Each year, applicants have to take a call between applying in Round 1 Vs Round 2. For a particular individual, any number of reasons could make it better to apply in one round than in the other.
There are some advantages of applying in Round 1. For example, getting an offer of admission early gives applicants more time to get prepared for the changes coming up – planning the resignation from their job and handing over responsibilities, terminating home lease, making travel arrangements, organising finances, looking for a new job for the spouse in the new city, looking for good schools for kids in the new city, etc. It also allows them to take a break before joining the programme. Travel seems to be a popular option with many of the students admitted in Round 1. Even in the case where one doesn’t receive an offer of admission, it still helps to know it early so that they can get a head start on addressing any weaknesses in their profile before reapplying next year.
Applying in Round 2 has its own unique set of advantages:
- More time is available to evaluate options and figure out if B-school is the right avenue for improving your careers (Related: Should You Go to B-school?). If the choice to go to B-school has already been made, then you may use the time to decide on which schools and programmes would be right for you (Related: Studying at ISB Vs Studying Abroad).
- If you are ready to apply, the additional time gained by applying in Round 2 can help you prepare and submit a stronger application:
- You may be completing an important assignment shortly, which would go towards improving your overall profile and ability to add value to class discussions.
- A significant increase in responsibility through a promotion or profile change could be on the horizon and you can showcase that in your application.
- If you are not happy with your GMAT score, you can try and improve your score. Note that for those who have taken GMAT more than once, we consider only the best score while evaluating applications.
- You can use the additional time to complete any certifications or courses that you had taken up.
- Most importantly, submitting in Round 2 allows you to iterate a little more on your application and articulate your story better through essays, CV, etc. Get friends and colleagues to review them, incorporate helpful feedback and try to present a stronger application.
- Applying in Round 2 allows you more insights into the application process. You can benefit from the greater collective intelligence of the community, which has had a few extra months to analyze the procedure, essay questions, etc for the year. Input from Round 1 applicants about their experience is also something that you may find very useful.
- And finally, if you had other engagements or business travel during Round 1 and couldn’t really concentrate on your application effort, Round 2 gives you another opportunity to apply to B-school and take the next step towards improving your career. Make the most of it and put your best foot forward.
At this point let me make it clear that submitting your application in Round 2 has, by itself, no effect on your likelihood of acceptance. For e.g., one myth is that most seats are filled up in Round 1, leaving very little for Round 2 applicants. Another common myth is that the number of applications is lesser in Round 2 and hence admissions are less competitive than in Round 1. I assure you that both of these are incorrect. We see a similar mix of students applying in both the rounds, and the number of offers made in each round is kept proportional to the number of applications received, guided by historical data and prevailing trends. So applying in a particular round, by itself, will neither improve nor hurt your chances of admission.
To those of you who were considering applying in Round 1 but decided to submit your applications in Round 2 instead, congratulations! You have rightly followed the first rule of submitting a winning application – “Apply when you are ready.”
All the best!