Is COVID Leading More People to Graduate School?

Mantissa College-JulianHaytham

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, no one could foresee how far its impact would spread. After over a year of lockdowns, quarantines, and research into vaccinations, many countries are slowly beginning to reopen. However, in light of the challenges presented by the pandemic, students began wondering what their next steps should be. Therefore, the question on a lot of people’s minds is: has COVID led more people to graduate school? Let's take a look at the issue...

In Malaysia
Despite concerns, Malaysia's economy is headed towards one of the worst economic downturns in history, over 36% of finalists surveyed by Prospects indicated that they now plan to remain in higher education rather than start their careers, according to. History has shown this is a familiar course of action, with students often choosing to stay in school rather than face a harsh work market during other times of economic uncertainty. Since many students found themselves having job offers rescinded after graduation, they’re instead choosing to pursue a master's or PhD to help delay entry into the workforce, as well as increase their viability to prospective employers.

Business degrees are popular in Malaysia
Students are turning towards an area that often seems more immune to economic declines: business. However, students stated even before the pandemic, they “always plan[ned] to pursue a graduate business degree.” With the understanding that work environments won’t continue to look the same after the virus subsides, business schools in Malaysia are scrambling to accommodate an influx in applicants, institutions in Malaysia having reported “double-digit percentage application increases for their Q4 2021 classes.” They’re also adapting their curriculums to meet these workplace changes. Despite global uncertainty, international students are still choosing Malaysia as one of their top destinations when it comes to pursuing a business degree.

By the numbers elseware
Looking ahead, graduate schools were prepared for an influx of students for Q1 2022. Graduate school deans who participated in a survey indicated they expected higher levels of applicants and a “modest decline in the overall enrollment.”

Other schools are taking advantage of the opportunity for more directed outreach. The University of California Berkeley focused on helping minority students apply to graduate school, with great results. According to UC Berkeley, “While overall graduate applications have increased 19 percent when compared to last year, the number of underrepresented minority (URM) doctoral applicants increased by 42 percent and URM applicants to academic master’s programs increased by 82 percent.”

In Canada, students are “applying to graduate schools in increasing numbers, a phenomenon often seen during times of economic downturns but with some significant differences during a global pandemic, experts say.” Universities are seeing 25-31% increase in applicants to their graduate programs, which is a significant increase in last year’s applicant cycles.

As COVID-19 dried up job prospects in Australia, many students faced the decision to go onto graduate school, or remain for additional semesters in their current program. “The pivot to postgraduate studies appears to be a trend among WA universities,” with schools reporting significant increases in applications to postgraduate programs.

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has changed the world in more ways than one, or can even be fully understood at this point. Students will continue to face the challenges of figuring out if entering the job market is right for them, or if they want to continue on for more advanced education. No matter what they decide, they’re sure to be in the company of others who are also trying to plan their next steps.

At Mantissa College, we deliver the Doctor of Business Administration programme (DBA) in collaboration with the Pole Paris Alternance (PPA)-France. The study duration for this programme takes around three (3) to five (5) years to complete with 100% assignment, no examination.

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