Monday, September 21, 2020

MBA Applications Soaring Amidst "Can't Get A Job" Lockdown Madness: What Should You Do

If you can't find a job, go back to school?

That is apparently the thinking of some.

With the lockdown recession at full impact, business schools are reporting big increases in applications, particularly at schools that extended their application deadlines last spring with the outbreak of COVID, reports Poets & Quants. The rebound has led a number of schools to enroll record numbers of incoming students this fall.

MBA programs are seeing double-digit increases in applications, reversing several years of decline. A few highly prominent schools have already reported new records in MBA application volume, including Columbia Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. At Columbia applications rose by more than 18% to nearly 7,000. The school’s MBA application total came to 6,971, up from 5,876 for the fall of 2019 — an increase of more than 1,000, or 18.6%. That blows away the school record of 6,188 set in 2016-2017.

And the increases have occurred at a wide variety of schools. Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business saw a massive 63% jump in applications in the 2019-2020 admissions season. The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business experienced a 25% increase, while applications to Wharton’s MBA program soared by 21%, even though Wharton only extended its application season by two weeks. At Wharton, 7,158 candidates vied for little more than 900 classroom seats, itself an expansion of the enrolled class by 7%. That translated into an increase of more than 1,200 applicants from the year-earlier total of 5,905. At least two other prominent top 20 business schools, based on preliminary data obtained by Poets&Quants, are about to report double-digit boosts to their app totals.

This is interesting. It is clearly those of the lockdown generation who are not playing around because of the lockdown and are attempting to find a way to use the time productively when quality new jobs are limited.

Of course, what is being taught in a lot of courses right now is a problem.

The Mises Institute's Masters of Arts program may be an interesting alternative for some, particularly for those going into the investment or financial world. I can tell you first hand that understanding Austrian school business cycle theory and Austrian perspectives on modeling and forecasting are going to give you a powerful leg up on anyone else in the investment and financial world.

The Mises' masters program will give you the theoretical background you will need, you will have to figure out the real-world applications for yourself but the foundation you will get at Mises will be the best possible.



  1. This reminds me of 2009-2010, following the housing crash, a lot of people thought the right idea was to go back to school. At the time, I was a mid-30 year old in mid level tech support without a college degree. I felt some pressure to try to finish out my education.

    Instead, I did some salary research. I found the highest paying IT certification that required the least amount of study time. At the time, that was the CISSP, which had only 60,000 worldwide. There are now 141,000 and an average salary of $116k. I don't know if it's still the best cert to get, and your mileage may vary, but the overall point is that you want to maximize salary for the least effort. If you do so, you are pivoting to what the market needs, not what you want. If you satisfy the market, you get paid more for less work. Getting dopey degrees only satisfies the universities.

    The other thing I did at the time was I found a type of cyber security attack that interested me and I started to deep dive into it, by reading some of the professional papers available at various cyber security sites. The CISSP got me an interview, and the attack studying got me the job. In truth, I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured it out.

    Btw, I'm now a mid-40 year old cyber security manager at a fortune 500, who still does not have a bachelor's degree (and will never bother), and is doing just fine :). I'm happy to mentor any libertarian that needs guidance.

    David B.

  2. The Contractor has it figured out. Great comment, I wish I had been as insightful when I went through the same situation in 1974/1975. I wasted a year getting an MBA in Finance. Fortunately it was a private university that offered me an assistantship and so no student debt. But this put me on an establishment career track full of stress and frustration. It took me almost ten years to break out on my own. Forget the university track and get a job, any job and it will be more educational and fulfilling.