Through this video, you can learn how to effectively manage the timelines during the MBA Applications process. The guidance you will receive by watching this video will enable you to maximize productivity during the MBA Applications process.

Managing MBA Application Timelines

In the digital age, applying for college is easier than ever. From your own home, you can instantly include your name in the running for any educational institute around the globe. That having been said, the actual process can still be a labyrinthine nightmare, for, forget navigating it, just figuring out where to enter the labyrinth can be a grueling task. I am speaking, of course, about MBA application timelines. Different institutes in different parts of the world have multiple intake cycles, at different times. Thus, you need to decide which intake cycle will be best for you to apply to and get the various requirements in order accordingly. To help make sense of this, we will take a look at what the typical intake and selection schedules are for top MBA courses and the best way to schedule your application process around them.

Most schools will have one out of two major intake seasons - fall and spring. The fall intake starts in August or September and is used by 90% of the world’s top 100 business schools. The spring intake starts sometime between January and March and is used by 15% of the world’s top 100 schools. As you can probably tell from those numbers, five percent have both fall and spring intakes. Five percent of the top 100 programs also have a summer intake but this is limited mainly to Asian institutes like ISB. Most schools have two to four cycles per season. For the fall intake, round one of the cycle lasts from September to December, with a high concentration in October, round two lasts from December to February, with a high concentration in January, and round three lasts from February to May with a high concentration in March. The spring intake also similarly has three rounds, round one lasts from March to May, round two from June to August and round three from September to October, with high concentrations in March, July, and September respectively.

Aside from these three rounds, some schools like Columbia have a pre-round one cycle called an Early Decision Round. These rounds begin and are completed before the first official round of the season. These rounds are advantageous in certain respects as the students who apply in them get ahead of the normal crowd. However, these rounds are binding; when applying you have to agree to attend that university if chosen and forsake any other applications you have made. Thus, you should only apply to an early admission cycle if it is for your first choice of institute.

While sounding simple on the face of it, the truth is that there are numerous nuances and hidden facets of the application process that cause hopeful applicants to make a host of common errors. The most fundamental mistake typically made is, planning over-optimistically. The process is highly subjective and can often take much longer than planned. Another mistake is, to split applications up amongst rounds. It is much better to send out applications for all the schools (that have their intake at that time) at once so that you will get all the results and calls for interviews at the same time. This way, you can compare all the admits to each other and make an informed choice. Also, do not submit any application as a test. If you are sending an application, do so with the idea of getting admittance. Some students will compromise on their GMAT scores or their essays to apply early but this is a particularly bad practice. Early admission can provide a bit of a leg up but it is not worth hamstringing yourself with a lower GMAT than you could have gotten by preparing more or rushing your essays.

The last mistake is a bit more esoteric but important to consider nonetheless. It is a mistake of attitude. Most applicants go into this process as an obstacle to overcome so they can get to their prize. Instead, they should see this as an experience. This is an opportunity to sit down and take stock of your entire career - educational and professional. You should take this opportunity to take stock of everything you have done and your future ambitions. This level of introspection is not something that can be done on a whim. Now that we have covered the mistakes, let us take a look at the proper scheduling plans. In general, the earlier you apply, the better. For each intake, there is a more preferable option (Plan A) and a fall-back option (Plan B).

For the fall intake:
Plan A -
  1. Finish GMAT before 15th August
  2. Applications in Round 1 (October-November)
  3. Interviews in November
  4. Results in December

Plan B -
  1. Finish GMAT before 30th November
  2. Applications in Round 2 (January)
  3. Interviews in February
  4. Results in March

For the spring intake:
Plan A -
  1. Finish GMAT by the end of February
  2. Applications for Round 1 (April-May)
  3. Interviews in May-June
  4. Results in June

Plan B-
  1. Finish GMAT by 15th May
  2. Applications in Round 2 (June –July)
  3. Interviews in July
  4. Results in August
You may have noticed that there is no Plan C to deal with third round applications. That is because third round applications are severely disadvantageous to international candidates. Your chances of getting an admit are quite low if you leave it till the third round. The lack of Plan C is to stress upon you the importance of avoiding the third round and applying as early as possible.