Getting the MBA Edge: Step 3 – Ideal Timing (Rounds 1 & 2 vs. 3)

Getting MBA Edge Step 4 - Ideal Timing

(This 7-step MBA Admissions series is produced by Fortuna Admissions, a team of former Directors of Admissions from Wharton, INSEAD, Chicago Booth, London Business School, IE and UC Berkeley Haas).

There is much discussion about which round of applications is most advantageous for applicants, An ideal rule of thumb is to apply when you are ready. It is important though to keep in mind the obvious math – the first round has all of the spots available (beyond a handful of deferrals), the second round has fewer – often less than 50%. By round 3, very few spaces still remain for the incoming class at many top schools, so try to avoid this if you can.

That’s why you should be thoughtful about planning for your deadlines- and the schools to which you want to apply in what order. The application process is a long one; it requires students to thoroughly prepare for the GMAT admissions test, write their essays, work with their recommenders, and create an overall presentation that is reflective of who they are as individuals.

Based on our experience, we see that it is often impossible to create all of the applications for Round 1. We generally suggests that students break up their school list so that they have time and energy to give attention to each school completely, and encourages applicants to wait until Round 2 if they feel that the extra time allows them to really dig into the process and deliver a thoughtful, self aware application package without being rushed. The admissions directors certainly can tell the difference in an application that was thrown together to make the deadline (lots of typos, hurried and unpolished thoughts and yes, even the wrong school name – repeatedly!), and the ones where the applicant took a step back to really deliver quality.

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