There is little more debated in the b-school application world than whether it’s better to apply in round one or round two. Most can agree that the third round is the most challenging, but late night discussions have endured and fights started over the topic of whether to submit for the first or second deadline.
I've been having this conversation a lot lately with individual clients, so I thought I'd take it out wide.
Basically, the idea is that Round 2 might be offering a slight advantage, based on theories of market inefficiencies and so forth. For years, I would say the prevailing belief is that Round 1 is the best round in which to apply to business and while there is no hard-core evidence to suggest otherwise, some common sense and deduction may point to a different result. So let's quickly run this down.
MIT Sloan is one of "those" schools - the ones that seem to slip into the nooks and crannies of the admissions process. People don't talk about Sloan as much as its elite counterparts. Nobody immediately thinks about it in terms of being a top 5 program until you start digging and realize, wow, this program is insanely good.
Most importantly, because of its unique end-of-October deadline and equally unique two-round admissions process, we would wager that application quality on Sloan apps is far lower than on other top programs (which is a massive problem if you want to be admitted there). Candidates often don't even start on their Sloan apps until after the October 3-12 gauntlet of deadlines and then they race to finish because they fear waiting until the "last" round.
With those things in mind, we are breaking out another of our 5 Tips posts, with an eye toward improving the quality of Sloan applications.