COVID19: MBA in the Times of Uncertainties

How has the pandemic affected MBA admissions this year?

People the world over are still struggling to come to terms with the global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.

Several aspiring graduates are in a dilemma about their admissions into an MBA program. Questions like the job placement scenario and the economic meltdown the nation faces have left students skeptical of the future of an MBA. 

What are the factors affecting the slowdown in the MBA calendar? 

The lockdown that was necessitated by the pandemic has resulted in several job losses, shutting down or slowing of businesses, and an overall economic meltdown.

The government was forced to continue the lockdown in areas that were under red alert. In this scenario, some people were left homeless, while many could not subsist even two square meals. 

Although the education sector was not directly hit as schools and colleges have to continue imparting education, it has become an indirect victim of the global crisis.

Some students with confirmed seats in colleges were forced to withdraw their admissions as their families could not afford to meet the fees for the course. 

How long will this crisis prolong?

It is difficult to predict the end of the crisis at the moment. Tests on vaccines look promising, but the uncertainty of the situation continues to haunt the world. 

The 1930s saw the Great Depression which started in the summer of 1929 and lasted almost until 1942. The Great Recession which started in 2007 went on till 2009. Both crises saw several countries plunging into unemployment, homelessness, and poverty. The recovery was slow and painful. 

These two periods of the economic meltdown were repercussions of stock market crashes and to some extent a decline in industrial production and deflation. 

But the present economic decline is a backlash of the global pandemic. Many economists fear that the current economic situation may have similar fallouts as the Great Depression and the Great Recession. 

AICTE directives

In the meantime, the AICTE (The All India Council of Technical Education) has asked all its affiliated institutes to complete the first round of admissions by October 5, 2020, despite the prevailing situation.

It has asked institutes to defer classes and hold only special online classes for the final year students for now. 

As some states were unable to conduct the qualifying admission tests, the AICTE has directed institutes to do away with them and award admissions based on the candidates’ GD / PI / WAT scores, which could be conducted in the virtual mode. 

What is the admission scenario?
Admission procedures like GD, WAT, PI (Group discussions, Written Admission Tests, and Personal Interviews) were conducted online in most of the institutes this year. 

The virtual mode for admissions could become the new normal in the future. It may lead to more competitive cut-offs at top B-schools, as more aspirants would take the tests. Hence, the preparations need to get more intense.

Those looking for admissions into programs in the next academic year will have to pull up their socks and gear up for higher scores. 

What have the institutes been doing? 

While many B-schools have begun classes for the incoming as well as the existing batches in the virtual mode for some of the programs, others have been deferred or called off for this year.

There are several technical and infrastructural snags to be overcome at some B-schools. This has impacted the course calendar at many institutes. 

Steps to follow

If you are planning to take tests like the CAT you need to get a clear idea of your chances of cracking the test with a good percentile. Get set for tests with increased difficulty levels and higher cut-offs at premier schools. Plan your preparation to understand all the sections and practice well by taking as many mocks as possible. 

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All the best!