A majority of the Bschool applicants from India tend to apply to several top MBA programs abroad. With multiple MBA application deadlines for each international business school, planning which round to apply to and keeping track of the MBA application deadlines have always been a challenge.
Juggling numerous applications in the first round can sometimes get too difficult and often result in a drop in the quality of the submitted applications. So candidates may need to opt for the second or third application rounds.
Does applying in the first round increase my chances of acceptance?
It’s a good idea to keep your top priority schools in the first round when the chance of acceptance are the highest. Many competitive and well-deserving profiles are lapped up in the first round. However make sure that you’re not rushing with your application in an attempt to apply early.
You can reap the benefits of applying early only if you have created a strong application and have been able to spend enough time on all the application related aspects.
If you’re applying in the second round, a certain percentage of seats are already filled up and if a profile similar to yours is already taken, the admissions committee may be more interested in the other profiles to maintain the ‘diversity’ element of the class.
When would it be recommended to apply in the second round?
If you’ve landed with a really low GMAT score (much lower than your expectations) and you would like to go for another attempt at the GMAT, you may probably have to skip the first round.
Your work experience may be on the lower side and you may wish to add more flavour to your application by including diversity of work experience.
Maybe there’s a phenomenal development expected at work that you could include in the application and make it more impactful.
– You may wish to demonstrate your efficiency as a team leader by successfully managing an ongoing project with tough deadlines.
– You may be in the process of bagging a contract for your company using your marketing and negotiating skills. You may be expecting a promotion which you would like to include in your resume.
There may be other interesting developments in the pipeline which you feel would add value to your application. Or it may simply be buying more time for yourself to put in your best.
You may skip the first round and apply in the second, if by doing so, your application output during this additional time would significantly contribute to strengthening your candidacy.
As an international candidate applying for the top U.S. schools, what are my chances if I apply in the third round?
Applying in the third round may mean too less time for the various formalities international candidates need to complete. This includes completing F1 visa application and considering various financing options.
Applying early for mba scholarships also improves your chances of getting one. We would say ‘the earlier the better’ in case of international candidates.
And not to mention the fact that most of the students who have been offered seats in the earlier round cover multiple industries, roles and countries. So differentiation becomes a MUCH bigger hurdle to cross at this stage.
I missed the first round. Should I apply next year rather than in round 2 or 3?
Though a big chunk of good candidates get in during round 1, this does not necessarily mean that you should not consider round 2.
Most of the admissions officers advocate applying in the first two rounds. With the additional time you get to work on your application, you can come up with a stronger application which gives you a good chance of acceptance.
On our blog, you’ll find stories of folks, who’ve successfully converted second round applications to top business schools.
– Columbia MBA admit in Round 2 after 4 rejections for Ivy League grad (MS from UPenn)
– Wharton MBA admit in Round 2 for Indian student with low GMAT score
– Nitin’s Kelley MBA application story.
So our advice would be to go in for the second round. But be aware of this phenomenon that we saw with ISB Admissions Round 1 vs Round 2 deadlines.
Avoid the third round if possible, though there are some exceptions like this lucky Indian applicant – Admissions chances for Round 3 deadlines and beyond.
Managing MBA application deadlines can become easier if you understand the pros and cons of applying in the first, second and third rounds. And of course, starting early so you are in a position to spread out the applications well in advance.