Applying on Round 1 or Round 2. Which round increases the chances of being accepted to a top MBA program?

Round 1 vs Round 2 MBAWe would say that a strong candidate has an equally good chance in either round. What is important is to submit a strong application that one feels puts one’s best face forward, rather than try to rush things just to meet the Round 1 deadline. It is a myth that applying in Round 1 increases one’s chances of acceptance at a top MBA program. If you are ready with the application in time for the Round 1 submission, there should be no reason to delay until Round 2. If you are not ready, do not hesitate to spend additional time polishing up the application till you feel it is as good as it can get.

As we have noted in our earlier post on ISB Admissions on F1GMAT, far too many candidates believe that the number of places at MBA programs is limited and that applying in a later round might mean that those places are already taken. This may be true for later rounds (Round 3 and later at top schools) but is not much of an issue between Round 1 and Round 2.

Some exceptions are top global programs that encourage applicants to apply as early as they can. For example, Richard Ivey School of Business in Canada has an early application round that closes before Round 1 begins. Similarly, Duke and Columbia also have Early Action / Early Application deadlines respectively for applicants who are keen about the school. These early deadlines are for applicants who have decided that the particular school is their top choice for an MBA, and who are willing to withdraw applications to all other B-schools if offered admission by the particular school with the early deadline. While meeting the early deadline can give some applicants who fit the requirements and are willing to abide by the school’s constraints of acceptance a greater chance, these candidates too will be subject to a thorough assessment. Their profile will be scrutinized and assessed in as much detail as would be the profile of applicants in other rounds. It is highly unlikely that a candidate who would be rejected in Round 2 will get accepted in Round 1 just because he/she applied early.

If you strongly desire to meet earlier round deadlines, the solution is quite simple – get started earlier. In case you were not able to get going earlier, then devote more time to getting your applications done faster. Whatever path you choose, it is critical to submit great essays and a strong application.

About the Author

Gyan OneGyanOne is an educational services firm focused on premium GMAT coaching, application advisory (with a focus on ISB applications), and interview preparation for B-school admissions. GyanOne operates in the New Delhi region of India and has top global B-school alumni with a minimum score of 770 on the GMAT, as instructors. All GyanOne counsellors are professionally trained top B-school alumni with an experience of 100+ MBA applications behind them.

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