Thursday, May 23, 2019

2019-2020 MBA Application Deadlines

Last year, Harvard Business School eliminated its third and final application round for MBA hopefuls.
Columbia Business School has added a pair of new essays this year: “Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you?” (250 words) and “Who is a leader you admire, and why?” (250 words). CBS retained its first 500-word essay: “Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job?”

Columbia is the only highly ranked full-time MBA program with a January class start in addition to its regular September cohort. The school is fourth behind HBS, Stanford and Wharton for the number of applications received every year for both full-time MBA cohorts. The school, which sends out interview invites and admission decisions on a rolling basis, has set an early decision deadline of Oct. 4th (which is also the deadline for its January 2020 class start) and a final regular deadline of April 10th. But if you want to qualify for a merit scholarship, you would need to apply by Jan. 3, 2020.

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, meantime, has so far posted the earliest deadline–for its early action round. The deadline is a day ahead of HBS on Sept. 3rd. A major benefit of applying that early to Darden is that you don’t have to be invited to an admissions interview. Instead, you are able to get one without an invite. That is also true for early action candidates at Duke Fuqua during the school’s open interview period from Sept. 11 to Oct. 9th and at Kellogg and Tuck for all applicants. Darden’s open interview schedule is between mid-July through the end of September.

If you can, apply in the first round when none of the seats in the class are filled. At most schools, early applicants have an advantage over those that complete their applications in later rounds. Typically, the second application round is the largest, and many schools, including Wharton, advise candidates that round three is the most competitive mostly because the vast majority of the class seats are already filled. There are some other reasons why you want to get your app in early:
  • The ability to receive a scholarship award from the school’s Financial Aid Office prior to the date by which you must respond to your offer of admission.
  • Ample time to complete recommended quantitative and/or language coursework prior to arrival on campus.
  • Access to on-campus housing lottery systems at some schools.
  • Sufficient time to complete the visa application process for international candidates.
  • Attendance at a school’s Admit Weekends. Sometimes, round three candidates lose out on this opportunity.
All that said, the best time to apply is when you believe you’ve done the best job possible with your application. If you have to rush and cut corners to make round one, don’t. Hold off until another round. At all the highly selective business schools, admissions officials are looking for reasons to cut you from the pool. After all, the odds are substantially against you and as many as 80% of the candidates in any school’s applicant pool are usually fully qualified to attend. So you want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward when you do apply.
We’ll update this list continuously as more schools provide info on their new deadlines. If a school has released its essays for the 2019-2020 admissions season, you can access them by clicking on the “Yes” in the table below.


School Deadline Interview Notification Decision Essay Release
Virginia (Darden) Sept. 3, 2019 (Early Action) Schedule Your Own Oct. 9, 2019 No
Harvard Sept. 4, 2019 NA Dec. 10, 2019 Yes
Pennsylvania (Wharton) Sept. 17, 2019 Oct. 29, 2019 Dec. 18, 2019 No
Pennsylvania (Wharton) Sept. 17, 2019 (R1 for MBA/Lauder) NA Dec. 18, 2019 No
Northwestern (Kellogg) Sept. 18, 2019 (Round 1) Sept. 20, 2019 Dec. 11, 2019 Yes
INSEAD Sept. 18, 2019 (Round 1-Sept. Intake 2020) Oct. 18, 2019 Nov. 22, 2019 Yes
Duke (Fuqua) Sept. 19, 2019 (Early Action) Oct. 2, 2019 Oct. 28, 2019 Yes
Chicago (Booth) Sept. 26, 2019 NA Dec. 5, 2019 No
Emory (Goizueta) Oct. 4, 2019 (R1) Rolling Nov. 29, 2019 Yes
Columbia Business School Oct. 4, 2019 (Early Decision/January cohort) Rolling Rolling Yes
Virginia (Darden) Oct. 4, 2019 (R1) NA Dec. 11, 2019 No
Duke (Fuqua) Oct. 14, 2019 (Round 1) Nov. 1, 2019 Dec. 18, 2019 Yes
INSEAD Nov. 6, 2019 (Round 2-Sept. Intake 2020) Dec. 6, 2019 Jan. 24, 2020 Yes
Emory (Goizueta) Nov. 15, 2019 (R2) Rolling Jan. 24, 2020 Yes
Columbia Business School April 10, 2020 (Final Regular Decision) Rolling Rolling Yes
Source: Business school websites

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