*You can apply throughout the year, to begin your MBA in either January or September
Round 1 vs Round 3? When should you apply?
There is often tension between applying as early as possible to your preferred business schools and waiting to have the best possible application.
This is different for everyone. Conventional wisdom holds that it’s better if you apply in the earlier application rounds. There are simply more seats to fill in the class, and more scholarship opportunities available.
You may need to apply earlier if you’re an international student to allow sufficient time to sort out your study visa, and to manage the logistics of moving to a new country. Applying in the earlier rounds can give a signal that you are serious about the school and have a well thought out plan.
On the other hand, you want to put your best foot forward and would rather apply with a stronger application in a later round. This is especially true if you want to score higher in the GMAT or are waiting for a promotion at work.
Many schools also require a video component and/or an interview. Be honest with yourself—look at the class profile and average GMAT scores to estimate how competitive you are.
It’s not as simple as having ‘reach’, ‘preferred’, and ‘safety’ schools on your list. But thinking about how competitive you are in relation to each school is a good place to start.
Most business schools have various stages in which you can apply.
Some have rolling applications right throughout the year. Others might have more than one starting date or intake each year. Familiarize yourself with the deadlines and requirements for admissions before you start the process.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes you to craft a strong and comprehensive application. You’ll need official academic transcripts, recommendation letters, your GMAT or GRE score, and application essays.
You will need to craft each application for each school, so don’t take on too many. If you do your research, you should have a good idea of where you should be applying and which schools you are a good fit for.