Is Round 2 Success Impossible, Or Is Competition Too Keen?

Posted By SWatts on Dec 22, 2013 |

From The Staff of MBA

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Is Round 2 Success Impossible, Or Is Competition Too Keen?

Every year, qualified MBA aspirants approach me unsure about whether or not to apply in Round 2. They are concerned for many different reasons. First, by Round 2, MBA programs will have already offered admission to some Round 1 applicants. Thus, there will be a fewer number of seats for which to compete in Round 2. Second, in Round 2, the number of MBA candidates applying for admission to full-time MBA programs tends to be higher than in Round 1. (Many applicants want to take advantage of the free time that they have off from work during the winter holiday – time they use to prepare MBA applications for January deadlines.) This also means that competition will be keen.

My response to the question of whether you should apply in Round 2 is this: every year I help many candidates gain admission in Round 2. It is true that many applicants will have waited to prepare and submit their MBA applications until Round 2 because the winter holiday period gives them valuable free time to focus fully on preparing applications. But, business schools are cognizant of this and they also realize that some of their best candidates will apply in Round 2. As such, most business schools leave a healthy number of seats available for Round 2 candidates.

I have worked with candidates with low GPAs – as low as 2.8 and 2.7 – to get into some of the top schools like Stanford and Wharton in Round 2.  So, usually it is fine to apply in Round 2, but take care to select your schools with great care in order to identify schools where your odds are great.  Prepare excellent applications because, as compared with Round 1, you will be competing with a higher number of applicants for fewer available seats. Also, be very strategic in conveying through your essays what you offer to the school. Make sure that your recommendation writers do the same. By Round 2, the shape of the incoming MBA class has begun to be formed already, given the Round 1 admissions. So, with a Round 2 application, pay particular attention to communicating what makes you a great choice. That is, why should the admissions committee add you to the students they have already admitted? How can you distinctly add to the mix?

To do this best, be sure to research the school, how your interests relate to the school, and what attributes you offer that would make you a unique and exceptional addition to the school. Your job is to present very compelling reasons why you will be an outstanding student, both inside and outside of the classroom, and a great future alumni member.