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.

SchoolRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4
Harvard Business School10/1/101/11/113/31/11NA
Stanford Business School10/6/101/6/114/6/11NA
Chicago (Booth)10/13/101/5/114/13/11NA
Pennsylvania (Wharton)10/4/101/4/113/3/11NA
Dartmouth (Tuck)10/13/1011/10/101/3/114/1/11
Columbia Business School10/6/104/13/11NANA
Northwestern (Kellogg)10/14/101/11/114/7/11NA
MIT (Sloan)10/26/101/4/11NANA
California-Berkeley (Haas)10/13/1012/2/101/20/113/16/11
NYU (Stern)11/15/101/15/113/15/11NA
Duke (Fuqua)9/30/1011/1/101/4/113/8/11
Michigan (Ross)10/11/101/5/113/1/11NA
Virginia (Darden)10/14/101/5/113/30/11NA
Cornell (Johnson)10/5/1011/9/101/4/113/22/11
Yale School of Mgt.10/7/101/6/113/17/11NA
UCLA (Anderson)10/20/101/5/114/13/11NA
Carnegie-Mellon (Tepper)10/25/101/3/113/7/114/25/11
UNC (Kenan-Flagler)10/22/1012/3/101/7/113/18/11
Texas-Austin (McCombs)11/1/101/14/114/1/11NA
Indiana (Kelley)11/1/101/5/113/1/114/15/11
Emory (Goizueta)11/1/1012/1/102/1/113/1/11
Brigham Young (Marriott)12/1/101/15/113/1/115/1/11
USC (Marshall)11/1/101/15/113/15/11NA
Georgetown (McDonough)11/1/101/1/114/1/11NA
Notre Dame (Mendoza)9/13/1011/1/101/10/113/21/11
Washington U. (Olin)10/15/101/3/113/15/114/1/11
London Business School10/7/101/6/113/3/114/21/11
IESE (Barcelona)10/25/1012/7/101/17/112/28/11*
IMD (Switzerland)2/1/114/1/116/1/118/1/11*
IE Business School (Spain)RollingNANANA
INSEAD (France)9/29/1012/1/103/9/11NA
Cambridge (U.K.)10/4/1012/6/101/10/113/14/11*