Those first round deadlines for MBA applications are getting earlier.
Though Harvard Business School kept its deadline the same of the 2015-2016 admissions cycle, rivals Stanford Graduate School of Business, MIT Sloan, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School have all moved up their early deadlines this year for candidates who want to get into those prestige MBA programs.
Typically, it takes two to three months to hear back from a school with the verdict on your application. Despite the early Sept. 9 deadline at HBS, the school says candidates won’t get a decision until three full months later on Dec. 10. Stanford will notify applicants in its first round on the same date as HBS but you don’t have to apply to the school until Oct. 1, three weeks after the Harvard application deadline.
Most schools have three application deadlines, but that’s not always the case. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School has four rounds, starting with an early action date of Oct. 7–a day earlier than last year–and an April round or final deadline of April 4–three days later than last cycle. So does Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, with an early action deadline of Sept. 15. Emory University’s Goizueta School also boasts four deadlines, starting with a first round finish of Oct. 1 and shutting it down on March 11th. And a few schools, including Washington University’s Olin School and Cambridge’s Judge School of Business, boast five deadlines.
The top school with the most deadlines? HEC Paris, which has 11 separate deadlines for its September, 2016, intake. The admissions cycle at the French school starts on August 15, 2015, with notifications on Sept. 25, around when many schools have their first round deadlines, and doesn’t end until June 1, three months before students report for class.
Columbia Business School is different from most of its peer schools in having a rolling decisions schedule with an early decision deadline of Oct. 7–also a day earlier than last year–where applicants have to agree that once accepted they will attend Columbia and withdraw their applications from other schools. The final deadline at Columbia is April 13–two days earlier than the last application cycle.
APPLY AS EARLY AS YOU CAN BUT NOT UNTIL YOUR HAVE DONE THE BEST JOB POSSIBLE
This year, several schools added deadline rounds, including MIT Sloan, which went to three rounds from two, and INSEAD, which went to four rounds from three. INSEAD said it made the change “to allow us to better manage the influx of incoming applications and to provide additional flexibility to our applicants.” NYU’s Stern School also has four rounds, or deadlines.
The general advice: Apply in the first round when none of the seats in the class are filled. At most schools, early applicants have an advantage over those that complete their applications in later rounds. There are some other reasons why you want to get your app in early:
- The ability to receive a scholarship award from the school’s Financial Aid Office prior to the date by which you must respond to your offer of admission.
- Ample time to complete recommended quantitative and/or language coursework prior to arrival on campus.
- Access to on-campus housing lottery systems at some schools.
- Sufficient time to complete the visa application process for international candidates.
- Attendance at a school’s Admit Weekends. Sometimes, round three candidates lose out on this opportunity.
All that said, the best time to apply is when you believe you’ve done the best job possible with your application. If you have to rush and cut corners to make round one, don’t. Hold off until another round. At all the highly selective business schools, admissions officials are looking for reasons to cut you from the pool. After all, the odds are substantially against you and as many as 80% of the candidates in any school’s applicant pool are usually fully qualified to attend. So you want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward when you do apply.
The application process at most schools has a few twists and turns. At Wharton, for example, all the round deadlines have what the school calls “invitation to interview release” dates. Translation: If you don’t get an interview, you’ll hear that you’ve been dinged earlier than the regular notification date. For round one applicants, Wharton will let you know that you failed to advance to its interview round by Nov. 3. Final decisions on round one candidates occur on Dec. 17th. (That’s why it is always a good idea to check a school’s website to verify those kinds of details). If you’re applying to Wharton’s Lauder program, you should know that round three applications are not accepted. You have to apply to the school in only the first or second rounds on Sept. 29 or Jan. 5, respectively.
And if you want to get a scholarship, it’s always a good idea to apply early. At Columbia Business School, which has a final deadline of April 13th, 2016, applicants who want a merit fellowship must meet a Jan. 6 deadline.
We’ll update this list continuously as more schools provide info on their new deadlines.
EARLIEST APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR 2015-2016 AT TOP SCHOOLS
|School||First Application Deadline||Admission Decision|
|HEC Paris||Aug. 15, 2015 (Round One)*||Sept. 25, 2015|
|Harvard Business School||Sept. 9, 2015||Dec. 10, 2015|
|Oxford (Said)||Sept. 11, 2015 (Stage One)||Oct. 16, 2015|
|Duke (Fuqua)||Sept. 15, 2015 (Early Action)||Oct. 26, 2015|
|HEC Paris||Sept. 15, 2015 (Round Two)*||Oct. 16, 2015|
|Yale School of Management||Sept. 16, 2015||Dec. 7, 2015|
|INSEAD||Sept. 16, 2015*||Nov. 27, 2015|
|Chicago (Booth)||Sept. 17, 2015||Dec. 10, 2015|
|MIT (Sloan)||Sept. 17, 2015||Dec. 16, 2015|
|Cambridge (Judge)||Sept. 18, 2015||Late October, 2015|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||Sept. 22, 2015||Dec. 9, 2015|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||Sept. 22, 2015||Dec. 16, 2015|
|London Business School||Sept. 25, 2015||Dec. 2, 2015|
|Notre Dame (Mendoza)||Sept. 28, 2015 (Early Decision)||Nov. 6, 2015|
|Pennsylvania (Wharton)||Sept. 29, 2015||Dec. 17, 2015|
|UC-Berkeley (Haas)||Oct. 1, 2015||Dec. 17, 2015|
|Cornell (Johnson)||Oct. 1, 2015||Dec. 15, 2015|
|Emory (Goizueta)||Oct. 1, 2015||Dec. 17, 2015|
|Georgetown (McDonough)||Oct. 1, 2015||Dec. 15, 2015|
|Penn State (Smeal)||Oct. 1, 2015 (Early Decision)||Dec. 1, 2015|
|Pittsburgh (Katz)||Oct. 1, 2015||Dec. 15, 2015|
|Michigan State (Broad)||Oct. 4, 2015 (Early Round)||Nov. 15, 2015|
|Michigan (Ross)||Oct. 5, 2015||Dec. 18, 2015|
|Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)||Oct. 5, 2015||Dec. 18, 2015|
|UCLA (Anderson)||Oct. 6, 2015||Dec. 15, 2015|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||Oct. 7, 2015 (Early Action)||Dec. 17, 2015|
|Columbia Business School||Oct. 7, 2015 (Early Decision)||Rolling decisions|
|Columbia Business School||Oct. 7, 2015 (January ’16 Option)||Rolling decisions|
|Virginia (Darden)||Oct. 8, 2015||Dec. 16, 2015|
|Texas-Austin (McCombs)||Oct. 13, 2015||Dec. 17|
|INSEAD||Oct. 14, 2015*||Dec. 18, 2015|
|Duke (Fuqua)||Oct. 14, 2015 (First Round)||Dec. 17, 2015|
|New York (Stern)||Oct. 15, 2015||Dec. 15, 2015|
|Indiana (Kelley)||Oct. 15, 2015||Late December|
|University of Washington (Foster)||Oct. 15, 2015||Dec. 15, 2015|
|HEC Paris||Oct. 15, 2015 (Round Three)*||Nov. 20, 2015|
|Rochester (Simon)||Oct. 15, 2015||Dec. 15, 2015|
|North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)||Oct. 16, 2015 (Early Action)||Dec. 14, 2015|
|Cambridge (Judge)||Oct. 23, 2015 (Round Two)||Late November, 2015|
|Vanderbilt (Owen)||Oct. 27, 2015||Dec. 11, 2015|
|Oxford (Said)||Oct. 30, 2015 (Stage Two)||Dec. 11, 2015|
|Minnesota (Carlson)||Nov. 1, 2015||Jan. 15, 2016|
|Michigan State (Broad)||Nov. 1, 2015 (Round One)||Dec. 14, 2015|
|Notre Dame (Mendoza)||Nov. 2, 2015 (Round One))||Dec. 18, 2015|
|Wisconsin||Nov. 2, 2015||Dec. 9, 2015|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||Nov. 4, 2015 (November Round)||Feb. 12, 2016|
|Emory (Goizueta)||Nov. 13, 2015 (Round Two)||Jan. 28, 2016|
|New York (Stern)||Nov. 15, 2015 (Second Deadline)||Feb. 15, 2015|
|University of Washington (Foster)||Nov. 15, 2015||Jan. 15, 2016|
|HEC Paris||Nov. 15, 2015 (Round Four)*||Dec. 18, 2015|
|Rochester (Simon)||Nov. 15, 2015 (Round Two)||Jan. 15, 2016|
|Cornell (Johnson)||Nov. 17, 2015 (Round Two)||Feb. 15, 2016|
|Minnesota (Carlson)||Dec. 1, 2015 (Round Two)||Feb. 15, 2016|
|Penn State (Smeal)||Dec. 1, 2015 (Round One)||Feb. 1, 2016|
|Pittsburgh (Katz)||Dec. 1, 2015||Feb. 15, 2016|
|North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)||Dec. 4, 2015 (Round Two)||Feb. 1, 2016|
|HEC Paris||Dec. 15, 2015 (Round Five)*||Jan. 8, 2016|
Source: Business school websites * For September of 2016 intake