Chicago Booth | Mr. Desi Boy
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Stylist & Actor
GMAT 760 , GPA 9.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB Advanced Analytics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
Columbia | Mr. Ambitious Chemical Salesman
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Tepper | Ms. Coding Tech Leader
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Wharton | Mr. Rates Trader
GMAT 750, GPA 7.6/10
McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
Harvard | Mr. Irish Biotech Entrepreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Cricketer Turned Engineer
GMAT 770, GPA 7.15/10
Wharton | Mr. Planes And Laws
GRE 328, GPA 3.8
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Refrad
GMAT 700, GPA 3.94
Harvard | Mr. Supply Chain Photographer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Banker To CPG Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 7.36/10
Chicago Booth | Mr. Space Launch
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Ms. Product Strategist
GMAT 700, GPA 7.3/10
Columbia | Mr. MBB Consultant
GRE 339, GPA 8.28
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Avocado Farmer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.08
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Development Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.9
Columbia | Mr. Wannabe Grad
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
Ross | Mr. Leading-Edge Family Business
GMAT 740, GPA 2.89
Kellogg | Ms. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Captain Engineer
GMAT 700, GPA 2.96
Harvard | Ms. Big 4 M&A Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 2:1 (Upper second-class honours, UK)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Treasury Dealer
GMAT 770, GPA 3
Wharton | Mr. Firmware Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.04 (scale of 10)
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52

Should You Apply To Business School In the First Round?

mba application first second round

The early rounds will be here before you know it –Harvard’s deadline is September 6th, with many other schools due shortly thereafter. Every year I am asked whether or not it’s strategic to apply to business school in the first round. In the vast majority of cases, the answer is clearly yes.

Are your grades or test scores below average? If so, and if your tests scores are as high as they are going to get, you should definitely apply early. Schools have more flexibility early on, and can absorb some lower numbers. As the class solidifies they may not be able to do so, even if you are a compelling candidate in other ways.

Interested in scholarships? There is only so much money to go around, and although it is still possible to receive scholarships later on you have a better shot if you apply early. The longer you wait the more seats in the class are filled and the more scholarship funding has been committed to other people.

Ready to commit to your first choice school? One of the best ways to increase your odds of admission is to apply early decision. Not all schools offer this option, which allows schools to maximize yield and binds you to attending if you get in. However, if you have your heart set on one of the programs that offers this option, like Duke or Columbia, you should absolutely apply early decision.

Want the opportunity to try again this year? Let’s say the worst happens, and you aren’t successful in the early rounds. (Or that you shoot for the early rounds but are delayed and unable to submit your materials.) In either scenario, targeting the first round means that can try again in November or January, increasing the odds of success.

Unless your applications are simply not ready, there is no advantage to waiting for a later round. Seats in the class fill, scholarship dollars are allotted, and it becomes increasingly hard to succeed if you have lower numbers. Start now, commit to an aggressive application timeline, and you could have great news by December.


Karen Marks has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, MIT, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, Booth, NYU, Ross, UVA, Haas and more. Clients have been awarded more than $10.2 million in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into at least one of their top-choice schools.

Don’t Miss:  2017-2018 MBA Application Deadlines