Laid-off tech workers: These top business schools are still offering extended MBA deadlines, scholarships

BY Sydney LakeMarch 28, 2023, 3:53 PM
A student leaves the polling place after voting on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia, as seen in March 2016. (Photo by Tom Williams—CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

In the latest wave of Big Tech layoffs, Amazon announced last week plans to cut an additional 9,000 jobs; this marks the second-largest round of layoffs at the tech giant following the 18,000 jobs cut in January. Out of work Amazon workers aren’t alone. Since 2022, more than 315,000 tech workers have been laid off, according to

Many of the tech layoffs have been the result of rapid growth and new product offerings, which don’t jive with an economy that could potentially be headed for a recession.

“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a January statement announcing 12,000 layoffs at the company. “To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”

While many laid-off tech workers are scrambling to find a new gig, some are turning toward an option that grows more enticing during economic turmoil: education. Following the 2008 financial crisis, applications to graduate schools in the U.S. jumped by 8.3% from fall 2008 to fall 2009, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.

Some grad schools have even been proactively enticing tech workers to apply—particularly MBA programs. Since late last year, many top MBA programs have announced extended deadlines and scholarships for workers affected by Big Tech layoffs. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management were among business schools that offered incentives including test waivers and extended deadlines that have already passed.

Fortune has rounded up a list of schools that still are offering extended deadlines, scholarships, and other special offers for laid-off tech workers. This is not an exhaustive list of business schools that have special admissions offerings for tech workers affected by layoffs.

Northwestern University (Kellogg)

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is offering a test waiver for former tech workers to apply to its full-time MBA program in an effort to help “some people to speed up their career transformation process,” says Greg Hanifee, associate dean of degree programs and operations. Fortune ranks Kellogg as the No. 3 business school in the country. 

The testing waiver, which means that applicants don’t have to submit a GMAT score, is effective through Kellogg’s Round 3 deadline on April 5. The waiver can also be used to apply for the evening and weekend program through the summer term. Applications are due by June 20.

Johns Hopkins University

In mid-March, Johns Hopkins University announced it will offer $30,000 scholarships to applicants affected by tech layoffs. The Carey Tech Fellowship can help students earn a part-time MBA in a flexible way, including both synchronous and asynchronous content, according to the school’s announcement. 

“We know how hard it is to face job loss,” assistant dean for admissions Kelly Farmer said in a statement. “We want to make it easier for professionals to build for what’s next in their careers, and help remove the barriers to their next success.”

To qualify for the scholarship, students must apply to start classes in fall 2023 and must submit a formal separation letter and updated resume that shows that they were laid off from their last employer. 

Santa Clara University (Leavey)

In late February, Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business announced adapted admissions requirements and guaranteed scholarships for applicants to its MBA and other graduate business degree programs. Eligible programs include Leavey’s online MBA—which Fortune ranks as a top program—as well as its online master’s in business analytics, online master’s in finance and analytics, and online master’s in marketing.

Qualified applicants will receive at least $3,000 in scholarship funding, they will not be required to submit GMAT or GRE scores, and they will not have to pay an application fee.

“It’s disheartening to see so many tech experts lose their jobs, so we’ve decided to create initiatives that will help those who may decide to increase their credentials with a master’s degree,” Ed Grier, dean of SCU’s Leavey School of Business, said in a statement.

Georgia Tech (Scheller)

The Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business announced in late November several offerings for laid-off tech workers, including full-tuition scholarships (called fellowships), access to an admissions counselor and career coach, an application fee waiver, and a GMAT/GRE-optional application. Fortune ranks Georgia Tech as having top full-time and executive MBA programs.

These offers are in effect for full-time MBA applicants. Round 4 applications are due by May 4, and require a resume, essays, letters of recommendation, and an interview.

“This economic downturn holds unique opportunity,” Dave Deiters, executive director of the Jones MBA Career Center at Scheller, said in a statement announcing the offerings. “Let us help you turn the tables.”

Rice University (Jones)

Late last week, Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business announced it will add a fourth round admissions deadline for its top-ranked full-time MBA program

Applications for Rice’s MBA program are now due by noon Central Time on May 1. Applications require transcripts, standardized tests, a resume, letters of recommendation, and essays. 

University of Texas–Austin

In late February, UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business announced an additional fourth round deadline for prospective students who were affected by tech layoffs. 

Round 4 applications are due May 11 and are technically open to any U.S. citizen. Test waivers are also available for applicants. Admissions decisions will be released by June 15. 

“The biggest benefit is that you potentially won’t need to wait a full year to enroll,” Stacey Batas, McComb’s director of full-time MBA recruiting and admissions, said in a statement announcing the new deadline. “Round 4 is a great option for those who definitely know they want to go to McCombs, but who may have figured that out a little later in the game.”

Check out all of Fortune’rankings of degree programs, and learn more about specific career paths.