Updated: Jul 5, 2021
The questions every student is faced with are these; When will the Fall semester (Sept 2020)/ Spring semester 2021 begin? Will there be any practical difficulty in getting a visa? Is it safe to travel? If not, are business schools going to offer online instruction? If so, till when? Are universities allowing students to start in March 2021, instead of September 2020?
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted academic life. As the fall semester approaches, business schools are working on different scenarios around how and when to start their programmes. The situation in the US
The US is suffering the worst of the Corona pandemic with over 2 million cases and over 100,000 deaths already.
At the NYU Stern School of Business, the start of business programmes originally scheduled for the spring has been delayed until the first week of July, at the earliest. The University of Pennsylvania has put off the Pre-Term for one of its joint MBA programmes, originally scheduled for May, The US may not be the place to go for Business studies in the fall of the 2020, but keep a look out for the advisory from the Consulate and your university.
What about Business Schools in Europe
In Europe, it appears that the worst of the pandemic is over. Countries like Germany and Denmark have re-opened their borders. The state of the lockdown is much more relaxed - one can go shopping, or on a weekend holiday. Belgium, France, Italy and Spain have also seen significant reduction in Covid 19 cases.
We have some news from a few of the partner universities about admissions for September 2020 and for Spring 2021;
Germany is one of the few countries that has tackled Covid well and within 2 months, drastically brought down their Corona cases. Business school intakes will therefore start, as planned.
As per the International School of Management with campuses in Dortmund, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Hamburg, the fall semester will begin as usual in September. However, they are observing the situation very closely and have worked out an online solution for international students who may be faced with difficulties regarding visas.
Verdict: International students may join online if they cannot obtain visas.
At the European Business School, near Frankfurt (Germany), the winter semester 2020/ 21 at EBS Universität will begin as usual, despite the corona crisis. Since 16th March, the university has transferred both its internal processes and the entire teaching operation to digital, interactive platforms and created new innovative learning formats. As a result, they are equipped for all possible scenarios and will do everything that is possible, but at the same time reasonable and feasible as defined by the legislator.
Verdict: Online option is a strong one, in case studies on campus are not possible
At the Munich Business School, Munich the intake will start, as planned, in the beginning of September. Again, it depends on the situation in your country, especially when the embassies and consulates are opening. You can expect a delay in the visa application process, which already took 4 months, before the pandemic. The school will offer all the September intakes online, as well as in Munich. Students who cannot obtain their visa on time can participate from their home countries and come to the campus later once they have received their visa.
“Our MBA students will be studying in Munich, at our campus, in June. We will still offer classes online as well. Yes, if students want, they may defer the start of their studies to later, ie February 2021.”
Verdict: Students have the option to delay joining till Feb 2021, or join online.
As per Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, Bordeaux, France, the intake will begin in November 2020 for the Bachelor students and October 2020 for the MBA students. They are working on several scenarios, in any case. An official decision from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected around June 15th. Much depends on the decisions made at the pan-Europe level.
From what is known so far, visas will be processed as usual but the authorities will have less time to deal with the large number of applications. The consulates are expected to restart work in July/ August. For the intake in October/ November 2020, there is no delay as of now.
Verdict: You can plan to be on campus in October 2020, unless there are unforeseen events.
According to SKEMA Business School, Paris, the intake will be around September 14th for the Bachelor students. The ministry has informed them that students will be given priority for visas. They have two intakes - September and January - and sessions are going to be online till students can arrive on campus.
Verdict: September intake may be online but this can change.
As per UiB Business School, Brussels, the tentative start of the semester is still to be determined. It will be in the month of September 2020 but an exact date has not yet been decided. The issue with coming to Belgium to study as a non-EU student lies in the fact that most embassies are still closed, or only proceeding with urgent cases due to COVID-19. The student would need to check with the embassy of Belgium in their home country and confirm the processing times of student visas.
Many public Belgian universities are staying online until at least 2021. UIB is a private institution with class sizes of maximum 25 students. Because of this, they can accommodate social distancing rules and will be able to proceed normally with classes in September 2020. However, this depends on the government’s decision to re-open institutes of higher education, and we will not know more until closer to September.
Verdict: Will restart on campus, with social distancing, if allowed by the government. Wait and watch.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the exact format of classes at the start of the semester, schools have done everything in their power to make the application process as easy as possible. Deadlines have been extended, extra rounds added, and rolling application introduced. Those unable to provide test results because of test centre closures have been allowed to apply without them and to sit the exams later.
Exam providers, for their part, have launched at-home versions of the GMAT, GRE, TOEFL and IELTS.
The on-campus experience, which is based on the premise of students living together and engaging in group activities, will certainly change. Experts predict that there will be limits on the size of gatherings at least until the end of the year. This means that there will be restrictions on the number of students attending classes in person and eating in dining rooms. According to one scenario, students may be asked to keep a certain distance from one another if campuses reopen.
Current and future students are advised to monitor their emails and visit their schools’
websites regularly for important updates.
Picture courtesy: EBS Universität