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Coronavirus Leads Top B-Schools to Go Remote

With the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, top business schools are canceling face-to-face classes and moving instruction online.

The week began with schools like Stanford Graduate School of Business and University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business announcing that they would suspend in-person classes.

From there, more schools followed suit, with a slew of top business schools deciding that coursework would move to a virtual format. 

At Harvard Business School, for example, dean Nitin Nohria said the school would “bring our best creativity to reimagine the program for the remainder of the semester.”

In many cases, the changes are already in place through the end of the semester. 

By the end of the week, for example, Haas had announced that remote instruction would continue for the remainder of the semester and that, even if in-person classes returned, attendance would not be required.

Meanwhile, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business updated its policy to announce that “all exams will be take place remotely in alternative formats and all Ross and U-M commencement activities have been canceled.”

At most top business schools, the transition to online learning comes along with an array of other measures. These include travel restrictions and cancellations of large events. 

The idea of online graduate management instruction is not new, of course. In fact, online MBA programs are increasingly popular.

But the prospect of moving all graduate management education online en masse and with little to no preparation is unprecedented. For business schools, which tend to emphasize innovation, the process will make an interesting case study at least. 

As schools ramped up their response to COVID-19 spreading in the United States, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management became the first major business school in the United States to announce a confirmed case of COVID-19.

While students at top business schools adjust to sudden and drastic changes in the way instruction is carried out, business schools have also implemented changes that may affect B-school applicants. 

Poets & Quants reported that INSEAD would be pushing back some application deadlines and offering a virtual alternative to in-person interviews. 

Still, despite the increased uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to day-to-day life at top business schools, the tasks that confront MBA applicants remain much the same: find a list of schools that fit well with your profile, then create an application with a personal brand that stands out.

As always, we’re happy to help with both of those things. Just get in touch and ask us for a free MBA application assessment!

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