So it has come down to this. After months of introspection, multiple drafts of essays, and dozens upon dozens of prompts to complete on MBA applications, you’re about to push the button and let fate take over. Many of you have labored feverishly over the holidays to put the finishing touches on your apps.
This week more MBA applicants to elite business schools will send their best work into the admissions abyss than any other time of the year. This is the week that round two deadlines at leading schools tumble down like so many dominoes. In round one, Michigan Ross saw a 13% in apps, year over year, while Yale SOM saw its applications rise by 11$. Round 2 typically attracts the most applicants of any round, as many as half the apps a school will receive during its MBA admissions cycle.
On Jan. 2, round two candidates to the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business must have their applications complete and in before noon EST. But the single biggest day of the year for apps will likely be Jan. 4 when eight of the world’s top schools have deadlines, including Harvard, Kellogg, Booth, Tuck, Fuqua, Goizueta, and London Business School. Applicants to Columbia Business School who hope to receive a merit scholarship also must apply by this date.
HBS WON’T SHUT DOWN ITS SYSTEM UNTIL EVERY APP COMES THROUGH
In most cases, the actual deadlines are at noon in the time zone of the school but readers should check the admission deadlines pages of each school’s website to make absolutely sure. Stanford, for example, has a 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time deadline for your application, letters of recommendation and application fee.
At Harvard, applications will not be read before noon EST on Wednesday. that time. “We never shut down the application system until every application in the process of being submitted has been received,” explains Chad Losee, the managing director of MBA admissions at HBS. “You will receive a confirmation email from our system once it goes through.”
In any case, the deadlines continue. On Jan. 5, another seven leading schools have app deadlines, including Wharton, Haas, Anderson, Kelley, McDonough, Marshall, and IESE Business School in Spain. Then, on Jan. 6, the business schools at Cambridge and Oxford have their so-called “stage 3” deadlines.
SOME ROUND TWO DEADLINES ROLL INTO THE FOLLOWING WEEK INCLUDING STANFORD GSB
More deadlines roll into the following week: On Jan. 9, it’s UVA’s Darden School, Rice University’s Jones School, and SMU’s Cox School. Stanford GSB, Yale SOM, Cornell, UT-Austin, and Notre Dame’s Mendoza School pop up next on Jan. 10. Among the most elite schools, MIT Sloan brings up the round 2 rear with a deadline date of Jan. 17th.
Most applicants have nearly a three-month wait to hear back from schools, though a few MBA programs with rolling admissions could get word out earlier. At this late stage, the only thing you might be able to do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.
But admission consultants say there are probably a couple of last-minute things you should do before you finally hit the button to send your app into the hands of admission officials.
A FEW LAST-MINUTE THINGS FOR YOU TO DO
First off, look over your application and make sure you answered the questions asked. “A lot of applicants think they are answering the question but sometimes people go a little bit astray,” says Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions. She notes that a number of people are doing cutting-and-pasting among their apps and it’s no uncommon for candidates to take a detour from the actual school prompt. “The trick to do this is have somebody else read your essay without knowing what the question is,” advises Massar.
She also counsels applicants to make sure that at least one or two other people have read your application to check possible errors before you send it off. But don’t make it a party. “There is nothing worse than an application by committee,” she adds. “If you have six people reading it, you will get six different opinions. The maximum number of people to read your application is two. A sibling or a peer are the best people to read your applications, someone who wants the best for you and can be candid.”
And, finally, if you still have a few days free, you might consider tossing in one more application for a school with a latter deadline, say next week. Truth is, you’ve already done the hardest work, from taking the GMAT to the kind of introspection to allow you to write a compelling essay. So why not give yourself another shot at a school you would like to attend?
(See our full listing of round 2 deadlines on the next page)