Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Insurance
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5 / 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Founder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.12
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Yale | Mr. Yale Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 2.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. MBB Transformation
GMAT 760, GPA 3.46
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. CPG Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tesla Intern
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Supply Chain Data Scientist
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Global Consultant
GMAT 770, GPA 80% (top 10% of class)
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Digital Indonesia
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBT Social Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.79
Stanford GSB | Mr. Oilfield Trekker
GMAT 720, GPA 7.99/10
Kellogg | Mr. Big 4 Financial Consultant
GMAT 740, GPA 3.94
Stanford GSB | Mr. Mountaineer
GRE 327, GPA 2.96
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95

Second Biggest MBA Application Mistake

Jyll Saskin graduated from the Harvard Business School

Jyll Saskin graduated from the Harvard Business School

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re on Tinder. You spot someone cute and swipe right. A few hours later, you’re notified that s/he swiped right, too. Win! This cute stranger invites you to meet up… on Saturday night at 11 p.m.

Now, I’ve been out of the dating scene for a while, but I recall that a date at 11 p.m.on a Saturday can mean only one thing… and it’s not that s/he’s looking for scintillating conversation. No, you’re a last-resort date; the one this idiot will go out with should his/her Saturday 8 p.m. date not turn out well. No one wants to be the 11 p.m. backup date.

Similarly, business schools don’t want to be your backup school. They want to be your first choice school, the one you’re so excited to attend that you can hardly wait to submit your application. Sure, in your essay, you’ll write about how great the professors, curriculum, and alumni are at that specific school, but to admissions officers, actions speak louder than words. They want to be your main squeeze. (Okay, I’ll put the dating analogies to rest).

The surest way to demonstrate your serious intent is to apply in Round 1. It signals that you have the initiative and foresight to plan in advance, and that attending that school is a priority for you. By contrast, applying in Round 2 – or worse, Round 3 – signals very different things. It could mean you didn’t get your act together in time to apply for Round 1, or it could mean you got rejected from your “top choice” schools in Round 1.

Either way, it doesn’t mean anything attractive to the admissions committee, even if you do have benign reasons for waiting until Round 2. Now, I know that plenty of people get accepted in Round 2 and 3. That’s why they exist! But, if you’d like to maximizeyour chances of admission (and honestly, isn’t that why you’re reading this?), apply in Round 1.

Jyll Saskin is a graduate of the MBA Class of 2013 at Harvard Business School. She works as a Manager at Scratch, a division of Viacom, in New York. She also helps clients apply to top business school programs via missionaccepted.com

This article is part of a series on the five most common mistakes MBA applicants make. The first part ran last week:

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.