Anyone who’s familiar with the MBA application process knows that August moves forward at an accelerated pace, and come September, entire weeks seem to disappear. To help this year’s Round One applicants avoid the classic time crunch, today’s blog post offers some basic advice on how to approach the Round One admission deadlines at a reasonable pace.
Let’s start by taking a quick look at some of the published MBA application deadlines for Round One at the leading MBA programs:
September 9: Harvard
September 11: Oxford, ISB
September 15: Duke/Fuqua (Early Action), HEC
September 16: INSEAD, Yale SOM
September 17: Chicago/Booth, MIT/Sloan
September 18: Cambridge/Judge
September 22: Northwestern/Kellogg, Stanford
September 25: London Business School
September 29: Wharton
October 1: Berkeley/Haas, Georgetown/McDonough
October 5: CMU/Tepper, Michigan/Ross
October 6: IESE, UCLA/Anderson
October 7: Columbia (Early Decision & J-Term), Dartmouth/Tuck (Early Action)
October 8: UVA/Darden
October 9: Emory/Goizueta
October 13: UT Austin/McCombs
October 14: Duke Fuqua
October 15: NYU/Stern, ISB
October 16: UNC/Kenan-Flager (Early Action)
Though some schools have yet to announce their deadlines (such as Cornell and USC), one can still get a general sense of the lineup of Round 1 deadlines. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your personal timeline:
1. Plan to be busy in August. Yes, it can be tempting to work on one’s tan instead of one’s essays. However, many MBA applicants squander the month of August only to wake up in September and realize that they cannot make their target deadlines. If you’re not bogged down by professional obligations in August, this makes for a great opportunity to devote time to working on your MBA applications in the evenings. The last weeks of summer can easily be split between resume drafting, essay writing, recommendation coaching, GMAT prep, school research, and more.
2. Think carefully about the timing of the Round 1 deadlines. Looking at the deadlines above, it becomes clear that some deadlines may be easier to make than others. A candidate applying to Haas and Tuck could have a leisurely October when compared to someone targeting Haas, Tuck, and NYU Stern. Look at the deadlines, assume about three weeks of research and writing for each school’s application, and count backwards to determine a start date for each. It is entirely possible to meet back-to-back deadlines, such as Tepper and Ross, but doing so requires a well-planned schedule and consistent progress.
3. Consider taking some time off from work. We realize that many MBA applicants work 70 hours/week and haven’t had a day off in months. For such applicants, a day or two out of the office can really do wonders for focus and organization. Applying to business school is a serious undertaking, and in the long term you won’t regret having given yourself enough time to prepare strong applications. Many successful candidates take a week off in late September to make the final push. It’s not a glamorous way to spend your vacation time, but an offer to attend a leading MBA program can make the sacrifice well worth it.
4. Get your recommenders on board early. While many of the schools have not yet made their online applications and recommendation forms available, it’s a good idea to engage your recommenders early and inform them about the process and your timeline. Sit down with each recommender in July or early August, perhaps over lunch or coffee. Present them with a rough sketch of the deadlines and the process. It’s prudent to meet again once the forms are available, and by that time many applicants are in a position to share their background materials (a résumé, career goals essays, etc.) to help their recommenders understand—and support—their message.
To learn more about each MBA program, check out each school’s profile which also feature essay topic analyses. If you’d like more information on the application process and school selection, we encourage you to contact our friends at Veritas Prep for a free consultation. Happy planning!