Given the growing spread of COVID-19 around the world, various measures have been taken to reduce the spread of the virus and its impact on health systems. These include the closure of non-essential businesses, social distancing, and isolation, which have caused a decline in economic activity. For this reason, the International Monetary Fund (2020) estimates that a global recession is looming “much worse than that registered in the financial crisis of 2008-09”. We well know that this will affect people in different ways and decisions will be made, to a greater or lesser extent. Among these decisions, those made by universities and those interested in studying a graduate degree lead to increase competitiveness in admissions processes after a crisis or recession. Therefore, in this post we want to explain why this phenomenon occurs.
You may think that since recessions bring unemployment increases, affording to pay for studies abroad becomes very difficult or impossible to afford, and therefore there will be less competition in the best postgraduate programs in the world.
Although many people will not be able to afford their studies, many more, who have postponed it for years, will decide to do so now, pushed by a recessionary labor market, or by the need to acquire better professional skills that allow them to have a more profile. competitive.
In the United States, which had a solid and strong economy in 2019, the most prestigious universities continued to receive many applications, but others had to close their programs. Caroline Hoxby (2015), Stanford economist, states that “evidence shows that students were more likely to enroll in college and more likely to stay in college during the Great Recession”; and highlights that ” college attendance has risen in all recessions since the 1960s.”
This is mainly due to a decrease in employment opportunities, since unemployed people analyze what to do while they return to the workforce: Is it time to look for a new job? Maybe to apply to the previous one again? time to prepare? Some of them find it convenient to improve their credentials to be more competitive and get the few jobs available. In addition to this, the opportunity cost when there are good economic prospects is higher than when there is a crisis or recession. This is because when there are many jobs available, you have many opportunities to get a promotion, or you have a well-paying job, you would be giving up very valuable resources when starting a graduate degree.
For this reason, many people who in a period of stable economy would not apply to graduate school, do so now; those who would abandon their studies for working in a strong labor market remain; and those who graduate from an undergraduate degree, due to the lack of good opportunities, decide to postpone their entry into the labor market and continue specializing.
In addition, some who were accepted to start their graduate studies in August 2020 decided to postpone.
According to the New York Times (2010), Wendy Margolis, director of communications for the Law School Administration Council (organization that administers the LSAT exam), affirms that “there is a bit of a delay between when people start to worry about the economy and when they start their applications ”. For this reason, it is expected that in the next rounds of admission there will be more people looking to apply to their graduate programs. Although at the moment this is not evident, competitiveness in these periods will increase.
Several universities made the decision to allow already accepted students to defer their entry for one year, keeping their place. Such as the case of Harvard Business School according to its update on Fall 2020 of April 27, 2020.
A survey by Poets & Quants (2020) of more than 300 people admitted to the best MBA programs for Fall 2020 found that “ approximately one third of prospective students who have already entered the best business schools say they may want to defer their admission this year if classes are not held on campus in the Fall”. Thus, there will be greater competitiveness since, in the event that your preferred program had given the option of postponing the start of studies, there will be fewer places available on the following application dates. In addition, since there will be people who even without this option decide to postpone their studies, they will be applying again and, taking into account that they had already been admitted because they have a highly competitive profile, you will have even more competition.
Regarding the opportunities to stay in the country where you decide to do your studies after completing them, you have to talk about a trend that started recently and is expected to continue. Since 2019 there has been a marked decrease in foreign students applying to programs in the United States due to various factors, but in which the recent immigration policies stand out. For this reason, students began to choose to pursue their postgraduate studies at universities in Europe and Asia, which led universities to seek ways to attract this talent and the solution was found in the issuance of visas.
Due to the above, as of August 2020, universities began to implement the STEM designations to their MBAs, which allows you to work 3 years at the end of your studies, which is a period longer than that allowed by another type of visa. This is very attractive for employers because they do not need to incur expenses like the Green Card for you to work for that period of time. It should be noted that, to be eligible for this program, you must obtain a degree with a focus on science, technology, engineering and / or mathematics. If you want to know more about the STEM designations in top MBAs, we invite you to review our STEM entry.
Likewise, if you are Mexican, thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), you have the option of obtaining the TN visa that was created to simplify the temporary transfer of professionals between Canada, Mexico and the United States, and that they can engage in business activities on a professional level. You will be a candidate for this visa if you have a job offer in one of the positions listed in NAFTA, you meet the necessary characteristics to fully develop the position, you will work for an employer from the United States or Canada. The initial period of stay with this visa is a maximum of 3 years and, at the end of this period, the extension of the stay can be renewed unlimitedly, in the same way, up to 3 years.
In conclusion, all these factors generated by a recession or economic crisis cause an increase in the competitiveness of study programs, but do not be overwhelmed! You cannot control the above discussed, but what is in your hands is to prepare a good profile, study and have a competitive score in your standardized tests : GRE / GMAT / TOEFL.
It is true that in the face of this economic crisis there are fewer jobs available, but if you plan to return to the labor market after completing your studies, the latter and the economy in general will have already recovered. However, you have to take into account that, like you, several people will decide to do a postgraduate degree, which will make you face high competition when you graduate. This is why it is important to make the right decision that will lead you to be prepared and have a competitive profile. If you still do not know if this is the right time for you to apply, you are considering redirecting your career or, you do not know which postgraduate.
In this we will help you draw a route that will lead you to your professional fulfillment in the short and long term through calls with experts. We specialize in identifying key differentiators of various professional profiles, designing personal branding strategies, asking questions that help you define your professional project, elucidating blind spots, questioning assumptions and evaluating options and routes of action. We invite you to take advantage of these tools that are at your disposal and, if you are still not sure which of these services is the most suitable for you, do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly answer your questions.