Scott Edinburgh
December 29, 2023

Applying to an MBA Program in Round 3: Deadlines, Program Details, and Tips

For those of you thinking about applying in round 3, MBA programs DO admit candidates during round 3. In some cases, there is even scholarship money left for those applying in round 3.

MBA programs vary considerably in terms of how they view round 3. Some top MBA programs, such as Harvard Business School, have dropped round 3 (other than for 2+2 applicants) altogether. Other programs technically admit round 3 applicants but do so in very small numbers. However, some programs reserve space to welcome competitive applicants who for various reasons were unable to apply in earlier rounds.

Round 3 MBA Deadlines

Does applying in round 3 make sense for you? 

Here are 6 reasons why applying in round 3 might be right for you! If any of these ring true, reach out today to discuss how we can work together on your MBA applications before the round 3 deadline. Last year, our round 3 MBA applicants saw particular success!

You had limited tenure in your role during previous rounds

Many MBA applicants who are most successful applying during round 3 had a reason for not applying during an earlier round (of course, this is not true for everyone). If you were promoted and started a new job in the last year, it might be reasonable to wait until you had more experience in your current role to discuss. While we help applicants new to their roles apply successfully each year, MBA admissions committees easily understand the benefits of waiting for applicants new to their roles. Candidates who recently sold their companies or recently reached significant professional benchmarks would also fit into this category.

Extenuating circumstances prevented you from applying during earlier rounds

If unique personal or professional experiences prevented you from applying during round 1 or round 2, round 3 may be a viable option for you. Examples of this may include military commitments or significant personal or medical challenges. If candidates were unable to submit during earlier rounds due to circumstances outside of their control, they will not be penalized for waiting until round 3.

You were recently laid off or fear you will be laid off in the near term

Many of you may feel differently about the need for an MBA now than you did just a few months ago. With recent layoffs in some industries and fear that more could be on the way, an MBA could be a great option for you now. Business school is a great place to ride out the recession!

You have a particularly unique or extraordinary profile

Successful round 3 applicants often have a profile that is well above average in multiple ways. If you do not have a strong explanation for waiting, it is even more crucial that you have an application that will be hard to turn down with above-average test scores, grades, professional experience and more! Schools have spaces for round 3 applicants, but the onus will be on you to convince them that you deserve a seat.

Starting business school in 2024 is particularly important to you

For some MBA hopefuls, waiting until 2025 to begin business school is not an attractive option. There are countless unique personal or professional reasons why you might not want to wait and apply next year during round 1. Or perhaps you already have considerable professional experience and waiting another year will not be in your favor.

If it is this year or bust, applying round 3 might make sense for you, even if the above reasons do not apply. In this case, you SHOULD be flexible with your school list and consider a wider range of schools. The number of strong MBA programs continues to grow, and there are many strong options beyond the M7 or T10 programs.

You applied to only a limited number of schools during rounds 1 and 2

If you were rejected during earlier rounds, consider whether you had a broad list. If not, you might consider broadening your list during round 3. While applying after a rejection during round 1 and/or round 2 can be risky, in this current environment, all hope is not lost.

If there are schools where you can see yourself that did not make your list in prior rounds, you might consider giving round 3 a try. Personal MBA Coach predicts that the 2024-2025 cycle could be a bit more competitive so why not give this year one more chance? You can always apply again next cycle if round 3 doesn’t go your way.

Contact Us for Support Before the Round 3 Deadline

Are you looking for guidance as you start your round 3 applications? Contact Personal MBA Coach today to find out how we can help set you up for success through our Comprehensive MBA Packages!