State of the MBA - 2021 Outlook



Spring is my favorite time of year. We begin exiting our 177,000 straight days of rain in Seattle, the days get longer, and clients are hard at work, preparing for their upcoming Round 1 applications.


Before you worry, no, you are not “behind” if you haven’t yet decided whether to even get your MBA, much less started to think about the applications themselves. However, April and May tend to be when our clients who know they’re applying fully engage in the process.


Wrapping up meetings with applicants in various corporate offices over the past two weeks, many questions focused on the environment MBA candidates may face this year. Before jumping into what we expect for the 2021 cycle, one caveat. Your success as a candidate this year will have much more to do with showcasing how your experiences and perspectives will make your class better, rather than what external environment you face. Sharing your authentic story and aligning it with what your target school(s) is looking for can overcome any external environment.


With that in mind, some of our predictions for this year include:


A Return to Normalcy in the Classroom and in Applications

COVID disrupted so many parts of the process. Standardized testing. School exploration without visits to campus. Extended application timelines. Visas for international students. The actual MBA experience itself, including divisions on campus.


Thankfully with more people getting vaccinated worldwide, we expect the MBA experience for students beginning this fall to be closer to that of two years ago than of last year. Schools are already announcing a return to mainly in-person classes