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There are a number of factors to consider around the timing of your MBA application. Round 3, which is the final application round for the year for most American business schools, has deadlines in March, April and May, and tends to be the most competitive round to apply in, since schools would have already filled up a significant portion of their classrooms and you would now be competing with a larger pool of applicants for fewer spots. However, do not be discouraged. There is a clear reason why schools still have Round 3, and it is because they receive strong and inspiring applications every year in this round.
You need to think about the following factors, to see if Round 3 makes sense for you:
• Your background and profile are strong: Most schools, at this time, are most likely looking for ways to fill the gaps in the diversity of their classroom through Round 3. Diversity not just in terms of gender, race, ethnicity or geography, but also how you stand out in terms of having an interesting and different background and goals that could be, but are not necessarily, related to your professional success. For instance, starting up your own draft beer business that you plan to scale across South Asia, or leading a nonprofit focused on revolutionizing urban sanitation across developing countries. Traditional backgrounds in finance and consulting are likely to have a harder time in Round 3, since a number of applications admitted in the first two rounds would have similar backgrounds, unless you are also including uncommon leadership experiences and consistently pursued uncommon interests. Diversity could also mean the number of years of work experience you have. If you graduated from college more than five years ago, you may want to consider Round 3, since some programs may focus on attracting younger students in the first two rounds
• You have a compelling story for WHY you are applying in Round 3: Admissions committees are likely to be interested in why you chose to apply in Round 3. You can use the optional essay to explain your reasons. Good reasons include family and health emergencies, or significant changes in your workload such as time-critical, large-scale projects, all of which should be explained clearly. Wait to apply in Round 1 or Round 2 in the fall if you are only considering Round 3 because you were rejected from your top choice schools or you were not considering business school at all until now. You need more time to structure your application, do your homework on the schools, reach out to potential recommenders, and really think about how you want to position yourself through your essays.
• You are applying to differently structured MBA programs: If you are applying to Executive Education and Part Time MBA programs, like the Saturday and Evening MBA Programs at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and at NYU Stern, they tend to have later deadlines. Deferred admissions programs like the Harvard Business School 2+2 program may be worth considering if you are applying directly after your final year in college, since schools are not largely focusing on curating a perfect class, but rather are adjudicating primarily based on the strength of your application and potential fit at the school., It is important to note that each school, program and circumstance is unique and needs to be well researched.
• You are in the final stages of your application: If you still have not taken your standardized tests like the GMAT and TOEFL, you should probably wait till Round 1 of the following year, depending of course on how much time you need to study. Rushing the entirety of your application is most likely to be perceptible to the admissions committee. Additionally, you also want to ensure that your academic profile is within the median range of the admitted applicants’ GMAT scores and GPAs at each school.
If, however, you are content with the quality of your application, and need to finalize only a few components, Round 3 could be for you. You want to make sure that you put the best possible application forward.
Do you meet these criteria? Are you excited to get started? Here are a few Round 3 deadlines that you may be interested in:
|SCHOOL||ROUND 3 DEADLINE||ADMISSIONS DECISIONS|
|Stanford – GSB||April 5, 2016||May 11, 2016|
|Harvard Business School||April 4, 2016||May 11, 2016|
|MIT – Sloan||April 11, 2016||May 18, 2016|
|Pennsylvania – Wharton||March 30, 2016||April 13, 2016|
|Chicago – Booth||April 5, 2016||May 19, 2016|
|UC Berkeley – Haas||March 31, 2016||May 12, 2016|
|Northwestern – Kellogg||April 6, 2016||May 11, 2016|
|Michigan – Ross||March 21, 2016||May 13, 2016|
|Boston – Questrom||March 23, 2016||April 29, 2016|
|Duke – Fuqua||March 22, 2016||May 6, 2016|
|Virginia – Darden||April 8, 2016||May 11, 2016|
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