Live Updates: Coronavirus Impact On Business Schools
What is the impact of coronavirus on business schools? We bring you the latest updates including campus closures, changes to MBA admission requirements, and more
COVID-19 Campus Updates For European Business Schools
The coronavirus pandemic hit Europe hard, but as we begin to exit what for many of us has been a third lockdown, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Many business schools have welcome students back to campus, and more plan to do so by fall 2021.
Schools have largely maintained a hybrid model of teaching, with students splitting their time between the physical and virtual classrooms. That seems to be the plan for most schools going forward.
Here, we highlight the latest COVID-19 campus updates for Europe’s top business schools. This page is regularly updated with the latest campus reopening plans for MBA students, and more schools will be added as updates are released.
COVID-19 Campus Updates: Europe
Business Schools with Multiple Campuses
ESCP Business School
- Berlin campus
As of May 20th, restrictions have been gradually loosened in Berlin. However, classes at ESCP remain online, with students not yet allowed to return to campus due to current restrictions from the Berlin Senate—according to a statement on ESCP’s website.
From June 10th the school’s campus library has been open for on-site use. Students can book a table to work, browse the library, and ask questions at the help desk.
A negative test result is required to work or study on-site. As is wearing a mask through your entire stay on campus. The rest of the campus remains closed.
- London campus
From May 17th COVID-19 restrictions in England eased further. This allowed for the restart of in-person teaching at higher education institutions.
In-person teaching has resumed on ESCP’s London campus, along with student access to campus services.
Students returning to campus are expected to self-test for COVID-19 twice weekly. This applies to students who are safely in England and able to travel to campus.
There are still measures in place in England meaning if international students are travelling from a ‘green’, ‘amber’, or ‘red’ listed country, they will have to complete the necessary quarantine period upon arrival and provide a negative COVID-19 test.
There are remote campus services available for those who cannot attend in-person.
- Madrid campus
ESCP developed a new teaching model to adapt to the demands of the pandemic: Adaptive Model Blended Learning. The model is a hybrid methodology, and is flexible to allow the school to transition between fully in-person, fully online, or blended learning, depending on the circumstances.
The school is currently using a hybrid model of teaching. Recruiting events are also still mostly virtual, as are student events—although a few have started happening in person.
- Turin campus
This year ESCP’s Turin campus is offering a hybrid teaching format to students, with a part of the school’s lessons held online and a part of them in class.
For the next academic year, the school is planning to continue with this hybrid method, with most of the lessons held onsite with some asynchronous online classes.
The expectation is that student events will also be in person, but ESCP is ready to switch them online if needed.
The same applies for recruiting events, which have been organized online during 2020/2021. These can be in-person for students living near Turin and online for international students and candidates.
UK Business Schools
London Business School
London Business School is open for students and staff. The fresh air supply is on in lecture theatres, and the additional units that recirculate air are turned off for safety.
Students, participants, staff, and faculty can collect free, at-home, lateral flow antigen testing kits from the school—the same tests that are available online or for collection from local pharmacies or test centers. Students attending lectures on campus are expected to self-test twice per week.
You must wear a face covering while in any indoor space on campus except single person offices. Face coverings may only be removed while eating or drinking or in spaces where social distancing can be followed.
The school’s current lecture theatre occupancy is set at 50% capacity, and faculty are wearing personal protective visors while teaching. Lecture theatres are cleaned before each teaching session, and for those who can’t attend classes in person, Zoom is being used for virtual teaching.
(©DukeFuqua / via FB)
Business Schools in France / Monaco
Since September 2020, the French government has authorized in-person teaching at universities, with strict regulations including social distancing and mandatory mask wearing.
HEC Paris has since offered students a blended learning format consisting of in-person courses with reduced capacity, and online teaching. Students who do not wish to attend any in-person courses are offered the possibility of attending remotely.
All career fairs will remain virtual until the end of 2021. There is a possibility that smaller student/recruiter events might take place in person before then.
With the progressive deployment of the vaccination campaign, the school expects courses to fully return to normal in September 2021, with full classroom capacity. Though should that not be possible, the model already deployed will guarantee academic continuity.
If borders are open in September 2021, and it is safe to do so, the school plans to also resume full academic and research activities in person and on campus.
EDHEC Business School’s Lille and Nice campuses are open. Wearing a mask is required at all times on campus, and the required health and safety measures are in place on site—hand sanitizing stations, social distancing, and temperature checks, for example.
Classes are in person, and the school plans to keep this in place for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year. The plan is for students to be able to benefit from the full range of on-campus services, including career support, catering, sports facilities, and student life.
International University of Monaco
For the 2020-2021 academic year the International University of Monaco set up a new teaching method that allowed students to safely be on campus. On campus and classroom capacity has been reduced, and mask wearing is mandatory across the premises.
The new model of onsite/online teaching has become the norm. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the school plans to continue with this teaching method, with learning being split 80% on-site and 20% online.
Business Schools in Denmark
Restrictions are being reduced to normal or to a basic level at all Danish educational institutions.
From June 14th, all buildings will reopen with admission and opening hours as normal. Students are no longer required to use face masks or shields. The one-to-two meter social distancing requirement is being removed, and physical attendance for staff on campus will be increased to 50%.
Then from August 1st, students are no longer required to produce a negative test result as a requirement for campus access. CBS will no longer provide a testing facility for staff and students, and all staff may return to campus.
Business Schools in Germany
ESMT Berlin welcomed its first group of students back to campus in April 2021.
The school is currently teaching a mix of hybrid and face-to-face classes. Half of the class is face-to-face, and the other half join online. To make this happen, ESMT invested over $600K to ensure lecture halls are able to deliver an optimum learning experience whether you are in the room or remote.
Health and safety measures in place include testing, mandatory masks, social distancing, cleaning schedules, and contact tracing.
For the new academic year starting in fall 2021, the school currently plans to operate with the same hybrid model of teaching, so students can choose the option they prefer.
Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
Since May 14th, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management has been offering students an elective model of teaching, where they choose whether to attend classes from campus or online.
Students can be on campus only if they provide a negative test no older than 48 hours, and face coverings are mandatory across all public areas of campus.
HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management launched HHL Promise, the school’s commitment to reopening campus for students enrolling in fall 2021. The school intends to open campus and have in-person lectures.
Social distancing and hygiene measures will be followed. Students are expected to wear mandatory face coverings, regularly wash hands, and use hand sanitizer.
Hybrid study options will be available for international students who can’t yet make it to Germany. If the situation changes before the new academic year, the school is also prepared to begin with online courses during the first few weeks of the semester, opening when it’s safe to do so.
WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management
Teaching is taking place mostly in hybrid form at WHU. BSc and MSc students are currently not on campus as term is over and it’s internship season.
The school’s EMBA conducted two hybrid modules in May 2021, welcoming the first students back to campus. Since June 7th, the school’s full-time and part-time MBA programs have also been offered in hybrid form.
For both campuses in Düsseldorf and Vallendar, state regulations allow students to join classes in person again based on a strict hygiene concept implemented by the school. That includes social distancing, capacity limits for classrooms, hygiene regulations, and testing.
Where regulations allow, WHU has started organizing events in hybrid form or in-person. The majority of events are still taking place online though.
The expectation is that from September 2021, when the new term begins, larger events will be able to be held on campus. Should everything be safe, BSc and MSc students will return to campus for the new academic year.
All classes should take place in person again, with a hybrid model continuing to be used where necessary.
Business Schools in Italy
SDA Bocconi School of Management
In compliance with safety and health rules, SDA Bocconi is using a hybrid teaching model. The school is open, and Master’s and Executive Open Programs students are splitting their time between the classroom and online.
Business Schools in Spain
ESADE Business School
Esade Business School has invested over $3 million in its facilities and systems to guarantee students the same standard of education across all delivery methods: fully in-person, hybrid, or 100% online.
“If something has become clear in the field of university education during this crisis, it is the need to combine different methodologies to develop and strengthen the essential knowledge and skills of every professional,” explains Joan Rodon, vice dean for faculty and research at Esade.
The school is recognized by SGS—the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification company—as a completely safe space against COVID-19. All classrooms are set up to deliver in-person and virtual teaching. Cleaning and disinfection are carried out daily.
From fall 2021, the school plans to combine online and face-to-face teaching and provide students with more control over their own learning, giving them the option to learn online or on campus, depending on their safety preference.
IE Business School’s campus has been open since July 2020. The school has since developed a comprehensive action plan that involves daily testing of all IE community members, and each classroom being closely monitored for COVID-19 outbreaks.
The school expects all programs to start on their expected dates, and don’t foresee any delays to the new academic year in 2021.
Besides face-to-face teaching, the school’s new Liquid Learning method allows students to follow their studies remotely if circumstances require them to do so.
IESE Business School
IESE Business School is running in-person classes at reduced capacity on its Barcelona campus. All students who are unable to return to the classroom for health reasons or because of travel restrictions can continue with online classes.
The school has also created an online platform for campus access. Students complete a simple questionnaire, and a QR code attached to the platform is used to access campus buildings.
Temperature control cameras have been installed at the campus entrance, and all used rooms are fully disinfected at the end of each day. Standard COVID-19 health and safety regulations are in place across campus.
This article was last updated Monday June 14th 2021
Can Green Finance Spark COVID-19 Recovery?
Green finance—any financial activity designed to generate a climate-friendly outcome—could be the best way to recover from this pandemic and protect our planet.
Jennifer Oetzel, professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business, educates future business leaders in green finance concepts like the green economy and ethical management.
She focuses on financial risk in crisis situations and how companies can mitigate business risk while promoting peace in the countries where they operate.
For Jennifer, green investing and green lending, which have environmental criteria for how funds are used, could be the key to a sustainable long-term recovery from COVID-19 that takes into account the economy, environment, and social implications.
BusinessBecause spoke to Jennifer, who told us three ways green finance initiatives could help us bounce back from COVID-19.
1. Green finance sparks economic growth
Since the start of the pandemic, green investments have been performing better than their non-green counterparts.
Green bonds—investments that support climate and environmental projects—were responsible for almost 17% of all capital flow in 2020 despite representing just 2% of the total bond market.
These sustainable green investments could trigger wider economic growth, which would support the global economy as it recovers from the impact of coronavirus, creating new opportunities for employment, upskilling, and mobility, Jennifer notes.
“COVID has revealed so many social problems and, at the same time, there has been so much interest in green lending in particular,” Jennifer reflects. “In times of crisis, like recessions and pandemics, green finance does not drop in revenue in the same way many financial instruments do.”
2. Global collaboration
As green finance grows as a movement, countries and corporations are coming together to work toward similar overarching goals.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is just one organization that wants to see greater efforts to combat the long-term financial risks of both coronavirus and the effects of climate change.
“The SEC is forcing banks to declare their climate risk so that the broader risk in their portfolio is clear,” says Jennifer. The SEC also monitors market functions and risks in relation to COVID-19 so that it can provide targeted regulatory relief and guidance to those impacted.
3. Greater support for social initiatives
Green finance also encourages investment in renewable energy and climate risk mitigation, which in turn helps address important social issues, including the consequences of COVID-19.
With greater investment in sustainable business initiatives like green power and recycling, Jennifer predicts there could be greater employment and, therefore, broader economic prosperity.
This will likely have a positive impact for communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, such as communities of color, those on the poverty line, and those in poor health. Since climate change also disproportionately impacts poorer communities, sustainability and social wellbeing go hand-in-hand.
“Environmental change can have a huge impact on social wellbeing and health, so even if someone is just interested in green financing, they are still helping people beyond that,” Jennifer notes.
Business Schools like Kogod are playing a key role in developing future green finance leaders to spearhead these initiatives.
Kogod’s MS in Sustainability Management equips students with the tools they need to solve organizational problems in their environmental context and produce ecologically and socially responsible solutions.
Kogod’s Master's in Finance program also gives students a firm grounding in global emerging markets and investment analysis, which is valuable for students interested in the role of green finance in economic recovery.
With a sustainable and green finance approach, Jennifer says, businesses and the wider economy can recover from COVID-19.
Why Now Is The Perfect Time For An Online MBA
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Online MBA programs were growing in popularity. Since the pandemic, the attractiveness of the Online MBA has only increased.
First, consider the key reasons why one might seek an MBA. You might want or need to learn new hard skills, like digital marketing, or softer skills, like leadership or management.
You may want to build your network, signal your qualifications for the rest of your career, learn about and potentially switch careers, or progress in your current job. Maybe you want to experiment with or build a business. All of that can be done via an online MBA program.
In our BusinessBecause Online MBA Guide 2021, we tell you everything you need to know about applying for an online MBA and list our best online MBA programs for 2021. We guide you through what you need to consider when choosing a program, and what materials you’ll need to pull together to apply.
So why is now the perfect time to pursue an online MBA?
Online MBA vs Full-Time MBA
If your goal is to learn new hard skills, like accounting, finance, or marketing, there is not a large difference between an online MBA and a traditional MBA. What you learn in the University of Illinois’s iMBA and in its traditional MBA, for example, will be similar. The instructors will often be the same people. If your goal is to advance within your current organization, an online MBA will serve you just as well as a full-time MBA.
Now, some activities, like learning about new careers or building a business or networking (perhaps the best example), can be done virtually, although one could argue that the in-person experience associated with meeting new people is superior. But even then, you can find MBA programs explicitly billed as ‘Hybrid’, such as the one offered by UCLA, to get a mixture of in-person and online instruction and engagement.
The only major gap between an online MBA relative to a traditional MBA relates to the internship between the first and second year that is offered by traditional full-time MBA programs in the United States. This is a powerful feature, particularly for those targeting specific competitive industries to swich into, such as investment banking or consulting.
No more Online MBA stigma
You might think that an evening or weekend or online MBA program ‘isn’t as good’ as a full-time traditional MBA program. But at the end of the day, the brand associated with the program is what is going to matter from a signalling perspective.
With so much of life having shifted to the internet for a full year, people are increasingly comfortable with the quality of online experiences. Consider what it was like to try to learn virtually 5-to-10 years ago versus now with the advent of Zoom. And consider the average person’s openness to communicating virtually 12 months ago versus now.
We are at a point in our society where online and in-person is blending and mixing. In that sense, now is the right time to jump into an online MBA—your study experience mimics the reality of the modern day workplace.
Impact of COVID-19
In May of 2021, things are looking up in the US. People are vaccinated in increasingly large numbers, and the economy is reopening. That said, this isn’t the case across the globe. India and parts of Europe have seen a resurgence of the coronavirus. And it will probably take some time before things truly go back to normal.
If you attend a full-time program, move to a new city, and settle down for an in-person experience, and someone tests positive, what then? Even if 75% of your class is vaccinated, classes will likely be affected. You may go virtual. This will be disruptive.
We may be at a point where for another year at least, an online MBA is more attractive because people still can’t fully realize the benefits of traditional full-time MBA program due to COVID-19.
Cost & Opportunity Cost
Another obvious benefit of an online MBA is that you can keep working while you study. If you make $100K a year and choose an online MBA over a traditional one, you are $200K richer two years later because you’ve been making money for two years.
Direct costs also tend to be very different. USC Marshall’s Online MBA costs $112K in total. The school’s full-time MBA costs around $187K in total once you consider living expenses. That’s another $75K in savings from an online MBA.
If you are dead set on USC-Marshall and considering an online versus a traditional MBA and you make $100K today, the total cost of choosing the traditional MBA format is $200K + $75K = $275K higher.
All things considered, now is the perfect time to consider an online MBA:
- On many dimensions related to what you learn in the classroom, there is no significant difference between traditional and online.
- The value of the brand your MBA represents is not affected by an online versus in-person choice.
- People are increasingly comfortable working and learning online.
- COVID-19 continues to create uncertainty that makes an online approach relatively more attractive.
- The online MBA continues to be less expensive than the traditional MBA.
If you’re considering an online MBA, download our free BusinessBecause Online MBA Guide 2021.
Indian MBA Applicants Face Uncertainty Amid COVID-19 Surge
Admissions experts expect to see a drop in applications from India to international MBA programs in Round 1 of 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the country.
With many countries banning travel from India, and families dealing with the personal tragedy of the pandemic, applicants from India face uncertainty.
Even admitted students from India are reconsidering their options. Manish Gupta, a leading MBA admissions consultant and chief consulting officer at MBA Crystal Ball notes that admitted students have had to deal with mixed feelings.
“As schools the world over gear up for the next session, things are still quite unclear. The trend of students deferring remains a distinct one, as we witnessed in the last cycle,” he says.
However, amid the uncertainty, there is support on offer for Indian MBA applicants.
Support for MBA applicants
After deaths caused by coronavirus in India reached several thousand per day, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a global association of business schools and administrator of the GMAT Exam, released a statement in support of Indian business school candidates.
GMAC is taking steps to protect our colleagues, their families and the candidate community. To ensure there are no disruptions to candidates’ pursuit of their graduate management education goals, we have implemented a range of precautionary measures.
Safety is the primary concern at our testing centers, and testing center staff are following enhanced health and safety protocols.
Most business schools require MBA applicants to submit a GMAT score. Since the launch of the GMAT Online Exam, MBA applicants in India can also take the test from home.
Given the situation, admissions consultants are suggesting Indian MBA candidates consider deferring their studies until 2022. “The world, as we all hope eagerly, is likely to be a much better place than what it currently is, a year out,” says Manish.
Barbara Coward, founder of 360 MBA Admissions, says candidates should put their personal lives first.
“Admissions staff familiar with operating under uncertainty so my advice is to keep the lines of communication open with the admissions office and update on your status if/as it changes,” she says.
MBA Students Fight COVID-19
The severity of the situation is not lost on admissions consultant and former MBA student Sam Weeks. He’s working with an Indian MBA applicant who moved back from Europe to India to care for his mother after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.
“He had signed up for a full 3-school application package with me, intending to apply to top European business schools in Round 1, 2021, but paused everything to travel back to India to take care of her. She’s on oxygen and struggling for her life,” he says.
As the pandemic devastates India, hundreds of incoming MBAs, together with some current MBA students and alumni from top schools, have banded together to help, launching Students Fight Covid.
They are offering their expertise in exchange for donations to Covid Relief agencies. Aspiring MBA students can share the receipt of their donation and then book consultations for resume and testing guidance, general essay and MBA application advice, and career coaching.
“There’s a big gap in demand and supply of medical equipment [in India]. A lot of organizations are working to bridge that gap, so we thought we could use our expertise to enable those organizations while helping other future applicants in the process,” says Shrey Malpani, one of the founders of the COVID-19 relief initiative.
Students Fight COVID was started by seven incoming Wharton MBAs and has spread to over 260 admits from top b-schools across three continents, including Kellogg School of Management, the Indian School of Business, NYU Stern, Columbia Business School, Oxford Saïd Business School, INSEAD, and Harvard Business School.
Over 200 mentees have benefited from the program and $15,000 has been raised to date.
“If we are able to get this going on a large scale, we could mobilize funds on a larger scale than each of us can do individually—that’s the main goal; to make a significant impact on the ground,” says co-founder Tarang Gupta.