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What Is The Impact Of Coronavirus On MBA Jobs Prospects In 2020?
At this time of year, graduating MBA students are usually rubbing their hands together, looking forward to launching the careers they’d dreamed of the day they set foot in business school. 2020 is a little different.
The coronavirus pandemic means this year’s graduating class face obstacles in the form of hiring freezes, furloughed staff, a damaged economy, and certain industries in free fall. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that the global economy will contract by up to 3% in 2020, which is much worse than the 2008 financial crisis.
As unemployment rates rise and companies strategize to overcome the challenges imposed by the pandemic, what will the prospects be for graduating MBAs?
MBA jobs in 2020
To quell the spread of the virus borders have been tightened, international mobility has plummeted, and sports venues worldwide shut.
It’s no surprise then that the transportation, hospitality, and professional sports industries have been heavily hit. MBA graduates targeting those industries may have to put their plans on hold or look for alternative career opportunities.
Even if some countries reopen to international tourism this summer, it’s unlikely the travel industry will recover at a pace that creates a plethora of jobs this year.
Delta Airlines has introduced a hiring freeze, as has JetBlue, according to a document obtained by Poets & Quants . It adds that Marriott is rescinding internship offers, as is NBC Sports.
Dominic Prosser (pictured below), MBA careers coach at the University of Exeter Business School, says an inevitable recession post-coronavirus will disrupt recruitment in the same way the 2008 financial crisis did, and possible more deeply. How the labor market recovered in 2008 will help us anticipate what is to come beyond the pandemic.
In 2008, the worst jobs cuts took place at investment banks, technology firms, and chemical and pharmaceutical companies, as well as the media—where vacancies halved during the course of two recruitment rounds.
This time around, however, it’s likely that the travel, airline, leisure, and hospitality sectors will be the worst affected, as the pandemic puts severe restrictions on global movement and social distancing measures deeply hurt restaurants, bars, and hotels. In contrast, the same technology and pharmaceutical industries that saw drastic cuts following 2008 could find themselves buoyant.
Firms like Zoom, a video conferencing company, and Slack, an office communications tool, have seen their stocks rise during the crisis. Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies will also need experienced, trained management professionals to manage the race for a vaccine and the global strain on hospitals and medical providers.
The banking sector could also see a spike in recruitment. In the UK, for example, in the last three years new tech roles in banks have increased by 46%, according to a new report by global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis experts Vacancy Soft.
That is set to be amplified by the COVID-19 crisis. Tom Chambers, senior manager for technology at Robert Walters says that “lockdown and social distancing measures mean that banks have had no choice but to scale back their retail operations, instead pushing customers towards digital platforms.”
Robert Walters analysts predict that online banking penetration will reach 90% by the end of 2020, driven mainly by COVID-19—business school graduates may look attractive prospects to banks grappling with increased digitalization.
“At Exeter our 2020 MBAs have nurtured their skills in resilience, change management, and self-awareness,” Dominic explains. “This will fortify them with the adaptability and tenacity required to navigate what will inevitably be a challenging jobs market for several years to come.”
Bain, BCG & McKinsey: How are the consulting firms holding up?
The consulting industry is likely to benefit from the downturn in other sectors. As companies look to recover from the impact of the pandemic they may turn to the expertise and insights offered by consultants to help steady the ship.
At the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) virtual recruiting is well underway. The company say they are utilizing technology to connect with candidates regardless of where they are, addressing their questions and providing insight on the latest opportunities available at the firm.
They are also paying strict attention to federal, state, and local authorities as they consider their reopening and campus engagement plans. But any concrete plans for this are as yet unannounced.
McKinsey takes a through cycle approach to hiring, meaning they are continuing to recruit. They are also honoring the offers already extended to full-time consultants as well as summer interns. The firm doesn't see any major changes to their hiring approach and have no plans to cut staff.
McKinsey’s summer internship program is continuing, with health and safety measures in place. The North American internship program has begun and is fully virtual, with the third and final group set to start at the end of June.
The company is also planning to recruit at typical levels this Fall. Many school career services are asking employers to recruit virtually through to the end of 2020 for health and safety concerns, and so McKinsey’s hiring will follow suit until at least the end of the year.
A lot of hiring at Bain & Company had already taken place before the pandemic hit. Keith Bevans, global head of consultant recruiting at Bain, explains that for graduates full-time recruiting typically happens in the fall—MBA internship recruiting happens primarily in January.
He adds that those already with offers before the pandemic hit will be onboarded virtually and that their work will be carried out online like the rest of the industry.
Should MBAs be worried?
A Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey snapshot of more than 1,000 prospective b-school candidates showed that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has amplified the concerns candidates have over the jobs market.
The proportion of b-school candidates that said the job market was an area of concern due to COVID-19 increased from 13% on March 15th 2020 to 51% on April 15th—for MBA candidates specifically, that figure rose to 53%.
Should MBA graduates be worried about their job prospects this year? If they had their sights set on the travel, hospitality, or sports industries, then the heavy impact on these sectors may take its toll.
Nonetheless, healthcare, technology, and consulting firms may see an uptick in the number of hires, especially the latter. An MBA could in fact help you stand out in the crowded jobs market to come.
Hamza Mudassir (pictured right), an MBA graduate from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, believes consulting firms will require MBA graduates as they grapple with one of the key challenges to come out of the pandemic for businesses: digital transformation.
The MBA taught him how digital business models work, as well as giving him a helicopter view of an entire business. He believes digital savvy MBA grads will be in high demand in the next few years.
That’s because the operational ability of a business now rests on its digital infrastructure, as entire workforces work remotely, and international business trips are replaced by virtual conference calls.
Chris Garnett (pictured below, right), head of postgrad careers and employability at Alliance Manchester Business School, echoes Hamza’s point. Although he says that recent graduates are naturally worried and need to be flexible and pragmatic in their approach to their post-MBA career, the value of the degree goes far beyond their first job out of business school.
“Whilst you may need to reassess in the short term, you have invested in yourself and your career for the long term, and that will pay dividends,” he says.
“Everything is changing around us so much at the moment that it’s hard to not be concerned, but for people considering doing an MBA there is a strong argument that leaving the job market for a while at the moment makes sense.”
Whereas 10 years ago, post-financial crash, some governments opted for austerity measures, this time around they seem to have agreed that stimulus is the best way forward—that can only be good for business, says Tony Somers, employer engagement director at HEC Paris’ Career Center.
At HEC Paris, he says that they are receiving (so far) few, if any negative signals regarding recruitment in Fall 2020. Virtual recruiting activities will become the dominant feature of the recruitment cycle, leading to a possible change in the way recruiting is conducted.
The future of MBA recruiting
Companies do need to rethink the way they recruit during the pandemic, with face-to-face interviews and campus hiring not currently an option. Highered, a global talent platform, and EFMD, a management development nonprofit, have launched the EFMD Virtual Career Fair Series in response.
In the first series around 100 companies signed up to the virtual career fairs, and over 25,000 students met with 800 recruiters. Companies from Bloomberg to Coca Cola, KPMG, Amazon, and Heineken have taken part, connecting with students from schools such as Cass Business School, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), BI Norwegian Business School, and Singapore Management University (SMU).
Students can access the fairs from their tablets, smartphones, or desktops. As if it was a standard recruiting event, they can access company ‘stands’, chat with recruiters, view and apply to jobs.
The CEO of Highered, Bernt Blankholm, explains that it removes the need for companies to visit only a select number of campuses, and expands the reach for business schools who might only hold recruiting fairs with local companies. It puts them all in the one place.
Companies Signed Up To The Virtual Careers Fair
There’s also the sustainability aspect, he adds, of removing the need for companies to spend vast sums on flying their recruiters around the world for campus recruitment.
It’s a sign of the accelerated innovation needed to adapt and thrive throughout the coronavirus pandemic. “We needed to help our students find jobs and virtual fairs are the way to go,” says Bernt.
He hopes it will become the future of recruiting. It’s something that brings more value to both sides and evens the playing field. You have companies that will only go to certain schools to recruit, but the virtual career fairs mean they can meet up to 100 schools in one place.
“When you look back this is one of the things that has come out of the pandemic—it has forced us into becoming digital. I think the whole MBA and international education will come out stronger, because it’s more apparent that you will be able to recruit internationally without it costing a fortune in travel.”
Coronavirus: How MBA Students Are Helping Startups In A Crisis
The coronavirus pandemic has caused shockwaves to the global economy. According to McKinsey, it’s businesses with less than $20 million in annual revenue that have been disproportionately affected.
For many business school students around the world, this has been a cause for concern and they’ve been looking at ways to help.
In the US, a team of MBA students from various schools have joined forces to launch the Small Business School Challenge—a virtual workshop where MBA students are paired with small businesses to work out solutions to the challenges they’re facing.
At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, students from Stanford GSB launched Giftcard Bank, a platform where people can donate gift cards to those most affected by the pandemic.
These are just some of the initiatives that are helping connect business school students to local businesses, as well as helping those most in need.
Case study: Nyenrode Business Universiteit
Consulting service for startups
In the Netherlands, like much of Europe, it’s smaller businesses and entrepreneurs that are suffering most. In fact, 85% of entrepreneurs in the country are reporting or expecting financial difficulties.
In light of this, a group of students from Nyenrode Business Universiteit, which has campuses in Amsterdam & Breukelen, have been using their learning to give back and help local small businesses.
Setting up a free or ‘pay what you can’ consultancy service, called The Fac, Nyenrode students been offering their skills to local Dutch entrepreneurs.
The service relies on over 40 students from a mixture of programs at the school, with backing from four experienced entrepreneurs to offer extra guidance.
After being put in touch with clients who’ve requested assistance, the students work on offering financial advice, help with government schemes, and also creative brainstorming and marketing. So far, they’ve helped over 100 different businesses.
One of those is an entrepreneur and restaurant owner. ‘The students have helped me a lot in saving my company during this time by setting up a crowdfunding campaign and thinking about creative solutions to generate turnover,’ he said.
For Erik van der Liet (right), head of marketing, communications and recruitment at Nyenrode, local business is a crucial part of society, helping generate jobs and prosperity.
“Providing a peripheral view on society to students, that includes all stakeholders—beyond shareholders—is a moral obligation that business schools have towards future generations, who deserve responsible leaders, serving society,” Erik says.
For the students themselves, it’s a chance not only to give back to the community, but also provides real-life case studies to apply lessons from class.
Supporting the wider community
"Nyenrode reinforces the message that all students have their responsibility towards society."
Students from Nyenrode are also involved with Verder Met Nederland, an initiative gathering insights into how best to bring the country together to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The thought leadership platform aims to offer ideas and solutions for social and economic renewal in the Netherlands.
With input from industry specialists and faculty staff and alumni from Nyenrode, they’re bringing together different voices to help cope with the pandemic collectively. On June 22, 'Verder Met Nederland' will present their findings nationally.
Their hope is that these ideas will influence and help how the Netherlands moves forward during and beyond the crisis.
Erik says this is reflective of Nyenrode’s core values—leadership, entrepreneurship, and stewardship. “With these values, Nyenrode reinforces the message that all students have their responsibility towards society.”
Good news for students, as well as business
It’s clear that student initiatives are good news for local businesses and society, but they’re benefitting the students too. In helping these businesses, students are not only able to help the local economy during a crisis, they’re also developing important relationships for the future.
This translates into jobs across the business landscape. Recent Nyenrode MBAs have landed jobs at startups and local SMEs as well as top multinational companies including Uber, EY, Philips, Nestlé, Accenture, and ING, and 88% of MBAs find a job within three months of graduating.
Nyenrode’s intimate MBA class is 94% international, with 17 nationalities represented, and after graduating, those classmates form a tight-knit alumni network which can be relied on for career opportunities down the line.
While there is caution around what an economy in recession might mean for jobs prospects in 2020, the business school continues to provide MBA students with the opportunity to develop their professional networks and take the next step forward in their careers.
8 Tips For Attending Virtual MBA Events
As the world continues to grapple with the spread of coronavirus, more of us are being tasked with staying home in isolation.
And for those of us with upcoming plans, social distancing has meant event cancellations and the move from face-to-face to virtual, online interactions.
If you’ve been planning on attending an MBA tour event where you would have had the chance to engage with school admissions reps and other MBA candidates in person, you may be wondering, how do I make an impression during a virtual MBA tour event?
1. Dress your best
It can be tempting to dress casually for an event that you won’t leave the house for but don’t make that mistake.
Dressing the part will help you conjure up the atmosphere of what this type of event entails when it is face-to-face. And looking your best will help to boost your confidence. Should the event have a video component, you’ll be glad you dressed like the business professional expected at these types of events.
2. Check your video and audio
Before the event even starts, check that your video and audio are working properly.
Not only should you be able to see the presentation and the presenters, but you’ll also want to make sure that if there is time to ask questions or get any one-on-one facetime with a school representative, that you can do so without difficulty.
3. Prepare questions
Do your research beforehand on the questions you want to ask. You’ll think of more things to ask during the event, but before you get there, you’ll want to know who will be attending and what the format of the event will be.
This can help you prepare the right questions for the right time. Some things to consider while you prepare questions:
Do your homework: Don’t ask questions that are already answered on schools’ admissions sites or could easily be answered with a Google search.
Be intentional: Don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking questions.
Convey your goals: Think of questions that get at what may be inspiring you about a school’s programs and how it might relate to your future career goals.
Remember the event’s purpose: Don’t ask questions that prompt an admissions rep to “sell” their school to you. Remember this is more of an information session to help you make decisions about the schools you might be interested in, so while you might be in a position to ask these kinds of questions later, this type of event isn’t the time.
Be memorable: Think of a unique question that will help to get the admissions rep to remember you.
4. Rehearse your elevator pitch and define your goals
An admissions rep may ask you questions to get a sense of your fit for their program.
Having a 30-second pitch that explains why you want to pursue your graduate business degree and shows a concrete grasp of your goals during and post-MBA will let reps know you’re serious and that you’re a competitive candidate.
5. Take advantage of pre-event content
While you prepare your questions and do your research, you’ll also want to check out any pre-event content that may be available.
Each event is different, but some include videos and presentations that can be watched before the event and can give you an overview of what to expect before you get to any of the 'timed' content.
6. Practice respectful online etiquette
Virtual interactions can be awkward. Without the benefit of being face-to-face, it’s easy to accidentally talk over someone or miss unsaid social cues, like facial expressions or body language. Here are some simple things to keep in mind:
Stay positive: Keep things upbeat and you’ll make a better impression. Remember that everyone is doing their best to manage the virtual environment, and many of the school representatives and attendees may be participating in a virtual event for the first time. Show patience and it will reflect well on you.
Do your best to avoid speaking over others: It’s sometimes easier said than done, but be courteous about jumping in to speak. If you and someone else try to speak simultaneously, a good approach is to allow them to speak, and make clear that you would like to speak next.
Don’t despair if you can’t get a word in edgewise: Understand going into the event that you may not get the opportunity to speak as much as you would like to, or much at all. Don’t let this discourage you. Rest assured that you will have plenty of other opportunities to engage directly with admissions staff in the future.
7. Get camera ready
We’ve already talked about dressing for success and checking your video and audio equipment, but let’s talk about your on-camera presence.
You might get nervous talking to admissions reps face-to-face and video may be no different. Keep in mind not rush what you’re saying, speak clearly, and if possible, make 'eye-contact.'
8. After the event
Meeting a school representative at an event is only the beginning of your interactions and relationship with them.
After you’ve had a chance to introduce and 'pitch' yourself, ask for their contact information. The rule of thumb is to send a thank-you email within 24 hours of meeting.
In your email you can identify yourself, thank them again for their time, and tell them you want to stay in touch. After that you’ll want to maintain the conversation through the application process. After social distancing is over, you should also consider visiting the campus and speaking with current students and alumni.
Get ready during your social distancing
Things are changing quickly in the world and we’re all doing our best to adapt to the current situation.
More events that would normally have taken place in-person will be moved online until the coronavirus spread settles down. Until then, you can prepare while you practice your social distancing and put your best foot forward as you attend virtual MBA tour events.
Create an mba.com account today for resources on what to do after your MBA Tour event.
This article by Joanmarie Foster was originally published on mba.com. Start your graduate management education journey at www.mba.com by connecting to business schools, information, and tools to help you achieve your business school goals.
How An MBA Will Prepare You To Lead In A Post-Coronavirus World
When the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, the business landscape will be radically altered. Some companies will have closed their doors forever; some industries will be permanently changed.
“There’ll be hardship and new challenges, but there will definitely be opportunities coming out of that uncertainty,” explains JP Donnelly, chairman of WPP Ireland and lecturer at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.
MBA students have a chance to seize these opportunities, but will require a specific, generalist skill set to navigate and make headway in this new environment.
Here’s how an MBA will prepare you for post-coronavirus leadership:
Focus on communication skills
Being able to communicate frequently ranks among the most desired skills for employers. It’s a core part of working among and leading a team.
During and after the coronavirus pandemic, communication has come to the fore. Leaders, in both politics and business, who have communicated clearly have been praised; those who have left their employees and shareholders in the dark have come under fire.
“This is something that will really create meaningful leadership, as long as it has authenticity and truth to it,” JP (pictured right) explains.
This comes down to keeping a company’s values at the core of everything you do, and creating an open and honest line of communication to all the various stakeholders you work with.
Communication forms the backbone of the leadership journey for UCD Smurfit School MBA students, when, on the Foundation Week which takes place at the start of the curriculum, they are introduced to communication and presentation skills.
Chances to apply this are manifold, such as the MBA Leadership Development Program, and leading up to the MBA Capstone Project which gives students the chance to apply these leadership skills to real company problems.
Rigorous preparation for remote working
Many will remember the weeks at the outset of the pandemic when work, learning, and socializing all moved online. As lockdown and quarantine is slowly lifted and social distancing eased, many will return to their offices or places or work.
But remote working will become a far more integrated part of the way we work.
“We won't be swanning all over the world like we have been in the past, but again companies will be working hard to continue to transact business internationally, and we’ll be doing that a lot more virtually,” says Niamh Brennan (pictured above), professor of management at UCD Smurfit School, and founder and academic director of the UCD Centre for Corporate Governance.
This goes beyond just mastering tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, knowing when to mute and unmute yourself. Remote working will require an entire rethinking of many products and services.
Given that business schools, with many international students, are likely to retain remote learning components, an MBA is a great place to gain a deeper understanding of how remote working can be applied, and even transform a workplace.
Online consulting projects, which have temporarily replaced international consulting projects, at UCD Smurfit are the perfect training for students looking to apply their skills remotely to other companies.
Niamh stresses that a big part of this is critical thinking, which is a key skill they try and instill in their MBA students at UCD Smurfit School. “This is about not taking things at face value. This is valuable to businesses, especially those under extreme pressure at the moment.”
Data and digital transformation
It isn’t just traditional workplaces that are going to move online after the lockdown. Products and services in all industries will have to grapple in the coming months with a more online, digital offering. Brands in particular can no longer rely purely on the in-person retail experience.
JP teaches digital transformation as part of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) Global Network Week on the MBA at UCD Smurfit School. This brings together students and faculty from across the GNAM partnership to see how you can transform companies through digital technology.
Things like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain are no longer just gimmicks or buzzwords to businesses.
“These are all things that will start creating value for companies, and they need to recognize that technology can intermediate the organization,” he says.
In marketing, JP’s field of expertise, big data and artificial intelligence are rapidly advancing as a way of creating a closer connection between brands and customers. This is in even higher demand in a post-coronavirus world which will inevitably be more online-focused.
“Data will help insight and manage customers better, to build a more meaningful experience for customers.”
It’s clear that there will be many permanent changes after the lockdown. Economically, the next few years is going to be fairly rough and uncertain for businesses and business professionals.
But the flipside of change and uncertainty is opportunity. For those finding themselves at the crossroads of different opportunities, an MBA is a prime opportunity to upskill or retrain.
“I can't think of a better way to spend a year at a crossroads than doing an MBA. You are bound to be a different person at the end of it than before it,” Niamh stresses.