• Valentin Vassilev

How Schools Recruit and Adapt Admission Requirements

New opportunities for business schools to connect with MBA seekers.


So far, business schools have adapted their admissions requirements during the Covid-19 outbreak in three main areas – tests, deadlines, and events.


Admission tests


Test centres have been closed in many regions because of safety regulations, forcing providers to launch at-home versions of the exams. The GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL test can now be taken remotely. Here are some popular strategies that score recipients have adopted. They range from:


· Offering applicants the choice to either take an at-home test or submit a test score when centres reopen. INSEAD is among those schools that allow applications to Masters programmes without a GMAT, GRE, or TOEFL test score, but expects to receive a score as soon as testing becomes available again.


· Providing internal assessment which can be taken from home. Some business schools have been using their own test for MBA and EMBA admissions. Now some are developing such tests to evaluate applicants for other programmes.


· Granting conditional admission. If a prospective student applies without a score and is admitted, his/her admission will be conditional upon obtaining a minimum score set forth in the admission letter. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications even if they are unable to submit test results. At IMD, admissions officers will assess applications based on the strength of all other information while waiting for the test centres to reopen. MIT Sloan also allows applications without test scores.


Application deadlines


· Extending application deadlines. Business schools and universities have mostly adopted a flexible approach toward admission deadlines, although there are some exceptions.


· Conducting interviews online. In addition to extending application deadlines, many institutions have also moved their application interviews fully online. IMD’s traditional assessment days, during which it conducts personal admissions interviews and has candidates complete a series of other tasks, have also been moved online. The Swiss school, however, has not changed its application deadlines for the full-time MBA programme at this time.


Recruitment approaches


Business schools are now engaging in recruitment events online.


· On-campus events

Restrictions on travel mean that in-person activities such as on-campus information sessions, class visits, tours, and chats with students have now been moved online. Schools are launching virtual events enabling existing and prospective students to receive information and engage with communities.

The online events currently held by schools range from frequent admissions chat Q&As to online class previews. Some schools such as Stanford and London Business Schools include a video tour of their campuses. Most institutions have an online events page on their websites where forthcoming sessions are listed. Access Masters highlights a number of innovative approaches that schools are using in an overview piece Virtual Campus Tours? Yes, Please


· Recruitment events

In February, Advent Group swiftly transferred online all of its flagship highly personalised Access MBA and Masters One-to-One events around the world. Business school recruiters are meeting carefully-matched qualified prospects individually on a proprietary meetings platform integrating a variety of communication channels for face-to-face interaction. “Overall, the platform was good. The event was well organised and very well supported by the team to make sure everything was on track. It was easy to log in and out of each private meeting with individual candidates,” IE Business School said.

Advent already has four years of experience in personalised online events globally as these have been held since 2017 under its Access Online brand. In Fall 2020, all Access events will be offered both onsite, where possible, and online. Schools will be able to choose how to meet prospective applicants.


· Digital recruitment

Business schools are reaching out to new prospects through specialised MBA and Masters school selection platforms. Unimy has been rapidly growing in popularity among top-ranked and accredited schools. The orientation platform attracts and engages highly-motivated candidates with AI-powered MBA matching and a unique business school culture mapping and test that applicants use to measure the extent of cultural fit. Free interaction with alumni and expert consulting add to the toolkit that Unimy provides to MBA and EMBA seekers. It will accommodate Master’s degree applicants in the Fall of 2020.


Communicating school highlights to reach out to highly-targeted prospects through multichannel digital campaigns is another sophisticated, but powerful tool. “It is particularly appropriate now when everyone is online. However, it takes a careful strategy to stand out and get attention, but the immediate next step is to engage MBA prospects to interact with the school’s website or social media page”, highlight experts from Advent’s Access Digital.

New opportunities for business schools to connect with MBA seekers are gaining traction every day in different parts of the world or globally. Check out what will work out best for your school.

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