First Round Deadlines at HBS, Stanford, UT Austin, and Other Programs

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First Round Deadlines at HBS, Stanford, UT Austin, and Other Programs

Fall may feel like a long way off, but now is the time to start the business school application process if you haven’t already. To give your application the best shot of being ready by first round deadlines in autumn, you should start studying for the GMAT and preparing the rest of your application. You want your application to be the best it can be come September or October. You don’t want to be caught having to study for a retake of the GMAT while also writing your admission essays and contacting referrals as deadlines approach.

A handful of MBA programs have released application deadlines for the class of 2018, and the rest will follow in the coming months. Below you’ll find a list of the schools that have released their first round application deadlines for this year.  Most first round application deadlines fall in late September to early October with a few notable exceptions like Harvard Business School, which begins the deadline season with an early date of September 9th.

Columbia Business School offers two tracks for MBA students, one beginning in August and one beginning in January. The early decision deadline of October 7th is only for students interested in the August track, and the admission decision is binding: if you’re accepted in early decision, you’re committed to attending CBS and withdrawing your applications at other schools.


Business School First Round Deadline 2015 Decision Date
Harvard September 9th December
INSEAD September 16th November 27th
Yale September 16th December 7th
MIT (Sloan) September 17th December 16th
Stanford September 22th December 9th
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) September 29th December 17th
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (Ross) October 5th December 18th
Columbia University October 7th (Early Decision) Rolling
UT Austin (McCombs) October 13th December 17th


Why aim for first round deadlines

Though many schools state that you have the same chance for admission in the second round as you do in the first, admission consultants agree that the first round is the best round to submit your application if it’s ready—meaning it’s as good as it can be. During the first round, admission officers are looking to accept as many exceptional applicants as they can. Though competition is stiff during the first round, no seats in the upcoming year’s class have been taken, while in the second and third round applicants compete for a smaller number of available spots.

If you don’t make first round deadlines though, it’s no reason to panic. Second round still offers a much better shot at admission than applying third round when few spots remain. However, if you can, give yourself the best shot by having your application ready come fall.



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