- Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is inviting out-of-work tech professionals to apply to its Master of Business Administration programs without submitting standardized test scores, according to a Monday blog post by Greg Hanifee, associate dean, degree programs and operations, at the institution.
- The move followed a week of bad news in big tech, including job cuts and hiring freezes at Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Google.
- “This is a shift for the tech industry and a reset,” Hanifee said in an interview with CIO Dive. “For a lot of those employees, this might be the first time they’ve faced a market downturn.”
Moving up in the tech world often hinges on cultivating business acumen. That’s something that can happen on the job or in a classroom — if you’ve got time for school.
The recent spate of layoffs in the tech sector has left thousands of technologists without a day job. Meta cut 11,000 jobs last week and Amazon is reportedly planning to trim its workforce by 10,000.
Between 50,000 and 120,000 tech workers have lost jobs so far this year, according to Crunchbase and Layoffs.fyi.
The news is coming from “companies that make headlines,” said Thomas Vick, Dallas/Fort Worth regional director for human resources consulting and recruiting firm Robert Half. “But it's a drop in the bucket and you're talking about a sector where overall there’s still pent-up demand."
"It's really not going to move the needle much when it comes to overall employment," he said.
The Kellogg School began formulating its response last week, according to Hanifee, who said roughly 38% of students in the programs come from STEM backgrounds.
“We wanted to be able to do it before the Thanksgiving holidays and make it clear to people that if they were considering a pivot to business school because of their circumstances, we would offer the test waiver,” Hanifee said.
Business schools have been through a tumultuous three years. Applications to MBA programs were down 3.4% this year after remaining flat in 2021 and growing 2.4% in 2020, according to an October report by the Graduate Management Admission Council.
That tracks with Kellogg’s numbers, which fell to 3,910 applicants for its MBA programs this year, from over 4,500 in 2021 and nearly 6,000 in 2020, according to Kellogg data, first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Enrollment has been steadier. Despite a spike in 2020, the number of students in the two-year and one-year MBA programs has since stabilized at around 500 and 135 students respectively, according to Hanifee.
The GMAT waiver extends to those recently laid off in the technology field and applies to Kellogg’s traditional MBA program, its evening and weekend MBA program and its MBAi business and engineering program, according to the blog post.