The disruption caused by COVID-19 has inflicted anxiety and nervousness in almost every aspirant, admit and student. MBA sessions in our country generally start in June or July. However, there is a high probability that classes may not commence as planned this year because the admission processes at many b-schools aren’t over yet. Apart from that, the coronavirus pandemic is going to trigger an economic tsunami for our country. The incoming economic slowdown has already started impacting the job market, threatening the youth with mass unemployment. Such factors are bound to have an effect on MBA entrance exams in 2020. Just look at what happened in post-2008 (global recession)! In this article, we compare the current situation with 2009 (post-2008 global recession) to get answers for what may happen this year. Read more to find out.
What Happened To MBA Entrance Exams During The Economic Slowdown of 2008-2009?
- According to Stanford News, the great recession or the economic slowdown (2008-2009) showed us that when the world faces an economic crisis, more and more people pursue higher education as it becomes difficult to get a job, a promotion, or a raise at work.
- Top b-schools like IIM Indore, FMS Delhi and IMT Ghaziabad saw an increase in the number of applications received for admissions to the batch of 2008-2010, and 2009-2011.
- Institutes like IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Calcutta also saw a 15-20% increase in applications for executive management programmes.
- The Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad, which was then in a process of finalising the admission process for a new batch of its flagship one-year executive MBA, also saw a 20-25 % surge in the number of applications for the course.
- As recorded by Economic times, the CAT 2008 exam was taken by 2.50 lakhs people, nearly 15% more test-takers compared to CAT 2019.
- 2009 saw a new trend in test-taking. Post-2008, CAT became computerised.
You may also find this interesting: MBA During A Global Economic Crisis | Johann M, Monitor Deloitte, HEC Paris, Cornell Alum
Will The Incoming Economic slowdown will have an Effect on MBA Entrance Exams 2020?
- Prospective students who are planning to apply to a foreign management university for Fall 2020 will be facing huge uncertainty. Due to the contagious nature of the COVID-19, many countries like the US and some parts of Europe have imposed travel and immigration bans. No one knows how long these bans will last.
- CAT 2020 may see a spike in test takers, following a similar trend of 2008-2009. Since the lockdown, many people have already shown interest in studying, gaining knowledge through reading books and taking courses online. That trend might just continue and more people may feel like pursuing an MBA during post lockdown.
- Some of the STEM specialised MBAs, executive MBAs and online MBAs may take precedence since they are cheaper, more specialised, and easily accessible (even during the lockdown).
- The last economic downturn in 2008 saw a change in the MBA test-taking system. Many test exams became computerised post-2008. Something similar may happen, but this time it will be the preliminary rounds. This year IIM L has scrapped their WAT round and directly went for PI through video calling. Other colleges like NITIE, IIHMR, BHU and some IIMs are also taking WAT-GD-PI online. The trend may just stick around. We may then enter an era where from test-taking to a personal interview, everything happens online.
You may also like reading: GD-PI-WAT Going Online: Challenges and Solutions
What Is The Reason Behind The Possible Increase Of Candidates Taking MBA Entrance Exams?
It’s a common sentiment that pursuing an MBA during a time of recession is a good investment. This may lead to more number of people attempting for CAT, XAT, SNAP, NMAT, GRE, etc. in 2020 and 2021, mirroring the situation in 2009 and 2010. Apart from that, there are other underlying reasons. Here are a few of them:
- Poor placement season in undergraduate colleges: Many undergraduates generally believe that having a few years of work experience before a Masters is the “right” thing to do. During the time of slowdown, placement scenarios at top colleges including IITs, NITs and other institutes may not be great. Students who will graduate from undergrad courses this year may not get their desired job or salary. Apart from that, the existing global economic slowdown resulting from the coronavirus outbreak has brought the industrial growth to a bare minimum. Hence, many may believe that acquiring management skills now may add to their learning especially to understand the current business scenario.
- Lay-offs: According to a CNBC article, nearly 50% of companies say they are at least somewhat likely to conduct layoffs over the next three months, while more than a third of firms (37%) say they already have instituted a hiring freeze. This scenario is already playing out in the US, Europe and parts of Asia. India may be doing slightly better than the rest of the world, but the economy is hurting. We can already see it with companies like OYO, Udaan, Uber, Swiggy, Zomato and the likes. Hence, instead of looking for a job during this recession, many laid-off employees will use their time in improving their profile and add new skills by pursuing an MBA with their preferred specialization.
- No promotions during bad times: One thing is sure, there will be more salary cuts instead of promotions. MakeMyTrip has already announced pay cuts. Even the Telangana Chief Minister is taking a 75 per cent salary cut, along with his cabinet, MLCs, MLAs, state corporation chairpersons and local bodies representatives. Many employees currently part of the organisation may decide not to cling to a stagnant system and prepare to go after the top jobs after completing their MBA.
- Uncertainty About MBA Abroad: Many MBA aspirants who want to study abroad may not be able to pursue that dream until the travel and immigration bans are lifted. Hence, many of them may feel like giving top Indian b-schools a shot.
The COVID-19 situation has triggered an economic slowdown that will affect almost every sector. The MBA and education sector is no different. Due to lockdown, preliminary rounds (GD-WAT-PI) in b-schools have been moved to online platforms. That might become the future of the b-school selection process. It is already predicted that there will be more applicants who will be competing with each other in the MBA entrance exams in 2020. Which may trigger b-schools to increase cut-offs or difficulty levels of their tests. While the application number may not be in our hand, our preparation is. This year let's study extra hard, give our 120%, stay focused, and ace the MBA entrance exams in 2020.
Articles that might help you in preparation:
- 15 Must-Read Books For CAT Preparation 2020
- Top 15 Resources You Can Use For Free To Prepare For CAT 2020 - Full Resource List
- SNAP 2019 Prep Strategies | Everything You Need To Know About SNAP
- How I Scored 99.42 Percentile In QA In CAT 2019 | Shubham Agarwal
- How I Scored 99.08 Percentile In My 2nd XAT Attempt - Shreyansh Tyagi, XLRI Jamshedpur