Apply to Business School Now or Punt?

You may be debating right now on whether to cram in a round three b-school application or wait until later in the year when round one starts up for next year's class.  Before you rush into your decision, consider three important things:

1.     Are you Short on New Experiences?

Firstly, you should be considering your personal readiness to submit an application no matter what strategy you employ for timing.  Do you have the best GMAT score you can achieve?  Do you have the appropriate amount of progressively responsible work experience logged?   What if there is a pending promotion in your near future, and by delaying your application a few months, you will be able to experience something extraordinary which could impress the admissions committees?

I know of an applicant who was recently on the verge of receiving a new international assignment and decided to wait until round one so they could add it to their resume where before they had no international experience at all.  These kinds of opportunities are not only good for the resume, but can also provide great fodder for the essays themselves and will position you as a more mature, seasoned employee.

2. Have you Conducted Your B-School Visits?

Another reason to wait until next year's process might be to give you more time to visit individual schools.  The personal visit is one of the most important components of the due diligence process, as there is simply no substitution for sitting in an actual class and meeting real, live students in your target program when it comes to deciding where you fit in.  Some schools will even give you brownie points in the admissions process for visiting in person.  Look for schools with a historically low yield number (yield being the number of students who actually accept an offer of admission), which assume that an in person visit indicates you are truly serious about coming there.  There's still time to get this done before school is out for summer.

3. Do you Have the Time You Need to Prepare?

Finally, the most important reason you might want to delay your application is because it is simply not its best yet.  If you feel you are rushing things and not spending an appropriate amount of time on introspection, you shouldn’t submit in round three.   Submitting an application that is incomplete or sub-standard, especially one that has not been vetted by either a consultant or confidant who perhaps went through the process themselves, you should delay.  Statistically, your chances of admission across the rounds is similar, so don’t let application strategy tempt you to submit an application that is not fully ready.

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