Several elite business schools have extended their Round 3 deadlines to accommodate MBA applicants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This flexibility presents a conundrum for some b-school aspirants, who wonder, is now the best time to apply? What is the advantage of forging ahead with an application this late in the game? Or, should they wait for Round 1 in the fall?
MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon at the Ross School of Business believes now really is the best time to apply. As Ross Dean Scott DeRue pointed out in a prospective student town hall last month, “It’s never a bad time to invest in yourself.”
In her latest blog post, Kwon speaks not only from the perspective of a business school student recruiter. She also considers the matter as, “a pragmatist, a former consultant, and a Ross MBA alum — all of which compel me to use a structured approach to decision making,” she explains.
Granted, we can’t predict the outcome of how this global pandemic will unfold. To help prospective applicants think beyond the standard pros and cons, Kwon thinks a matrix can help. Below is the one she shares in her post. “Take a moment to envision the scenarios in the inner squares based on your own work situation,” she advises.
Image credit: UM Ross School of Business
Is Now the Best Time to Apply?
Kwon does note one group for whom a late-round application is not advisable this year: international students. These applicants should hold off for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle to allow enough time for visa processing. But despite all of the unknowns, Kwon believes those who earn an MBA degree in the next two years will ultimately benefit.
When we here at SBC think back to the economic crisis of 2008, we are reminded that MBA grads from that era, in particular, moved into new careers that they felt highly passionate about. The coronavirus will likely also spark MBA students’ passions and ingenuity to meet the needs of an altered world.
Regardless of what happens with the stay-at-home orders and the economy, two years from now, you’ll be better off by having earned your MBA degree and the experience, knowledge, skills, and connections that come with it, Kwon says.
In the case of Ross School, Kwon adds that this is an ideal time to apply because applicants will have two chances in one calendar year. Plus, they can apply twice with one application fee. (Those who are not admitted in R3 can apply again in R1 and Ross will waive the application fee.) In addition, they will have an easier reapplication process because they won’t need to submit new essays or recommendation letters.
The bottom line, says Kwon, is that “applying this year could lead to expanded career opportunities later.”