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Confused about which MBA Application Round to apply in and when to start your GMAT prep? Wondering how long your GMAT prep will take? Look no further – we have the answers!

In this blog:

MBA Applications: Understanding Rounds and Rolling Admissions

MBA applications for most US universities take place in Rounds. Rounds imply that there are different periods with set deadlines when universities accept MBA applications in one application cycle. MBA admissions have 2 or 3 Rounds depending on the university.

Rolling admissions mean that MBA admissions committees will accept applications throughout the season, and seats will be filled as and when they find competent candidates. 

Which MBA Application Round Should You Apply in?

Applying in Round 1 comes with an obvious advantage: you have, overall, a higher chance of getting in when you apply with the first pool of applications. All MBA seats are up for grabs at this time. This round is most suitable for people who are confident in their application and profile, and here you have a better chance to plan your finances and finalise scholarships. Applying in Round 1 is also a great way to demonstrate your intent and interest in the program and university to admissions committees. In this round, your application is only assessed against those of other Round 1 applicants. It’s a clean slate, so to speak – applying in later rounds means that admissions officers already have an established threshold of what constitutes a good application for a particular cycle, and Round 2 and 3 applications are also measured against those of Round

So, is there ever a situation where you might be advised to not apply in Round 1? Exceptions are unavoidable, so yes, it is advisable to not apply in Round 1 if you think there’s room for improvement in your application or your GMAT score. Round 1 receives some of the best applications, so there is a greater chance of getting waitlisted if you turn in a less-than-satisfactory application.

In that case, Round 2 is your best friend. While it’s good to apply in Round 1 for some, Round 2 is much better for others. If you think, for example, that you can increase your GMAT score by the time Round 2 rolls around, then you should definitely consider waiting.

So, Why Would You Want to Apply in Round 3?

There’s a reason why many colleges have 3 rounds. Rounds 1 and 2 may be suitable for most applicants, but Round 3 may actually be a better bet in some cases. If you think applying in Round 3 would enable you to make sure your application is truly spectacular, then the wait may be worth it. Applying in this round means that you need to convey how you can make a difference to your cohort. Remember: by this time, most seats in the program will be filled, and your application must stand out in order to be accepted.

Round Deadlines for MBA Applications 2024

For an updated list of Round Deadlines for MBA Applications in 2024, click here!

When Should You Start Preparing for the GMAT?

It may be a good idea to first take a diagnostic test to assess your level of preparation for the GMAT. Based on your results, you can better understand which areas and topics require the most attention and effort, and you can create a GMAT study plan accordingly. 

Take Jamboree’s GMAT Focus diagnostic test here!

Read: Is the GMAT Prep Course Worth It? – Jamboree

How Long Does it Take to Prepare for the GMAT?

GMAT Prep generally takes between 2 and 4 months. Once you have identified the admission Round you will be targeting for most universities, you can start planning backwards. Make sure you leave enough room for a second attempt if need be, and remember that you have to balance your test prep with polishing other aspects of your application.

Read: How to Balance GMAT Prep & Multiple B-School Applications? – Jamboree

Other Components of a Stellar MBA Application

While GMAT prep is a very important part of your MBA application, it’s not the whole picture. One key aspect is your MBA interview. It’s important to be familiar with common and specific questions, and how to answer them confidently in order to demonstrate your competence and aptitude for an MBA. 

Here’s a detailed guide to help you with MBA interview preparation and questions: Common MBA Admission Interview Questions + All You Need to Know – Jamboree

Need help with MBA interview prep?

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