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2020-2021 MBA application deadlines – When is the last date to apply to business schools?

The MBA Application season has officially begun, with several top business schools announcing their MBA Application Deadlines for Fall intake 2021. In this article, we have collated and presented the 2020-2021 MBA application deadlines to the top business schools for your handy reference. We also discuss how many MBA application rounds are there and help you decide which Round is best suited for you.

Bookmark this article for future reference as it will be periodically updated as more business schools announce their application schedules.

MBA Application Deadlines

Here is a brief outline of this article:

MBA Application Deadlines 2020- 2021

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect this year’s MBA Admissions to be very competitive. Why? Generally, when the economy goes down, applications to business schools go up. This might be the case for MBA intake 2021.

Besides, due to uncertainty, many MBA aspirants that were planning to apply for September 2020 intake might apply for 2021.

Also, many business schools are offering deferred enrolment to their MBA batch 2020 due to travel restrictions and difficulty in gaining visas which might lead to an increased application for 2021 intake. However, there is a risk for international and Indian students who will be applying to 2021 intake in the US.

Check out how Covid-19 Pandemic had affected Business Schools and MBA Aspitants/ current students. 

The current US Visa rules state that if a student who is currently enrolled in programs that are entirely online for the Fall semester (2020) will have to come back home. There is a possibility that this might discourage International MBA Application for 2021 intake.

According to Poets and Quants, admissions consultants are already reporting that they are seeing an increase in both bookings and interest of candidates who intend to apply in Round 1 MBA Application deadlines in September 2020.

There are only a handful of business schools that have announced their new application deadline and forms. You can click on the essay topic links to check out MBA Essay tips for each business school.

Here are the latest MBA Application Deadlines 2020 -2021 of top MBA Programs: 

Business School  Rounds  MBA Application Deadline  Final Decision  Essay Topic Release
Harvard Business School Round 1 September 8, 2020  December 10, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 5, 2021 March 30, 2021
Wharton  Round 1  September 15, 2020 December 16, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 5, 2021 March 25, 2021
Round 3 March 31, 2021 May 11, 2021
Columbia Business School  Round 1 April 9, 2021 Rolling Yes
Kellogg School of Management Round 1  September 16, 2020 December 9, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 6, 2021 March 24, 2021
Round 3 April 7, 2021 May 12, 2021
Chicago Booth School of Business Round 1  September 24, 2020 December 3, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 12, 2021 March 18, 2021
Round 3 April 1, 2021 May 20, 2021
Dartmouth Tuck School of Business Round 1  September 28, 2020 December 10, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 4, 2021 March 18, 2021
Round 3 March 29, 2021 May 6, 2021
Round 4 Rolling from April 1 – June 1, 2021 Rolling from May 10 – July 1, 2021
Duke Fuqua School of Business Early Decision September 23, 2020 October 27, 2020 Yes
Round 1  October 20, 2020 December 18, 2020
Round 2 January 7, 2021 March 20, 2021
Round 3 March 26, 2021 April 30, 2021
Michigan Ross School of Business Round 1  September 14, 2020 December 2, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 4, 2021 March 17, 2021
Round 3 March 29, 2021 May 5, 2021
Round 4 June 1, 2021 June 25, 2021
Virginia Darden Round 1  October 5, 2020 Rolling Yes
Round 2 January 4, 2021
Round 3 April 7, 2021
Vanderbilt Owen Round 1  October 12, 2020 December 18, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 11, 2021 March 26, 2021
Round 3 March 29, 2021 May 7, 2021
Round 4 May 15, 2021 Rolling
Stanford GSB Round 1  September  15, 2020 December 10, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 6, 2021 April 1, 2021
Round 3 April 6, 2021 May 20, 2021
NYU Stern Round 1  October 15, 2020 January 1, 2021 Yes
Round 2 November 15, 2020 February 1, 2021
Round 3 January 15, 2021 April 1, 2021
Round 4 March 15, 2021 June 1, 2021
INSEAD (One-year MBA) Round 1  September 11, 2020 November 29, 2020 Yes
Round 2 November 6, 2020 January 22, 2021
Round 3 January 8, 2021 March 19, 2021
Round 4 February 26, 2021 May 7, 2021
Notre Dame (Mendoza) Early Decision Early Decision: September 15, 2020 October 30, 2020 Yes
Round 1  October 13, 2020 December 4, 2020
Round 2 January 12, 2021 March 12, 2021
Round 3 February 23, 2021 April 16, 2021
Round 4 April 6, 2021  Rolling
Yale SoM Round 1  September 15, 2020 December 8, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 7, 2021 March 26, 2021
Round 3 April 13, 2021 May 18, 2021
Cambridge (Judge) Round 1  September 7, 2020 Rolling Yes
Round 2 October 19, 2020
Round 3 January 11, 2021
Round 4 March 8, 2021
Round 5 April 26, 2021
UCLA (Anderson) Round 1  October 2, 2020 December 18, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 8, 2021 March 26, 2021
Round 3 April 16, 2021 May 21, 2021
UC Berkeley (Haas) Round 1  September 24, 2020 December 17, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 14, 2021 March 25, 2021 
Round 3 April 5, 2021 May 13, 2021
UT Austin (McCombs) Round 1  October 13, 2020 December 17, 2020 Yes
Round 2 January 5, 2021 March 25, 2021
Round 3 March 30, 2021 May 6, 2021
Round 4 May 11, 2021 June 17, 2021
Rice (Jones) Round 1  October 16, 2020 To be decided Yes
Round 2 January 5, 2021
Round 3 April 15, 2021 (Domestic)
Round 4 April 1, 2021 (International)
Georgia Tech (Scheller)  Round 1  October 1, 2020 November 20, 2020 Yes
Round 2 December 4, 2020 February 1, 2021
Round 3 February 2, 2021 March 19, 2021
Round 4 April 1, 2021 May 14, 2021
Round 5  June 1, 2021 Rolling

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How many Rounds are there to get into the Top MBA Programs?

As you can see from the table above, generally, there are three rounds. However, few business schools like Georgia Tech Scheller, Rice Jones, Cambridge Judge, NYU Stern, and Michigan Ross have more than three rounds.

Which MBA Application round should you apply?

MBA Application Deadlines - which Round to Apply for?

Your decision to choose which MBA application round to apply to depends on several factors. Following are some of the factors you should consider while deciding which MBA application round you should apply to:

  1. Application Readiness
  2. Target Business School Ranking
  3. International Applicant

Application Readiness

If you are done with your GMAT and have finished polishing your other application materials such as Resume, Letters of Recommendations, etc., then it is advisable to apply either during the Early Decision Round or Round 1.

Learn more about applying in Round 1 vs. Round 2

If you are still working on your essays or other aspects of your MBA application, then it is advisable to apply in Round 2. You can use the extra time to make sure you submit the strongest MBA application possible.

Learn more about how you can improve your MBA Applicant profile & boost your MBA Application. Your GMAT score has a 22% weightage in your MBA application, learn more about MBA application factors, in this article.

Target Business School Ranking

If you are applying to the Top 15 MBA programs, then applying early is advantageous. Due to a large number of robust applications received by the top business schools for their MBA programs, the acceptance rate for the later rounds (i.e., Round 3 & Round 4) is significantly lower.

International Applicants

International applicants require more time for visa processing, and other formalities, and hence business schools encourage international applicants to apply early in Round 1 or Round 2.

Many business schools also do not accept applications for the later rounds from international applicants. Make sure to check your target business schools’ admissions policies to learn more.

MBA Admission Deadlines: Why should you apply in Round 1 or Round 2?

MBA Application Deadlines - Why should you apply early in 2021

Since none of the seats are filled in the First Round, it is advantageous to apply in Round 1. At most business schools, early applicants have an advantage over those who apply in later rounds.

This is because, typically, the second application round is the largest and most competitive. The third round is even more competitive due to the vast majority of seats is already filled.

Here are some other reasons as to why applying earlier is advantageous:

  • Applying earlier allows you to receive information about scholarships/fellowships from the business schools financial aid office before the date to which you must respond to your offer of admission
  • Allows more time to complete recommended quantitative and language coursework before you arrive on campus
  • In some cases, applying early provides better access to on-campus housing lottery opportunities at business schools
  • As mentioned earlier, applying early allows ample time to complete the visa application process for international applicants
  • Opportunity to attend the business schools admit weekends. Sometimes, round 3 candidates lose out on this opportunity to interact with classmates (a significant MBA networking opportunity)

However, it is essential to remember that it is best to apply when you believe you’ve prepared the most polished MBA application possible.

What is the Early Decision MBA Application Deadline?

Some business schools, besides having the regular admission rounds for their MBA programs, also have an Early Decision application deadline. Generally, students who apply in this Round receive an answer before the regular decision applicant is reviewed.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you apply in the Early Decision MBA Application Deadlines:

  • It signals your Commitment to attend the Business School: Applying to the Early decision round signals to the business school that they are your first choice and commit to attending if admitted. Those of you who have completed their MBA program research and know for sure that a certain business school is your first choice for an MBA can take advantage of the MBA early decision round. Reapplicants also can take advantage of early decision deadlines
  • Non-Refundable Deposit may be Required: Sometimes, a non-refundable deposit is required if you are granted admission into an MBA program after applying through the early decision Round. Also, many early action options have a binding component, which means that you must withdraw your applications submitted to other business schools and commit to attending that particular business school. Thus, it is imperative to research and decide if applying in the early decision round is suitable for you.

Taking the GMAT 2-3 months before the application deadline is important. If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on GmatClub with more than 1900 reviews.

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FAQs – MBA Application Deadline

When should you apply for MBA Fall 2021?

Most of the top business schools MBA Application deadlines for Round 1 in September 2020. It is generally advisable to apply in Round 1 to increase your chances of getting an admit.

How many MBA Application Rounds are there?

Most of the top MBA programs have three application Rounds:
– Round 1 deadlines are in September/October
– Round 2 deadlines are in January
– Round 3 deadlines are in April
It is advisable to check with your respective business schools to know their MBA application deadlines for 2020 – 2021 intake.

Which Round should I apply in?

Your decision to choose which MBA Application round to apply to depends on various factors like:
1. Target business school ranking
2. Application Readiness
3. International Applicant
Click here to know in detail which Round you should apply in.

Is an MBA worth it?

yes, an MBA is worth it. However, it depends on the amount of time ans money you are willing to invest. Check out this article where we do a cost-benefit analysis to help you decide when an MBA is worth it.

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