As readers of this blog site and its wider resources will know, I most value information from the horse’s mouth. When it comes to admissions, if this or that “expert” says it, it’s like-yeah-whatever; if an elite Adcom says it, it’s worth listening to.
We are in round 3 of the class-of-2013 MBA admissions cycle. On the current topical question of should you or shouldn’t you waste your time and money on R3 apps, here’s what the HBS Admissions Director has to say:
“As the Class of 2013 application season rounds the corner toward the finish line, you may be asking yourself whether it’s worth your time and money to submit an application. Is it too much of a long shot?
“You may be surprised to learn that we ask ourselves the same question every year. Should there even be a round 3? Why can’t we just wrap the class up in two rounds? Answer: even though we could – we always conclude that we like Round 3 enough to keep it as an option.
“Although we have admitted about 90% of the class by this time, we always – ALWAYS – see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again.
“I know you wish I could define “interesting” with pinpoint accuracy but I can’t. Sometimes it’s work experience, sometimes it’s an undergraduate school we wish we had more students from, sometimes it’s a compelling recommendation and sometimes it’s just ‘something’.
“I will say that it’s always that we have absolutely no doubts about a candidate’s leadership talent, character or academic capabilities – the same hurdle we have for the earlier rounds…
“Don’t apply to HBS in Round 3 if:
- You are an international candidate and have serious concerns about the likelihood of getting a visa in a timely manner.
- You really want to come in September, 2012 and are hoping to be granted a postponement.
- You are counting on getting on-campus housing.
- You are using this as a “trial” application and are hoping for feedback on this application to increase your chances of success next year.”
Postscript: You may say, “what do they have to lose? – of course they would advise me to apply anytime!” and you’d be right there. Round 1 and Round 2 remain undoubtedly a better time to apply to most elite MBA programs, including the Harvard MBA. But if you’re faced with the reality of R3, and you’re objectively special for one reason or another, it’s you vs. the waitlist — so the door is not yet closed.