Is Round 2 Harder Than Round 1?

By - Oct 22, 11:42 AM Comments [0]

From The Staff of MBA,
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Is Round 2 Harder Than Round 1?

It is important to understand the differences between Round 1 and Round 2 and to shift your application strategy to best benefit your chances of admission. In Round 1, more seats are available and the admissions committee does not yet have a clear idea of the class profile. As a result, your odds of admission should be higher in Round 1 at many schools. Also, many top business schools receive a greater number of applications during Round 2 because candidates often choose to work on their applications during winter vacation when they are able to take days off from work. Thus, for many candidates, Round 2 will be more competitive.

Whether Round 2 will be much harder for you in terms of success odds also depends upon the specifics of your candidacy. If you are a very strong candidate, you may have good odds of admission regardless of your timing. But, if you come from a highly competitive profile – for instance, if you are a foreign national East Asian male or a foreign national Indian engineer – there are some schools where the timing of your application will make the difference between acceptance and rejection. For notably “overrepresented” candidates like this, by the end of Round 1, top U.S. MBA programs may have already allocated many of the seats they intend to allocate to candidates of such profiles. Thus, while Round 2 success is still possible, you will face more difficult odds and therefore you should pay great attention to best practices for admissions success. (To learn about best practices, visit our website at

Is Round 2 ever the best option for some candidates? Yes. For example, if you have limited work experience and you need a few more months to add specific examples of strong performance to your application, waiting for Round 2 might actually increase your odds for admission. Likewise, if you initially scored lower-than-ideal on the GMAT and you need a few months to bring up your score, this is a good reason to apply in Round 2. Still, Round 2 will likely be more competitive than Round 1, so make certain you learn and implement MBA admissions best practices so that you maximize your odds for success.

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Best wishes,

Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts)
President, MBA

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