Applying to MBA programs in Round 3

Is there such thing as “the best time to apply” to MBA programs?

With the third round application deadlines around the corner, we get more and more questions around the right timing of an MBA application. The short answer is, the right time to apply is when you are ready to apply and you’re 100% confident in your candidacy.

Here’s a quick test to figure out if your profile is competitive and if you’re ready for an MBA:

    • Do you have a strong work experience? Have you been working for a minimum of 2 years with a solid track record?
    • Are you ready to go back to school? When you graduated from university, you may have said to yourself “never again”, but now you’re imagining yourself at a graduate school convocation. Are you mentally ready for the new challenge?
    • Would you have better career opportunities if you had an MBA degree? Maybe your undergraduate degree is not exposing you to the leadership roles as you’d hoped; or maybe you don’t like the industry you are in and need a change.
    • Are you ready for a new challenge called the GMAT? Do you have the right attitude?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you’ve passed this quick test with flying colors, and are ready to go back to school!

If you’ve been doing your research, you may have realized, by now, that there are different rounds of applications. If you apply in the spring, you’ll hit the third round. What does this mean to you?

Is applying to Round 3 a good thing or a bad thing?

The answer to this great question is both yes and no! Applying in the earlier rounds has its merits: more scholarship money is available and more seats in the program remain. However, if you apply in a later round, this doesn’t mean that you have no chance of getting in. There is still hope!

Many schools have a third round because they need that round. They still have space available in the program, and the admissions teams are still looking for good candidates. They know that not everyone wants to wait till the next year, and not everyone plans well ahead to apply to a graduate school. Some candidates take their time to see where their career is going and want to get some experience to be able to make an informed decision. There are also candidates who realize that they should get their MBA as soon as possible because their careers are not going anywhere without it.

Depending on your target schools, you might have a very good chance of getting into a competitive school that is on your list. Poets and Quants recently published a great analysis of top tier American business schools that still offer great chances of getting in in later rounds.

While your chances would depend on how many seats are still left in the program and how competitive the application pool will be in that round, if this is the right time for you to get an MBA, you should definitely consider applying in the third round.

One recommendation we would make for candidates applying in later rounds is to have a realistic list of target schools. Some schools are more selective than others. Since putting together a competitive application requires a lot of time and energy, you don’t want to spend too much time on a school that is unlikely to admit you.

You may be wondering what schools are more “selective” than others. You could find out the “selectivity” score of a school by dividing the number of offers it extends by the number of applications it receives. You can check this selectivity analysis to see where you stand.

Are all schools very competitive in Round 3?

While the top US business schools enjoy a high competition for spots in the program and a very high volume of applications from all over the world, there are quite a few good business schools that are not full at this time and may even have up to five application rounds. They may not be in high demand due to many reasons, often because of their location, but if their programs appeal to you and have great career stats, they should definitely be on your radar.

Perhaps you tried applying to very competitive schools in the first or second round and didn’t get in. If this is the case, now may be the time to check out some of less competitive programs and see if they can provide you with solid academic content and student experience.

Word of caution: If you are in this situation, please make sure you don’t recycle your essays from your previous applications; you should always submit customized essays with school specific examples.

Should I still apply now?

An MBA is a journey that requires a lot of advance planning and preparation. Many candidates want to pursue an internationally renowned MBA; to get admitted to such a competitive program, you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time before submitting your application.

You may have realized that you need to get an MBA later in the application cycle; there is still time to apply, but you will need to work strategically to maximize your chances of getting in. If you feel overwhelmed when looking at the application requirements, never hesitate to get help.

Professional admissions consultants have great expertise in the field and can answer any of your questions; getting expert help with your decision making and MBA application processes will be a small investment that will pay off many times over when you get admitted to your dream business school!

Schedule your free profile evaluation to see how you can maximize your career potential.

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