After a relatively sleepy February in terms of MBA application deadlines, March will soon be upon us with its extensive list of application deadlines. Let’s take a look at part of the long list of Round 3 (or 4 or 5) deadlines spread over the next two months:
February 27th: Toronto / Rotman R3
February 28th: Babson / Olin R3
March 1st: Maryland / Smith R5
March 1st: INSEAD R4
March 1st: Indiana / Kelley R3
March 1st: USC Marshall R3
March 10th: Cambridge / Judge R4
March 12th: CMU Tepper R3
March 15th: Cornell / Johnson R3
March 15th: NYU Stern R4
March 17th: Oxford / Saïd Stage 4
March 20th: Duke / Fuqua R3
March 20th: Michigan / Ross R3
March 28th: UPenn / Wharton R3
April 1st: Georgetown / McDonough R3
April 3rd: Harvard R3
April 4th: U. Chicago / Booth R3
April 4th: Texas / McCombs R3
April 5th: Dartmouth / Tuck R4
April 5th: Northwestern / Kellogg R3
April 5th: Stanford GSB R3
April 6th: UC Berkeley / Haas R3
April 6th: UVA Darden R3
April 10th: MIT Sloan R3
April 12th: Columbia Regular Decision
April 12th: UCLA / Anderson R3
April 19th: Yale SOM R3
April 21st: London Business School R4
While it’s always best to apply as early as possible, the difference between applying in Round 1 and applying in Round 2 is, for most applicants, a marginal one. However, the later rounds are a very different game. Because most of the seats in the incoming class will have been given away by the time Round 2 decisions are released, the acceptance rate in the third round is dramatically lower than that for the first two deadlines of the season.
To maximize your chances of a later round acceptance, demonstrating your interest in the school and submitting thoughtful and error-free written materials will be crucial. Applying in Round 1 is generally taken as a sign of interest in a given program, and by the same token, applicants submitting their materials in a later round need to work extra hard to convince the adcom that they are genuinely interested in the school and are not simply applying as an afterthought because interview invitations didn’t come through in Round 2. Demonstrating that you would make a valuable contribution to the community and providing evidence that you have taken steps to engage current students and alumni will work to your advantage.
It is worth noting, candidates will be admitted in these later rounds, so while your odds may be stacked against you, they are better than if you choose not to apply. If you are not successful, most programs look favorably on reapplicants in the following years.
As always, we’d like to recommend the in-depth Clear Admit School Guides to those applicants who are targeting the later deadlines and just beginning to investigate certain programs, and we encourage those who’ve visited the campus and interviewed to share their experiences in Clear Admit Interview Reports.