COVID-19 Prompts Business Schools to Extend Application Deadlines and Alters GMAT Testing

On Monday, Columbia Business School (CBS) announced that it will extend its MBA application deadline for the August 2020 incoming class. In an email to the CBS community and prospective business school students, Assistant Dean of Admissions Amanda Carlson addressed the uncertainty that the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused:

“You may be feeling unsettled in these uncertain times. Perhaps applying to an MBA program is not exactly at the top of your mind right now. I can totally understand that sentiment. However, in my years at Columbia and as an alumna of the School, I have seen skills developed through the MBA program and the incredible community carry our students and alumni through the financial crisis and major changes in the business environment. Given that there is such uncertainty, perhaps you should consider that this could be the right time to get your MBA.” 

CBS will now accept applications for the August 2020 incoming class until June 1, 2020

For those who may be concerned with how the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic will change CBS admissions, keep in mind that the school’s application volume is reportedly up 0.8% for the year to date. “By all counts, our incoming class looks great,” Carlson wrote. “However, COVID-19 is an evolving situation and we too are trying to anticipate what comes next with our incoming class. We plan to admit more candidates toward the end of this application cycle in anticipation that some of our admitted students may struggle, for a variety of reasons, to start in August 2020.” 

The school encouraged applicants to reach out to Director of Admissions Michael Robinson ( with questions.

Similarly, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business indicated that it will accept applications for its next incoming class until May 29, almost two months later than the original Round 3 deadline of March 30.

In a March 18 blog post, Harvard Business School (HBS) informed college seniors that the deadline to submit 2+2 applications will be extended to June 1, 2020, at noon Eastern time. The deadline has been extended by two months to allow applicants more flexibility during this time. The school will now release decisions on July 28, 2020. 

In the blog post, HBS Managing Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Chad Losee addressed the extraordinary circumstances:

“We hope that these extra two months are helpful to you and allow you to focus on your senior year. This was not a decision that we made lightly—we understand that the change will be a disappointment for some who were hoping to have their final decision earlier in the summer. We apologize to those of you for whom this change is an inconvenience.”

Losee noted that while the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 situation may change, the school does not anticipate extending the application deadline a second time.

We will be updating our Application Deadlines page as more business schools share new information.  

MBA programs are not the only ones making changes in response to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19. On March 18, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced that GMAT and Executive Assessment testing has been suspended in many centers globally. GMAC also addressed the safety of those within open centers, writing, 

“For testing centers that remain open, enhanced health and safety measures are in place including enhanced cleaning procedures, hand sanitizer and wipes provided for candidates.” 

Those with questions are encouraged to contact the GMAC Customer Care team.

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