As detailed throughout this space, the business school landscape continues to evolve in the wake of the recent financial crisis and ongoing economic recession. Now mainstream media outlets are diving into the story and attempting to sort out fact from fiction and determine accurate trends with regards to the MBA admissions process.
One of the most trusted voices on graduate school and education issues, U.S. News & World Report, has tackled the recession story head on in a recent article entitled “Business Schools Boom as Economy Sags” by Allison Go.
In the piece — which does a nice job of framing the key issues — Go interviewed a variety of expert MBA admissions sources including Dan McCleary, director of admissions at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Sara Neher, director of admissions at Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and our very own Scott Shrum.
Scott crystalized the migration of bankers from financial firms to MBA applications and drew contrasts to trends of the past:
What officials know for sure is that there is plenty of anxiety floating around. Test prep companies, often witness to the first wave of interest, have been fielding more phone calls from people who have lost their jobs or are worried about their industries. Scott Shrum, the top admissions consultant at Veritas Prep, says he’s seen an influx of E-mail and phone calls from bankers this year, while 2007 was mostly the year of the former real estate agent. Most inquirers are looking for options; some are looking for an exit strategy.
Not only that, but Veritas Prep got the column’s best soundbite when Go concluded her piece with the following observation from Scott:
Admissions officials hope that applicants who’ve been crafting a profile for months don’t change their plans on account of the economy and increased competition. If anything, their well-planned applications will stand out from the din. “If you’re applying out of desperation,” Shrum says, admissions officers “can just smell it.”