We’re covering coronavirus predictions today and possible impact to society. If you are feeling fragile, if you’re not sure you can handle all the uncertainty — which is a legit reaction!! — then please skip today’s post. We’re going to talk about some possibilities for our future that may trigger anxiety.
We believe it’s much better to be INFORMED using FACTS and to rely on experts who study these subjects, but sometimes, it creates a lot of emotion that can become difficult to handle. PLEASE TALK TO SOMEONE if you’re feeling really stressed out right now. The Crisis Text Line is available: text HOME to 741741 for free support.
Kinda wish we hadn’t been quite so prescient in this post from 2017, where we said this about the idea of going to Harvard Business School in order to launch a company:
And we’re in flush times as far as VCs and angels goes right now. At some point there WILL be a downturn. At some point those markets WILL dry up.
If that happens all of a sudden in a crash when you’re in the middle of a fundraising cycle… which it very well could if you’re going to be starting your company as part of your studies in the Class of 2020… well, all bets are off.
Well now what?
Here we are, with the Class of 2020 ready to head out into the world with their shiny new degrees and prestigious new jobs. Or, they’re in the midst of launching that company that they dreamed up two years back.
How is the radical change to the economic landscape going to affect those folks?
If you’re a founder of a startup, then it’s likely already affected you, at least it has if you’re in the market for capital.
If you’re any wise businessperson or manager with any foresight at all, you’re looking for ways to cut back and conserve cash.
If you’re one of the big behemoth employers of MBA talent: You’re likely in wait-and-see mode right now.
Many, many second-year students at many, many business schools entered January with some sweet plans for 2020. They had locked up a job offer after spending their summer at an internship; they have a commitment from their future employer with a hefty hiring bonus and an amazing package of perks. They have just a few classes to get through, most of which are electives, and then it’s all party-party-party and graduation, and then finally back into the real world, with a paycheck to welcome them. A very nice paycheck at that.
The real world has changed quite a bit since January.
If the 2008 economic collapse is any indication, then unfortunately what a lot of Class of 2020 grads have to look forward to is some rescinded job offers and major uncertainty.
You probably saw the jobs numbers that came out yesterday: 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.
The prior record was 665,000 claims in one week.
Let’s let that sink in.
(Here’s what that looks like in comparison to history . Yes. It’s staggering. Chart preserved here on essaysnark server in case that link ever goes dead.)
We’ve also gotten word that there are many Silicon Valley companies that are not scaling back on their hiring. We keep seeing news of huge hiring pushes from companies like Amazon, WalMart, and CVS. There are healthcare companies like Genentech that are scrambling to fill positions.
So there are pockets in the economy where they can’t meet the need for more people. Hiring is happening as fast as they can find people to fill the positions.
And yet… It’s highly likely that when you had dreams of business school, you weren’t thinking about going to work for any of those companies. With the exception of Amazon of course, and that was only because you wanted to go into product management. You didn’t have in mind a warehouse job in an environment where there is not any personal protective gear available for those doing difficult, physically taxing work.
In 2008, a lot of on-campus recruiters had to call up the Career Services teams at all the business schools that they had relationships with, and tell them that they would not, in fact, be able to honor the employment offers they had extended to all of their students. This happened at companies large and small. Many big consulting firms scaled back and brought fewer MBAs on board. Obviously it hit financial services firms the most, and some soon-to-be grads lost their job opportunities because the whole firm went belly-up. There was much less hiring from bschool into startups at that time, so smaller numbers of students were impacted, but those who’d planned to go to a venture-backed company were especially vulnerable to having their offers canceled. It truly sucked. It was a lousy time to be graduating. That situation was even worse for those who were graduating from college in that time — and if that was you, and you’re sitting here now looking at the stock market hemorrhaging every other day, you may be feeling especially unnerved.
The American economy was actually in very good shape when all of this began last month, and even though the Dow has fallen by something like 10,000 points in just a few weeks, it’s still at a very high level, historically speaking. Many corporations have a lot of cash on hand, and the bailout that’s about to go through Congress and get signed is going to pump so much money into businesses that it’s almost impossible to grasp the numbers.
There will still be many businesses that fail, and just because the stock market has been going up this week doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods. EssaySnark actually thinks that things are going to get much worse before they start to stabilize.
And that’s where the canceled job offers are likely to come from. 🙁
Unfortunately, we’re pretty sure that’s going to happen for many second-years in the coming few months.
The stock market has rallied because of the massive intervention that the U.S. government is orchestrating — but we haven’t seen massive numbers of deaths yet. There’s been around 1,000 lives lost in the U.S. as of this writing. But the shocks to the system are not over yet — the shocks that, tragically, many, many of us are going to feel personally, when we experience the loss of a loved one.
Hopefully we’re wrong.
But unfortunately, we fear that probably, we’re not.
So. If you’re a Class of 2020 grad who was living large, loving life, about to complete your fabulous degree and thinking you had everything going for you: You still do! All of the things you’ve worked for are still valid. You still deserve to be proud of yourself! Absolutely proud.
And, if you haven’t already begun to do so, thinking through a Plan B, and a Plan C, and even a possible Plan D for what you might do if the Plan A you thought was all settled turns out to be not quite that feasible, based on factors totally out of your control.
If anyone has an alternative view on things and wants to share their thinking and ideas on how this may play out economically, we would be ever so eager to hear them! And sure, it’s possible that some people might decide to go back to work and re-open for business instead of continuing with lockdown and social distancing, because they want to save the economy. The cost of doing so seems terribly high, but we understand the logic behind that intention. It’s going to be a few more tough weeks for all of us.
Stay safe, BSer! And stay sane. This is challenging for all of us and if you’re feeling very anxious, we understand.
Coronavirus and the MBA
- Coronavirus: Round 2 decisions
- Coronavirus and scholarship opportunities
- When will business schools reopen for on-campus instruction?
- Coronavirus: Standardized testing and Round 3 apps