London Business School: How We Adapted to the COVID-19 Pandemic |

London Business School: How We Adapted to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By QS Contributor

Updated March 10, 2021 Updated March 10, 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting students and business schools around the world, we spoke to Arnie Longboy, Executive Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at London Business School to learn more about how his particular institution has been impacted.

Much as during the previous financial crisis, business schools are seeing an upsurge in interest for their programs, in particular for the full-time MBA.

Longboy said: “It’s a great alternative in a time of crisis. When the future is uncertain and careers possibly on the line, our program, like any good MBA, can teach skills and personal development to help individuals become the best versions of themselves. 

“As the pandemic plays out, an MBA offers a positive alternative for those treading water in their careers, or those threatened by job or salary losses. A full-time MBA gives you the opportunity to turn yourself around and be ready to leap on the opportunities the post-pandemic world may offer. It can provide future-proofing of skills and competencies to ensure participants will be in a stronger place when we come out the other side of COVID-19.”

What differs in this crisis, is that this very unsocial virus is putting constraints on the teaching and delivery of education. While LBS had experimented in virtual learning before, the pandemic has propelled the school headlong into rolling it out across all programs. 

“We have seen an upsurge in collaboration, with professors jumping in to talk to candidates online and help with the student recruitment process,” he said.

“Alumni too have given up many hours to help conduct interviews in their local markets. In some respects, this crisis has given us tools to do the job better than before.

“Without the usual complications of travel, professors have also seized the opportunity to offer additional online sessions such as webinars, podcasts and online chats which have helped enrich the content we can offer our current students.”

The MBA is all about insightful management and leadership. While, during the current crisis, we see many examples of leaders in the public eye repeatedly getting things wrong, this gives us a critical reminder as to why good management education is more key now than ever before.

“We are seeing a lot of old-style leadership by those in power currently,” observed Longboy. “What we need is a more collaborative and inclusive style.”

In response, LBS will be offering new electives next year on ‘Leading Through a Crisis’, with the aim of teaching the next generation of leaders the fundamentals of avoiding the kind of mistakes we are currently witnessing. The focus will be on engaging in a more thoughtful and collaborative style. 

Leading from the front is still key, but it is when the people around you help inform your decisions that your credentials as an effective leader will be sealed.

Collaboration is clearly a key theme for Longboy and LBS and one that he is very passionate about. It is embodied in the business school culture and needed in the community at large.

“This is a time when we all need to come together to help one another. That’s how we can make a difference throughout this pandemic,” he said.

This lesson applies to business school students and future business leaders but is also a valuable lesson for us all.

Arnie Longboy (Executive Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions at London Business School) was speaking to Hanna Khan (Head of Client Partnerships, UK & Ireland at QS).

This article was originally published in October 2020 . It was last updated in March 2021

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