On your marks! Get set. Go!
It’s already that time of the year again when the leading business schools are setting their new deadlines for MBA applications for the upcoming 2016-2017 admissions season. While there are still plenty of schools that have yet to announce new deadline dates (we’ll be updating this list on a daily basis as they come in), enough of the most highly selective schools have weighed in to keep track of the new dates.
Not surprising, perhaps, the early bird deadlines are earlier than ever–yet again. The round one deadline at Harvard Business School, for example, is now Sept. 7, the earliest deadline ever and two days earlier than last year’s cutoff date, as well as well before the Sept. 21st round one deadline at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Yale’s School of Management inched up its first deadline by two days as well to Sept. 14th. Last year, Stanford, MIT Sloan, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School all moved up their early deadlines 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. 7 deadline at HBS, the school says candidates won’t get a decision until three full months later on Dec. 14. Stanford will notify applicants in its first round sometime in December (the GSB isn’t any more precise than that).
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. 5–two days earlier than last year–and an April round or final deadline of April 4–exactly the same as last year’s date. Emory University’s Goizueta School, which has both a one-year MBA program and a two-year program, also boasts four deadlines, starting with a first round finish of Oct. 14. It’s round two deadline comes up early after that on No. 22, while its round 3 deadline is set for Jan. 4. Notification dates get a bit tricky as some schools, including Goizueta. If you apply in the third round, for example, you will get a decision on March 3 if you are a domestic applicant or a one-year international applicant. If you apply to Emory’s two-year program as an international candidate to that round, you won’t hear from the school until a week later on March 10. The fourth and final deadline is March 10, a day earlier than last year. For one-year applicants, there is a rolling admissions process at this point, but two-year candidates will have their decision day on April 28.
Columbia Business School is different from most of its peer schools in having a rolling decisions schedule with an early decision deadline of Oct. 5 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 around April 12, a day earlier than last year. But if you want to be eligible for a merit fellowship deadline at Columbia, you need to apply no later than Jan. 4 of 2017. There’s still another wrinkle here: Columbia also offers a January entry, an option taken up by about 30% of its full-time MBA students. The deadline for its January 2017 intake is Oct. 5 of 2016.
These twists and turns in MBA application deadlines at schools make it important to follow the school links in our table to confirm the actual dates for the program you want to attend. At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, round one applicants also must schedule their admissions interview two days after the first round deadline of Sept. 21. Kellogg is one of the few schools that attempts to interview every candidate. Most other schools invite candidates to interviews after reviewing their applications.
APPLY AS EARLY AS YOU CAN BUT NOT UNTIL YOU HAVE DONE THE BEST JOB POSSIBLE
No matter what you do, there’s some helpful general advice: If you can, 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.
We’ll update this list continuously as more schools provide info on their new deadlines. If a school has released its essays for the 2016-2017 admissions season, you can access them by clicking on the “Yes” in the table below.
EARLIEST DEADLINES AT TOP U.S. SCHOOLS
|Harvard Business School||Sept. 7, 2016||Dec. 14, 2016||Yes|
|Cambridge (Judge)||Sept. 9, 2016 (Stage 1)||Oct. 24, 2016 (Interview Date)||Yes|
|Oxford (Said)||Sept. 9, 2016||Oct. 14, 2016||Yes|
|Duke (Fuqua)||Sept. 13, 2016 (Early Action)||Oct. 20, 2016||Yes|
|Yale SOM||Sept. 14, 2016||Dec. 6, 2016||Yes|
|MIT (Sloan)||Sept. 15, 2016||Dec. 19, 2016||Yes|
|Cornell (Johnson)||Sept. 15, 2016 (One-Year MBA Early Action)||Oct. 10, 2016 (Initial Notification/Rolling Admissions)||Yes|
|Stanford GSB||Sept. 21, 2016||Dec. 15, 2016||Yes|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||Sept. 21, 2016||December 14, 2016||Yes|
|London Business School||Sept. 21, 2016||November 13, 2016||Yes|
|INSEAD||Sept. 21, 2016 (Sept. ’17 Intake)||Nov. 25, 2016||Yes|
|Chicago (Booth)||Sept. 22, 2016||Dec. 8, 2016||Yes|
|Pennsylvania (Wharton)||Sept. 27, 2016||Dec. 15, 2016||Yes|
|Notre Dame (Mendoza)||Sept. 27, 2016 (Early Decision)||Nov. 11, 2016||Yes|
|UC-Berkeley (Haas)||Sept. 29, 2016||Dec. 15, 2016||Yes|
|Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)||Oct. 2, 2016||Dec. 14, 2016||Yes|
|Michigan (Ross)||Oct. 3, 2016||Dec. 16, 2016||Yes|
|IESE Business School||Oct. 4, 2016||Nov. 25, 2016||Yes|
|Virginia (Darden)||Oct. 4, 2016||Dec. 13, 2016||Yes|
|Columbia Business School||Oct. 5, 2016 (Early Decision & Jan. ’17)||Rolling Admissions||Yes|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||Oct. 5, 2016 (Early Action)||Dec. 16, 2016||Yes|
|Cornell (Johnson)||Oct. 5, 2016||Nov. 15, 2016 (Initial Notification/Rolling Admissions)||Yes|
|Rice (Jones)||Oct. 5, 2016||Dec. 15, 2016||Yes|
|Washington University (Olin)||Oct. 5, 2016||Dec. 16, 2016 (On or before this date)||Yes|
|UCLA (Anderson)||Oct. 6, 2016||Dec. 15, 2016||Yes|
|Georgetown (McDonough)<||Oct. 10, 2016||Dec. 20, 2016||Yes|
|Texas-Austin (McCombs)||Oct. 11, 2016||Dec. 20, 2016||Yes|
|Duke (Fuqua)||Oct. 13, 2016 (Round 1)||Dec. 16, 2016||Yes|
|UNC (Kenan-Flagler)||Oct. 14, 2016||Dec. 12, 2016||Yes|
|Emory (Goizueta)||Oct. 14, 2016||Dec. 1, 2016||Yes|
|NYU (Stern)||Oct. 15, 2016||Dec. 15, 2016||Yes|
|Indiana (Kelley)||Oct. 15, 2016 (Early Round)||Dec. 20, 2016||Yes|
|Univ. of Washington (Foster)||Oct. 15, 2016||Dec. 15, 2016||Yes|
|USC (Marshall)||Oct. 15, 2016||Dec. 31, 2016||Yes|
|Indian School of Business||Oct. 15, 2016||Dec. 5, 2016||Yes|
|Southern Methodist (Cox)||Oct. 17, 2016||Rolling Admissions||Yes|
|Cambridge (Judge)||Oct. 21, 2016 (Round 2)||Dec. 5, 2016 (Interview Date)||Yes|
|Vanderbilt (Owen)||Oct. 24, 2016||Dec. 9, 2016||Yes|
|Oxford (Said)||Oct. 28, 2016 (Stage 2)||Dec. 9, 2016||Yes|
|Babson College (Olin)||Oct. 31, 2016||Dec. 16, 2016||Yes|
|Notre Dame (Mendoza)||Nov. 1, 2016 (Round 1)||Dec. 16, 2016||Yes|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||Nov. 2, 2016 (November Round)||Feb. 10, 2017||Yes|
Source: Business school websites * For September of 2016 intake