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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

December 12, 2008

Submit a weak 2nd round MBA application or apply in 3rd round with a stronger application?

This question always comes up, so I want to provide my official answer: If your MBA application is truly weak for 2nd round and you can get it better by 3rd round, apply in the 3rd round.

Now, of course, this is a trick answer.

"Weak" is a relative term. "Weak" for HBS or Stanford might be perfectly fine for a lower ranked school. "Weak" is always in comparison to (1) other applicants, (2) the relative difficulty of admission, and (3) your potential for putting together a better application later. One person's "weak" is another person's "strong." If you are not sure if your application is weak, get the opinion of an admissions consultant or someone else who you think will provide you with a unbiased and well-informed opinion. Also, be honest with yourself and ask yourself how much of a difference it will make. If you can substantially improve your essays or your test scores, it might very well make sense to wait.

You might very well determine that your applications to your safety schools are not weak, but are weak for your preferred schools. In that case, apply to your safeties in 2nd round and to the others in 3rd round.

At this point, you might be thinking: "Adam is insane. This year is harder than ever before in the history of mankind. No one will get in 3rd round. Why I am reading his blog?" Actually, I am perfectly sane. The reason that there is a 3rd round is because there are spots to be filled. It is not easy, but applicants do get in. It is certainly not ideal, but that does not make it impossible. Especially for those applicants who have strong backgrounds, but for whatever reason, have not gotten it together in time for 2nd round, 3rd round is really an option. Even this year. We will know that 3rd round is no longer an option when schools eliminate it. Till then, it is an option.

Questions? Write comments, but do not send me emails asking me to advised you on your application strategy unless you are interested in my consulting services. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see my recent post on "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant." If you are interested in my graduate admission consulting services, please click here.
-Adam Markus
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