Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Navy Vet
GRE 310, GPA 2.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Pizza For Breakfast
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Behavioral Changes
GRE 336, GPA 5.8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
London Business School | Mr. Indian Banking Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.32
Columbia | Mr. Infra-Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.68
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Performer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Darden | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE Not taken yet, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Ms. Retail To Technology
GMAT 670, GPA 3.8
Ross | Mr. Top 25 Hopeful
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Qualcomm Quality
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Hotel Real Estate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. EduTech
GRE 337, GPA 3.9
Yale | Mr. Gay Social Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 2.75 undergrad, 3.8 in MS
MIT Sloan | Mrs. Company Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Cross-Border
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Career Change
GMAT Have yet to take. Consistent 705 on practice tests., GPA 3.5
HEC Paris | Mr. Introverted Dancer
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. Safety Guy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring FinTech Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Fill In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Texas Recruiter
GMAT 770, GPA 3.04
USC Marshall | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Entertainment Agency
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7

This Week’s Round 2 Deadline Dance

So it has come down to this. After months of introspection, multiple drafts of essays, and dozens upon dozens of prompts to complete on MBA applications, you’re about to push the button and let fate take over. Many of you have labored feverishly over the holidays to put the finishing touches on your apps.

This week more MBA applicants to elite business schools will send their best work into the admissions abyss than any other time of the year. This is the week that round two deadlines at leading schools tumble down like so many dominoes. In round one, Michigan Ross saw a 13% in apps, year over year, while Yale SOM saw its applications rise by 11$. Round 2 typically attracts the most applicants of any round, as many as half the apps a school will receive during its MBA admissions cycle.

On Jan. 2, round two candidates to the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business must have their applications complete and in before noon EST. But the single biggest day of the year for apps will likely be Jan. 4 when eight of the world’s top schools have deadlines, including Harvard, Kellogg, Booth, Tuck, Fuqua, Goizueta, and London Business School. Applicants to Columbia Business School who hope to receive a merit scholarship also must apply by this date.


In most cases, the actual deadlines are at noon in the time zone of the school but readers should check the admission deadlines pages of each school’s website to make absolutely sure. Stanford, for example, has a 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time deadline for your application, letters of recommendation and application fee.

At Harvard, applications will not be read before noon EST on Wednesday. that time. “We never shut down the application system until every application in the process of being submitted has been received,” explains Chad Losee, the managing director of MBA admissions at HBS. “You will receive a confirmation email from our system once it goes through.”

In any case, the deadlines continue. On Jan. 5, another seven leading schools have app deadlines, including Wharton, Haas, Anderson, Kelley, McDonough, Marshall, and IESE Business School in Spain. Then, on Jan. 6, the business schools at Cambridge and Oxford have their so-called “stage 3” deadlines.


More deadlines roll into the following week: On Jan. 9, it’s UVA’s Darden School, Rice University’s Jones School, and SMU’s Cox School. Stanford GSB, Yale SOM, Cornell, UT-Austin, and Notre Dame’s Mendoza School pop up next on Jan. 10. Among the most elite schools, MIT Sloan brings up the round 2 rear with a deadline date of Jan. 17th.

Most applicants have nearly a three-month wait to hear back from schools, though a few MBA programs with rolling admissions could get word out earlier. At this late stage, the only thing you might be able to do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

But admission consultants say there are probably a couple of last-minute things you should do before you finally hit the button to send your app into the hands of admission officials.


First off, look over your application and make sure you answered the questions asked. “A lot of applicants think they are answering the question but sometimes people go a little bit astray,” says Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions. She notes that a number of people are doing cutting-and-pasting among their apps and it’s no uncommon for candidates to take a detour from the actual school prompt. “The trick to do this is have somebody else read your essay without knowing what the question is,” advises Massar.

She also counsels applicants to make sure that at least one or two other people have read your application to check possible errors before you send it off. But don’t make it a party. “There is nothing worse than an application by committee,” she adds. “If you have six people reading it, you will get six different opinions. The maximum number of people to read your application is two. A sibling or a peer are the best people to read your applications, someone who wants the best for you and can be candid.”

And, finally, if you still have a few days free, you might consider tossing in one more application for a school with a latter deadline, say next week. Truth is, you’ve already done the hardest work, from taking the GMAT to the kind of introspection to allow you to write a compelling essay. So why not give yourself another shot at a school you would like to attend?


(See our full listing of round 2 deadlines on the next page)

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.