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Round 1 vs Round 2

The short answer is -Apply when you are ready! Here is the long version:

There is no reason whatsoever for submitting a mediocre application. If you have been fine tuning your application for some time now and you feel that sitting on the application is not going to improve the end result then go ahead and apply in the first round. Applying in the first round means, early decisions and you might save some time and money due to an early decision. Not to mention sleepless nights’ that you can avoid if you have early decisions. With an admit in hand, you can change your strategy and aim for your dream schools in later rounds.

 

You should also note that in general, applicants in the first round have a better-prepared application (being the lot which has been serious about MBA to get their application done in the first round) so it might be a bit more competitive lot. Similarly, the admission committee has the luxury of putting you on a waitlist and scouting for better profiles in the later round.

 

On the contrary if you apply to second round and fail to secure an admission in the second round then you might not be left with many options and you might end up waiting for another year.a

 

After the first two rounds are over (different schools have different number of rounds so this is not universally true), then the chances of getting a call are grim especially for international students. By that time, the schools have already filled in majority of the seats and the last few seats will go to those who are really outstanding.

 

When should you delay your application to Round Two?

In general, you should aim to put in your application as early as possible provided you are ready. There are some cases when you can postpone application to the later rounds:

  • You are still building your profile and expect a 'substantial' bump to your profile in coming months. Say may be you are expecting a promotion?
  • You are not confident of the quality of your application and need some more time to prepare the application.

 

In the end remember that admission committee reads hundreds of applications. Your application might be of the 50th applicant, which an admission committee member is reading:

  • Who has done his engineering from IIT, India and then worked as an IT engineer at IBM
  • Who graduated from a second rung university on the West Coast and then worked as a sales manager or an analyst.

 

If there are not much data points to differentiate you, apply in the early rounds! (read: MBA misconceptions)

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