To MBA or not to MBA
The Wall Street Journal ran a nice article earlier today about the value of an MBA during a pandemic when in-person teaching is limited. It mentioned how many business schools are planning to conduct more in-person teaching than at least most of the other academic programs based at their universities.
However, it also astutely mentioned how much of the value of the MBA is the in-person interactions. Network development will surely be affected if programs are forced to become more remote-based. It also mentioned how Harvard is admitting a class about 25% smaller than the previous year as many admits opted out of a potentially value-diminishing distance learning scenario.
This pandemic has made the to MBA or not to MBA decision much more difficult than previous years. Heavy-handed tactics by certain schools have just exacerbated the stress that most admits have always faced. We didn’t reference the previous years not to downplay the current pandemic. Instead, we did it to remind our readers that many applicants have pondered the value of the MBA and that there has always been uncertainty. It may have revolved around economic uncertainties or opportunity costs. But the stress has always been there. Even if it affected fewer applicants and the uncertainties were not as seemingly variable as the ones we face today.
Our advice to you is to make the best decision you can given your current circumstances. Then move ahead full steam with whatever path you ultimately choose. Many applicants will have lower opportunity costs due to this pandemic. Hence, the MBA will be an excellent decision for them. We also understand other applicants will not be comfortable earning an MBA when the chance of remote learning is so high.
Understand the pandemic situation is indeed fluid. Areas deemed safe for in-person learning could flip and, conversely, areas currently not deemed safe for in-person learning could flip too. There’s a chance a vaccine could be discovered and everyone who desires a does could be quickly inoculated. Perhaps the virus will mutate and lose its potency. And, obviously, there is a chance a vaccine may not come very quickly. And, in that situation, the virus may represent a grave threat for quite some time.
Clearly, we’re not medical researchers or public health experts. Right now, it doesn’t seem anyone has a good feel for the pulse of this pandemic. That’s why we recommend evaluating your particular opportunity costs, making your decision, and then moving full steam ahead.