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Ready. Set. Go!

On your marks. Get set. Go. The very first deadline to apply for the Class of 2013 at a top business school is at Harvard on Oct. 1st, though one school–Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business–has an early action deadline of Sept. 13th. Of the elite schools, the latest first round cutoff is for MIT’s Sloan School on Oct. 26th. Generally speaking, MBA applicants in the first round have an advantage over candidates in latter rounds. That’s because all the seats in the class are open and your diligence in getting an early start usually forms a good impression in the minds of admissions staffers. It also tends to not be as heavy a round as the second cutoff when the vast majority of applications flow into business school offices. One other thing to keep in mind: ideally, you want to get your application in just ahead of the final deadline in any round. Far too many people wait until the bitter end when admissions is buried in apps.

In some cases, the first round deadlines below are actually “early action” rounds for applicants who are really set on going to a specific school. That is the case at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, whose early action round ends Oct. 13th, as well as Columbia Business School, whose early decision round ends Oct. 6th. That is also the final deadline for applicants who want to start at Columbia in January of 2011.

Many European schools have later deadlines (indicated by an asterisk in the table below). For example, top-rated IESE in Spain has a final deadline of June 6th, it’s sixth deadline for applications in a single year.

While the table below provides a general idea of when applications are due, there may also be other deadlines for international applicants required to complete English language tests or for schools, such as Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management,  that require an interview of all applicants. So it’s best to use this information as a guideline and to refer to the admissions sections of the school’s websites for more complete and detailed information.

School Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Harvard Business School 10/1/10 1/11/11 3/31/11 NA
Stanford Business School 10/6/10 1/6/11 4/6/11 NA
Chicago (Booth) 10/13/10 1/5/11 4/13/11 NA
Pennsylvania (Wharton) 10/4/10 1/4/11 3/3/11 NA
Dartmouth (Tuck) 10/13/10 11/10/10 1/3/11 4/1/11
Columbia Business School 10/6/10 4/13/11 NA NA
Northwestern (Kellogg) 10/14/10 1/11/11 4/7/11 NA
MIT (Sloan) 10/26/10 1/4/11 NA NA
California-Berkeley (Haas) 10/13/10 12/2/10 1/20/11 3/16/11
NYU (Stern) 11/15/10 1/15/11 3/15/11 NA
Duke (Fuqua) 9/30/10 11/1/10 1/4/11 3/8/11
Michigan (Ross) 10/11/10 1/5/11 3/1/11 NA
Virginia (Darden) 10/14/10 1/5/11 3/30/11 NA
Cornell (Johnson) 10/5/10 11/9/10 1/4/11 3/22/11
Yale School of Mgt. 10/7/10 1/6/11 3/17/11 NA
UCLA (Anderson) 10/20/10 1/5/11 4/13/11 NA
Carnegie-Mellon (Tepper) 10/25/10 1/3/11 3/7/11 4/25/11
UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 10/22/10 12/3/10 1/7/11 3/18/11
Texas-Austin (McCombs) 11/1/10 1/14/11 4/1/11 NA
Indiana (Kelley) 11/1/10 1/5/11 3/1/11 4/15/11
Emory (Goizueta) 11/1/10 12/1/10 2/1/11 3/1/11
Brigham Young (Marriott) 12/1/10 1/15/11 3/1/11 5/1/11
USC (Marshall) 11/1/10 1/15/11 3/15/11 NA
Georgetown (McDonough) 11/1/10 1/1/11 4/1/11 NA
Notre Dame (Mendoza) 9/13/10 11/1/10 1/10/11 3/21/11
Washington U. (Olin) 10/15/10 1/3/11 3/15/11 4/1/11
London Business School 10/7/10 1/6/11 3/3/11 4/21/11
IESE (Barcelona) 10/25/10 12/7/10 1/17/11 2/28/11*
IMD (Switzerland) 2/1/11 4/1/11 6/1/11 8/1/11*
IE Business School (Spain) Rolling NA NA NA
INSEAD (France) 9/29/10 12/1/10 3/9/11 NA
Cambridge (U.K.) 10/4/10 12/6/10 1/10/11 3/14/11*