COVID-19 and MBA Admission Implications

Cornell University leadership is working proactively with local and state public health organizations to monitor the novel coronavirus outbreak and to protect the health and well-being of the Cornell community. Cornell’s Coronavirus website will continue to provide updates as new or relevant information emerges. We encourage you to consult that site for the most up-to-date information related to university policies and procedures. Also visit the SC Johnson College of Business news, media and events pages as college-related updates emerge.

Impacts on the admissions process for Ithaca-based programs

Information presented here is for candidates who have applied for, or are in the process of applying for, admission to Johnson’s One-Year or Two-Year residential MBA programs in Ithaca.


Application deadlines

Two-Year MBA applicants, rolling admissions:

We have extended the application deadline to June 1, 2020. An SAT or ACT score may be submitted in lieu of the GMAT or GRE for applicants who apply by the June 1 application submission deadline.

If you are able to submit test scores by June 30, 2020, we will proceed with a final review and decision notification. If you are unable to submit test scores by June 30, 2020, we will transfer your application to the 2020–2021 admissions season so you do not have to restart the application process entirely.

One-Year MBA applicants:

The 2019–2020 application is now closed.
The One-Year MBA program starts virtually on May 11, 2020.


Connecting with admissions

All scheduled in-person campus visits have been cancelled. While travel to campus is restricted, we encourage you to engage with our team and community online:

  • Ask Admissions online chats—Connect with members of our admissions team through information sessions and scheduled chats
  • Community search tool—Reach out to current MBA students with shared backgrounds and interests to learn more about our residential MBA programs in Ithaca
  • Virtual admissions events—Check this page regularly for new online events for prospective, admitted, and waitlisted candidates
  • Contact an admissions team member—You can connect with admissions and financial aid officers during Skype open office hours Monday through Friday

Application components

We understand that COVID-19 may have impacted your ability to fulfill the GMAT/GRE and/or TOEFL/IELTS testing requirements.

GMAT / GRE Requirements

  • If you are an applicant to the Two Year MBA program, an SAT or ACT score may be submitted in lieu of the GMAT or GRE for applicants who apply by the June 1 application submission deadline.
  • If you have a current GMAT or GRE score, but hope to retake an exam, please proceed with submitting your current test scores and use the Optional Essay to indicate that you are planning to retake an exam if and when it is possible to do so. You may also consider submitting an SAT or ACT score if you believe your score on those exams better reflects the quality of your candidacy.

TOEFL / IELTS Requirements

  • If you do not have a TOEFL, or IELTS score, please proceed with submitting your application materials and stay in touch with us via email as we monitor the changes to testing center operating status and exam format. Refer to the standardized testing section below for updates. If you are able to confirm a test date, please send us an email at mba@johnson.cornell.edu to let us know the date.
  • If you have a current TOEFL, or IELTS score, but hope to retake an exam, please proceed with submitting your current test scores and use the Optional Essay to indicate that you are planning to retake an exam if and when it is possible to do so.

Standardized testing

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about standardized tests.

Be sure to check the following resources for updates related to test center closures, individual accommodations, and testing postponements:

NEW: GMAT Online Testing Now Available

To meet the needs of students who are unable to take the GMAT exam in-person, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) is now offering the GMAT Online Exam.

The exam can be accessed at home on a personal computer and appointments are available for test dates as early as April 20, 2020 and extend through June 15, 2020. Appointments to take the GMAT online may be scheduled 24 hours, 7 days a week, allowing for greater flexibility during an evolving situation.

The exam will be similar in structure to the GMAT exam delivered in test centers: Section, Total Score and associate percentiles will be on the same score scale as the test center version of the GMAT exam for consistency.

NEW: GRE at Home Testing and TOEFL iBT Home Edition Test

To meet the needs of students who are unable to take the GRE® General Test or TOEFL iBT® test at a test center due to public health concerns, ETS is temporarily offering a GRE General Test at Home option as well as a TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test in selected areas. The test is identical in content, format and on-screen experience to the GRE General Test taken at a test center. It is taken on your own computer at home and is securely monitored by a human proctor online through ProctorU®.

NEW: IELTS Indicator Online Testing Now Available

IELTS has launched the IELTS Indicator – an online English language test for test takers who are currently unable to take IELTS due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) testing restrictions.

IELTS indicator will launch in countries where IELTS testing has been suspended due to COVID-19 with registration opening April 22.


MBA admissions interview

All admissions interviews will be conducted via Skype. Additional Skype interview appointments will be made available to accommodate all candidates.


Submitting official test scores and transcript

Admitted students who are unable to secure official transcripts or test scores due to changes to university or testing center operating status will be given adjusted deadlines by which to submit their documentation and complete their ReVera background check. Our admissions teams will communicate with you directly regarding these adjusted timelines. If you have been admitted to Johnson, please email us to let us know of any anticipated difficulties obtaining official documents.

At this time, mail will continue to be delivered to our office; however, our team is unable to access the building to process documents and add official documentation to applications. Once the university’s operating status is updated and we’re able to safely enter the building, we will work to add all official documentation and notify applicants about receipt of these items.


Start dates and delayed arrivals for admitted student

If you are an admitted student and have questions about your program start and arrival status, please refer to your program’s new student website and new student guide, which will be sent in the weeks leading up to the start of your MBA program. These resources will provide additional information regarding contingency plans related to COVID-19. You can also contact the student services team at newstudents@johnson.cornell.edu.