Round 2 or Round 1: Should you make the jump or wait until next year?

That’s the question facing many MBA applicants at this time of year. The Round 2 deadlines are just around the corner in January (only 5 weeks away!). Although waiting until Round 1 next year means delaying matriculation until fall 2018.  

So which timing is right for you? What should you expect in Round 1 VS Round 2? As with all aspects of the MBA application process, it depends.

To help you make the right decision for you, we’ve included a list of questions below to ask yourself. If you answer NO to any of them, then it could be worth delaying until Round 1 of next year.

  1. Have you taken the GMAT?
    If so, do you plan to apply with your current GMAT score? If you plan to take/retake the GMAT in the upcoming weeks, you will most likely need to dedicate additional time to study and prepare for the test. Naturally, this competes with the time you need to spend on your essays and other application components.

  2. Have you started on any other part of the application process?
    What about researching your target schools? Attending information sessions, scheduling campus visits, connecting with alums and/or current students etc.? These are the steps in your MBA journey that may be more challenging to rush, particularly with the upcoming holiday season.

  3. Do you have enough time outside of work and your other commitments to dedicate to the application process over the next 5+ weeks?
    In our experience, you should plan to work on 5-6 drafts of your resume and 8-10 drafts of each essay to put together a stellar application. Depending on how many schools you plan to apply to, that could easily take 40+ hours.

  4. Do you have >3 years of work experience?
    Note that the class profiles of the top MBA programs have 4-5 years of work experience on average.

  5. Have you ever been promoted in your career or received any formal increase in responsibility?
    Evidence of career progression and leadership are top-of-mind for the adcom as they evaluate candidates. A promotion is an ideal way to showcase that (although certainly not the only way).

The decision of when to apply is ultimately a personal one that should take into account your individual situation and circumstances. We always advise our clients to apply when they are best prepared to submit their strongest application. If you can get it all done in the next 5 weeks and believe that now is the best time for you to apply, then that’s amazing!

What about Round 3?

We typically don’t advise our clients to apply Round 3 for any of the top 10 programs unless there are extenuating circumstances in play. Unfortunately, Chances of admission go down in Round 3 as most of the class has been formed at that point.

Have you decided that Round 1 next year is better timing for you?

That’s great too! It’s never too early to get started. We’re accepting 2017-2018 applicants at this time so feel free to take advantage of our free 30-minute consultation. Find out what you could be doing now to strengthen your application!

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