2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines

deadline clock

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

 

SchoolFirst Application DeadlineAdmission Decision
HEC ParisAug. 15, 2015 (Round One)*Sept. 25, 2015
Harvard Business School   Sept. 9, 2015Dec. 10, 2015
Oxford (Said)Sept. 11, 2015 (Stage One)Oct. 16, 2015
Duke (Fuqua)Sept. 15, 2015 (Early Action)Oct. 26, 2015
HEC ParisSept. 15, 2015 (Round Two)*Oct. 16, 2015
Yale School of ManagementSept. 16, 2015Dec. 7, 2015
INSEADSept. 16, 2015*Nov. 27, 2015
Chicago (Booth)Sept. 17, 2015Dec. 10, 2015
MIT (Sloan)Sept. 17, 2015Dec. 16, 2015
Cambridge (Judge)Sept. 18, 2015Late October, 2015
Stanford Graduate School of Business Sept. 22, 2015Dec. 9, 2015
Northwestern (Kellogg)Sept. 22, 2015Dec. 16, 2015
London Business SchoolSept. 25, 2015Dec. 2, 2015
Notre Dame (Mendoza)Sept. 28, 2015 (Early Decision)Nov. 6, 2015
Pennsylvania (Wharton)Sept. 29, 2015Dec. 17, 2015
UC-Berkeley (Haas)Oct. 1, 2015Dec. 17, 2015
Cornell (Johnson)Oct. 1, 2015Dec. 15, 2015
Emory (Goizueta)Oct. 1, 2015Dec. 17, 2015
Georgetown (McDonough)Oct. 1, 2015Dec. 15, 2015
Penn State (Smeal)Oct. 1, 2015 (Early Decision)Dec. 1, 2015
Pittsburgh (Katz)Oct. 1, 2015Dec. 15, 2015
Michigan State (Broad)Oct. 4, 2015 (Early Round)Nov. 15, 2015
Michigan (Ross)Oct. 5, 2015Dec. 18, 2015
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)Oct. 5, 2015Dec. 18, 2015
UCLA (Anderson)Oct. 6, 2015Dec. 15, 2015
Dartmouth (Tuck)Oct. 7, 2015 (Early Action)Dec. 17, 2015
Columbia Business SchoolOct. 7, 2015 (Early Decision)Rolling decisions
Columbia Business SchoolOct. 7, 2015 (January ’16 Option)Rolling decisions
Virginia (Darden)Oct. 8, 2015Dec. 16, 2015
Texas-Austin (McCombs)Oct. 13, 2015Dec. 17
INSEADOct. 14, 2015*Dec. 18, 2015
Duke (Fuqua)Oct. 14, 2015 (First Round)Dec. 17, 2015
New York (Stern)Oct. 15, 2015Dec. 15, 2015
Indiana (Kelley)Oct. 15, 2015Late December
University of Washington (Foster)Oct. 15, 2015Dec. 15, 2015
HEC ParisOct. 15, 2015 (Round Three)*Nov. 20, 2015
Rochester (Simon)Oct. 15, 2015Dec. 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, 2015Dec. 11, 2015
Oxford (Said)Oct. 30, 2015 (Stage Two)Dec. 11, 2015
Minnesota (Carlson)Nov. 1, 2015Jan. 15, 2016
Michigan State (Broad)Nov. 1, 2015 (Round One)Dec. 14, 2015
Notre Dame (Mendoza)Nov. 2, 2015 (Round One))Dec. 18, 2015
WisconsinNov. 2, 2015Dec. 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, 2015Jan. 15, 2016
HEC ParisNov. 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, 2015Feb. 15, 2016
North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)Dec. 4, 2015 (Round Two)Feb. 1, 2016
HEC ParisDec. 15, 2015 (Round Five)*Jan. 8, 2016

Source: Business school websites * For September of 2016 intake