Don’t Apply Round 3 … Until You Read This Article

By - Jan 16, 20:04 PM Comments [4]

 By the Amerasia Consulting Group

The common myth surrounding Round 3 of the MBA application process is that you can’t, or shouldn’t, apply late in the admission cycle.  “The class is pretty much full” is one refrain.  “You have to be a truly unique applicant” is another.  “Only European programs admit people that late” is yet another.

As with anything, there are bits of truth in these sound bites … but only bits.

Let’s work through those three statements:

  • "The class is pretty much full."  There are a few ways to look at this.  The first is to say that Round 1 and Round 2 make up the biggest segment of an incoming class.  That is definitely true.  However, the other way to examine the timing of all this is to note that in many cases, Round 3 applicants “beat” Round 2 admissions decisions.  Meaning: a new batch of applicants comes in the door of the b-school before decisions are sent out on the previous batch.  This is done for an obvious reason, which is to generate enough wiggle room in case Rd 3 applicants come in and trump the people who are about to be admitted.  So the class is probably just about full … but a lot of decisions are pending, in case some great people flood in late.  Which leads us to…
  • "You have to be unique to get in."  This is not true at all.  Or, to put it another way, you only have to be as unique as you would have had to be in a previous round.  It’s not an exotic species contest.  What is relevant is whether you are A) qualified, and B) what the class mix needs.  There is no way to predict the second part, of course, but you can certainly take stock of the first aspect.  A flier in Round 3 is probably not a great way to work through a low GMAT score, but if you have a good profile, you may be exactly what an MBA program needs.  Maybe School X is light on females, or marketers, or Canadians.  You never know.  So you don’t have to be “unique” so much as qualified and perhaps something they might need more of in the class.
  • "Only European programs admit this late."  This one is a bit of a trick statement, because programs in Europe DO tend to admit quite late.  But we throw in the “only” to once again state that many U.S. programs keep a sharp eye and/or hold back spots for the later rounds.

Okay, so now that we know there is actually a chance (and a greater one than Mary Swanson gives Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber), what do you need to do?  Four critical things:

1. Consider the reapplication process.  Even with our rose-colored glasses, we still admit that the odds are longer for late rounds, which means you want to be thinking of the reapplication process for those schools.  Because the time frame will be shortened between Rd 3 of this year and Rd 1 of next year, you have to really think about what you are doing.  Does the school in question let you submit a new application or just a reapplicant question?  If it is the latter, you want to make sure that enough “stuff” can happen over the next seven months for you to write about in a “what have you done since your last application” question.  If you won’t have the ammo there, you may want to hold off on that program.  If they do accept new applications though, you can fire away for Round 3 and even strengthen your stated interest in the program.

2. Submit perfection. If you are eying reapplication, you still have to nail the essays and the entire application this time around.  Why?  Because you are creating a permanent record and file at that school.  Even if it is unlikely that your admissions officer will pull up both applications on the first lap around, there is a good chance that at some point, they will want to see how your goals evolved, if you have learned more about the program, are more self aware, etc.  So if you are going to seek help from an expert, do it now, before you leave one of those smeared hand prints in the concrete and live to regret it.

3. Explain yourself. If you are applying late, explain why.  You should be hitting “why now for an MBA” anyway, so really nail it here.  Tell the reader why this is coming in the door now instead of five months ago.  Put them at ease.  Don’t let them think you are firing off a panic application just because you got dinged at six other schools.  Speaking of…

4. Figure out amenable schools by looking downstream. You can sometimes guess which schools are most open to Round 3 applicants by looking for “downstream” programs.  What we mean by that is a school that might get some great late arriving candidates who were dinged or waitlisted at higher ranked programs.  Many candidates are either short on time or overly ambitious and so they might only apply to a few schools in Rd 1 or Rd 2, leaving them with no options and a last minute game plan for Round 3.  Examples include UCLA Anderson (downstream from Stanford GSB), Darden (downstream from Harvard and Tuck due to use of case method), Texas (downstream from MIT and Haas for tech), Duke (downstream from Kellogg), and Cornell (downstream from a lot of schools).  These programs may be sensitive about this, so make sure to have really excellent reasons for applying late (beyond, I got dinged at GSB) and make sure to nail school fit, but you are going to find that these programs probably have a few more slots saved than a place like HBS.

If you need help with Round 3 – either comprehensively or just stress testing your essays to make sure they hit the mark – email us at  The arms race for consulting help usually starts in March for Round 1 of the next year, but the best value is probably right now.  You can get more distance from the field in Round 3 than at any other time and the quality of your work will make a huge difference.  To demonstrate our commitment to doing Round 3 right, we have a very unique policy: work with us on a comprehensive package for Round 3 and we will help you reapply to the same schools free of charge in the fall, should it come to that.

Amerasia Consulting Group

We help competitive domestic and international applicants apply to top MBA programs worldwide. Speak with an Amerasia Consulting Group admissions consultant without any financial obligation. This free diagnostic of your candidacy is meant to provide you with a snapshot of where you stand with respect to a targeted program. Contact Us >

[4] Comments to this Article

  1. Richa January 17, 9:12 AM

    Nice info..great article

  2. Sanket Sharma January 20, 7:14 PM

    Great article

    1. KUMAR GAURAV January 29, 3:49 AM


  3. Rahul February 2, 6:14 AM

    Hey there!

    I came to know about you through GMATCLUB.COM and i am really impressed with the kind of reviews i have read about you.
    I am wondering if you can help me with some of my queries, before i sign up for your services?

    A crisp summary about my profile:-
    I have around 5 years of work ex in telecom domain ( both technical as well commercial). I have been working with one of the telecom giant for the last 5 years, in that i have worked on three different profiles and have learned various aspects of this domain. Currentl i am working as a specialist, whose job is to provide telecom solution consultancy to global telecom operators and try to bring business for the company.
    My highest qualification is Bachelor degree in Electronics & Communication,from India, with 68.5% marks.

    Future Goal:-
    I am planning to do MBA in General Management, as i want to get into the field of Management Consulting.
    As per my research i think a MBA degree in General Management would be required to get into Management Consulting field.

    Current status:-
    First attempt 630 (Q 50 V 25)
    Second attempt 640 ( Q49 V 28)

    TOEFL – 104

    Target Colleges , with this score.(Not very sure if they suit my requirement of getting into consulting field):-

    1)Kelley business school
    4)Marriott (BYU)
    5)Georgia tech – Scheller
    7)Wake Forest University

    Need your guidance on below points:-

    -With this profile and scores , please let me know whether i would be able to secure admit in any of these?
    Also is it possible to get scholarship in any of them?

    -Kindly suggest me the best path at this point.Should i go ahead and apply in the above mentioned colleges?

    -I am ready to wait for one more year and will try to improve my GMAT score( in next attempt) ,but would that be worth, i mean i would be 30 by that time and would have apprx 6 yrs of work-ex??

    -If i get good score ( more than 700) in GMAT then can i target top 20 US colleges, next time and in R1 with good scholarships?

    -Is it always be beneficial to apply in R2/R2?

    -For top consulting companies in need to have good college, so are all the good colleges for consulting field are in US only?

    -Can i think of appying any colleges outside US?

    I am really sorry of bugging you with so many questions, but i am very very much confused…..Please help!

    Many Thanks