Should You Sprint for Round 2 or Wait Until Round 1 Next Year?
That’s the question facing many MBA applicants at this time of year. The Round 2 deadlines are quickly approaching in January, but waiting until Round 1 next year means delaying matriculation until fall of 2022. So which timing is right for you?
As with all aspects of the MBA application process, it depends. To help you make the right decision, below is a list of questions to ask yourself. If you answer NO to any of them, it could be worth delaying until Round 1 of next year.
- Have you taken the GMAT / GRE? If so, do you plan to apply with your current score? If you plan to take or retake the test in the upcoming weeks, you will likely need to dedicate additional time to study and prepare. Naturally, this competes with the time you can spend on your essays and other application components.
- Have you begun any other part of the application process? What about researching your target schools, including attending info sessions and connecting with alums or current students? These are critical steps in your MBA journey that may be difficult to rush, particularly with the upcoming holiday season.
- Do you have enough time outside of work to dedicate to the application process over the next two months? On average, we see applicants writing 10-20 drafts of their essays for the top programs. Our recent ‘double admits’ (people who got into HBS and Stanford) wrote a minimum of 12 drafts of each essay – the max was 27 in case you’re wondering.
- Will your years of work experience exceed your target schools’ averages (4-5 years upon matriculation for the top programs) if you wait a year? If not, your profile might be stronger with roughly nine more months of accomplishments under your belt.
- Have you ever been promoted or received a formal increase in responsibility? Evidence of career progression and leadership are top-of-mind for the admissions committee as they evaluate candidates – a promotion is an ideal way to showcase these things (although certainly not the only way).
In addition to the above considerations, this year is also complicated by the current state of the world where many people are out of work or have reassessed their goals and priorities. The decision of when to apply is ultimately a personal one that should consider 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 two months and believe that now is the best time for you to apply, go for it!
What about Round 3? While last year was a bit of an anomaly, we typically don’t advise our clients to apply to any of the top 10 programs in Round 3 unless there are extenuating circumstances in play. Chances of admission go way down, as most of the class has been formed at that point.
Have you decided to sprint for the finish line in Round 2 this year? We’re still accepting 2020-2021 clients and would be happy to assist. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation! Decided to wait until next year? We’ll begin consultations with 2021-2022 applicants in late January and would love to connect!