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MBA Application Strategies for Final Deadlines

Have you decided to get an MBA, but worry you waited too long to hit submit on your application? Don’t fret! It’s not too late to apply and begin your MBA journey this fall. 

Schools have final round deadlines and rolling admission because there are still spaces available in their fall cohorts. If schools were done admitting candidates, they would close their doors, put up an out-of-office message, sit back and eat bonbons. But they aren’t doing that, they’re still searching and recruiting great candidates — like you. 

You’ll need to move quickly if you want to take advantage of these final deadlines. Here are a few tips to help you successfully (and quickly) submit your MBA application. 

Move the Big Rocks First

There are pieces of the application that take more time and effort. Plan to tackle these first. We’re talking about the big items like taking the GMAT (or other standardized test of your choice) and organizing your letters of recommendation. 

What you shouldn’t do? Ask someone for a letter of recommendation and only give them a week to write it. You want to give your recommender as much time as possible so they can be thoughtful and help you shine. If you are on a tight timeline, don’t hide it. Make the deadlines clear. Schools may also be able to give you some flexibility, but you have to ask. 

Remember to thank your recommenders for their time, especially if it’s on a tight timeline. Everyone loves a coffee gift card, basket of cookies, or artisan chocolate. Okay, those might be my preferred thank yous, but you get the picture.

If you’re taking the GMAT and need guidance on how to structure a quick study timeline, has some great resources, like this eight-week plan. Even if you’re new to the test, you can get test-ready fast with some diligent studying and a clear plan.

Move Quickly, but Carefully Through the Application

This is a scenario where you should employ the old adage “measure twice, cut once.” Start by thoroughly reading through a school’s instructions and application form. Then, go back and start thinking about all of the tasks and make a to-do list. 

There are many parts of the application that are not “big rocks,” but still need your time and attention to detail. The application form may ask short-answer questions. Make sure you spell check your answers. You’ll need time to update and gather documents like your resume and undergraduate transcripts. It’s common to see errors in spelling, grammar, and syntax in these small, but impactful parts of the application. You can be the exception. 

The Process Will Move Quickly in the Final Rounds — Be Prepared to Move Quickly Too

As you’re completing your applications, plan for scenarios you may face. We recommend starting with the good news options. If you’re admitted to all of the MBA programs you applied to, how would you make a selection? If you get funding from one school but not another, would that change your decision? Are you ready to potentially quit your job and move locations? 

In the final MBA application rounds, schools are typically admitting candidates and expecting them to be able to make an enrollment decision quickly. This may mean you only have a couple of weeks (or less) to accept an admission offer. Take the time to think through possible situations now so you avoid feeling unprepared in the moment.

Get Advice From Business Schools

These tips can help you get started. Want more? Get advice directly from MBA admissions reps. Watch this free virtual session for their best advice on submitting your MBA application during the final round deadlines.

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