With less than a month to go before we start hitting Round 1 MBA deadlines, a lot of applicants are wondering whether it makes any sense to begin an app for the upcoming round. If you happen to be one of them, here are four major questions for you to consider:
1. Do you have the necessary time?
To answer this, you’ll first need to understand what is the likely minimum amount of time you’ll need to build an application. A series of surveys we ran over the years put that figure at around 75 hours. Keep in mind, 75 hrs is not the time necessary to make a great application, it’s just the average minimum amount of time it takes a person working alone to build a single app for a competitive MBA in less than a month (when deadlines are further away, people tend to invest more time into their apps). And, if you’re working on multiple schools, that figure could easily be double. So, you need to carefully assess whether you have the required bandwidth in the coming weeks to complete your applications.
2. Is your GMAT/GRE score accounted for?
If you need to take an entrance exam, you’re in a much tougher position when it comes to applying in Round 1. With the time remaining, while it may be possible to work on both the test and the apps, the time pressures you’ll face have a high likelihood to lead to underperformance across all areas. On the other hand, if you’re just retaking the exam in order to try to improve your score and the examination process won’t detract from the time you’ll need to complete your apps, the exam might fit into your admissions strategy. Still, setting a GMAT/GRE retake aside to focus all your energy into the application content is often be more beneficial in a short timeframe.
3. What happens if you delay?
Many aim for Round 1 to take advantage of the better entry odds it offers, but, it’s important to evaluate whether those odds are actually higher in your case. For one, depending on your profile, the difference between applying in R1 and R2 may be rather small. Moreover, delaying to Round 2 may turn out to be advantageous if you can significantly improve your application content, GMAT/GRE score or profile (for instance, by getting a promotion). Understandably, a single round delay might just not be feasible; in fact, in some cases, individuals may end up having to delay by a year or more, which can entail all sorts of additional difficulties and uncertainties. We recommend drafting a table of reasons for and against a delay to have a better sense of your costs and benefits.
4. What if you’re on the border?
If after evaluating all your options, you’re still unsure of how to proceed, you may want to just play it by ear: aim for Round 1 but be ready to push back to Round 2. In either case, all of the work you put into the process won’t be wasted, as the applications won’t change content-wise between the two rounds. Ultimately, the realities of the work required and the time constraints will, as you inch closer to the deadline, naturally dictate whether you’re building out the sort of applications that it makes sense to delay a bit. You’re almost never compelled to commit to something subpar in this process.
Would you like to figure out how to use your time ideally and maximize your entry chances? Connect with our Admissions Experts to learn how we can help you succeed.