MBA Programs Meet Student Expectations Despite COVID-19, Survey Reveals | TopMBA.com

MBA Programs Meet Student Expectations Despite COVID-19, Survey Reveals

By Linda M

Updated November 26, 2020 Updated November 26, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has brought forward numerous challenges for business schools and students alike, the effects of which continue to evolve as the year has progressed.

Educational institutions worldwide have had to quickly move all operations online, including classes, networking events and exams – an apprehensive change for many candidates who craved the in-person interaction full-time MBA degree programs are revered for, and a challenging task for business schools offering these full-time, high-end degree programs.

Nevertheless, it seems that b-schools’ hard work paid off: according to an international survey by AMBA & BGA, most current MBA students said the MBA experience was exceeding their expectations.

Here’s a breakdown of the report’s most important findings, and more good news for business schools and hopeful MBA candidates.

A positive onboarding experience – but some improvements needed

According to survey results, business schools managed to deliver information regarding courses and their new normal during COVID-19 effectively, with 71 percent of respondents rating schools’ communications as “very good” or “excellent”.

Students’ perspectives of the application and onboarding processes were also largely positive. An overwhelming 92 percent of students rated the onboarding experience at their chosen business school within the “good” range (mostly “very good”, at 46 percent).

However, some respondents said a few components of the onboarding process needed improvement, including information about timelines from application to offer, more paperless options to fill documentation, more online options for interviews, and clearer criteria surrounding application requirements.

MBA expectations continue to be met, even during a crisis

The survey also explored students’ impressions of their MBA experience, including course design and the support offered by schools. A whopping 84 percent said the MBA experience met or exceeded their expectations – of those, 23 percent said it “completely exceeded” what they had hoped for upon onboarding.

In terms of quality of teaching, students welcomed the shift to online learning with a positive attitude: out of the 92 percent of respondents who rated it as good, 43 percent said it had been “very good” and 25 percent named it “excellent”.

Moreover, it appears that an MBA degree continues to be seen as a solid investment: when asked whether they thought an MBA was good or poor value for money, 80 percent of students rated it between “fairly good” and “very good”.

This is great news for business schools across the world, as it reaffirms the value of the MBA in providing students with relevant skills and the confidence necessary to succeed in their careers.

General skills take the lead

When asked which core aspects of the MBA experience interested them the most, a majority of respondents named some form of general skill-building activity such as developing business skills (81 percent), developing people management skills (68 percent), learning from industry experts (62 percent), improving soft skills (61 percent), and networking opportunities (59 percent).

The sentiment was echoed in responses focusing on specific topics within an MBA program, where transferable, general skills took a significant lead on specialized skills such as data and analytics, supply chain management and statistics. In fact, the most popular topics among students are general management (57 percent), global leadership (54 percent), strategic marketing (53 percent), finance (52 percent), strategy execution and global strategy (both at 52 percent).

A bright outlook for 2021

While the future is still uncertain, business schools can pat themselves on the back: despite the chaos felt across the globe at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic, students can still make the most of their MBA experience.

This article was originally published in November 2020 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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