Round and Round

There’s always a struggle each year to decide which round to apply for your MBA.  It’s not helping that schools are adding even more rounds.

There once was a simpler time when b-schools each had three application rounds and the deadlines were all about the same.  First round was generally done by October, second round by first or second week of January and third round, by March or April.  This helped applicants in several ways.  While sometimes causing late night cramming to finish school applications whose deadlines were similar, when it came time to receive offers, you pretty much had all your decisions in hand and could make a choice without risking the explosion of an earlier offer.  Working on several schools at a time also kept the proverbial juices flowing and allowed for easy transfer of information from one application to another without losing your creative flow. 

Things got complicated.

In addition to adding additional rounds, many schools also began offering alternate program deadlines as well, such as a delayed submission deadline for January cohorts or separate deadlines for part time or executive programs.  The early decision phenomenon also wreaked havoc on applicant calendars, since you not only had to finish your target school’s application early, but you also had to commit in writing to accept that offer if it came through.  Early application deadlines, while offering favorable consideration on your profile, can sometimes add to the stress of application season, not to mention the acceleration of the entire process as deadlines crept ever earlier. 

There are several schools which now blow way past three rounds of applications and have six or more regular application windows in which you can apply. 

Gone are the days of early Spring round three terminations.  We now consistently see additional rounds with deadlines well into the summer.  Granted, these are most often schools who may be ranked a little lower in the tables and clamor each year to fill a class.  The top schools have in many cases stuck to the traditional three-round structure, because after all, they don’t need to clamor. 

If you find yourself vexing over when you should apply and especially if you are stressed out because you have decided you really want to go back this coming fall, don’t fret. 

There are good schools out there who are still actively accepting applications well after the “final” rounds of other schools.  Also remember that deadlines can be bent.  If you have a killer profile and think you can gain the attention of a school whose deadline has passed, you might try reaching out to the admissions office in person or via phone to see if they might consider taking an application after the deadline.  While most classes fill up quickly at top schools, they might make an exception for an exceptional candidate.  We can help you figure it out.

To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at or contact us via