this year.

And to be absolutely honest, that is one of the best pieces of advice to give yourself right now. Plan well ahead of time! Be sure of what you want in your future and prepare your application to match it. Also, make sure that you are thoroughly checking the updated school rankings!

But overall, the level of competition is still the same, and so is the reward. So, best of luck to all applicants for 2021!

Other Useful Links:

Students Speak: INSEAD MBA During COVID

Student Speak: HEC Paris in COVID

Student Speak: Top MBA in COVID

Secrets of top MBA SCHOLARSHIPS - How to get scholarship from top business school

How to get into Stanford Graduate School of Business’s MBA program?

US Top B School Admit with Full 100% Scholarship





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