Top Tips for Polishing Your Round 2 MBA Application

December 18, 2018 | by Caroline Diarte Edwards

If you do your best work under pressure, you’re not alone. And if you’re a round 2 MBA applicant, now’s your moment to kick it into overdrive.

Round two deadlines for HBS, Wharton, Chicago Booth and Duke Fuqua arrive on January 3. Kellogg and Stanford GSB are waiting to hear from you by January 9 and 10, respectively. Meanwhile, Dartmouth Tuck, Yale SOM and Michigan Ross apps are due on January 7. Six months ago, you had the opportunity to shape your profile, but with roughly three weeks and ticking, it’s all about packaging and polishing.

In a recent article for Poets&Quants, my Fortuna Admissions colleagues offer six top tips for prioritizing your remaining time and submitting an application that’s as brilliant and memorable as you are.

1. Show schools the love. 

Programs like Dartmouth Tuck, NYU Stern, Yale SOM, UVA Darden, UCLA Anderson and Duke Fuqua witness a spike in round 2 applications from candidates who were dinged elsewhere in round 1. It’s vital to be even more convincing given this reality. “What’s essential in crafting each application is making each program believe that they’re your first choice,” says my Fortuna colleague Amy Hugo in her article, 8 Tips for Tailoring Your MBA Application. “Of course, schools know that you’re applying to other programs — they expect that and it’s a sensible thing to do. But to win their acceptance, show them the love. This means going the extra mile to prove you understand a school’s unique culture and values, and that you’ve given considered thought both to how you’ll contribute to their community and what you hope to gain from it.”

2. Account for the holidays.

Don’t underestimate the inevitable chaos of the imminent holiday season, when essential collaborators like your recommenders are poised to set their out-of-office replies. In my former role as head of MBA admissions at INSEAD, I received countless panicked call from round 2 candidates this time of year who just learned that a recommender had left on vacation and was unlikely to submit the letter by deadline. If you haven’t already, circle back to your recommenders, know where they are in the process, and confirm their end-of-year availability in this overbooked time. Deploy your ability to manage up: anticipate what your recommenders need and ensure the optimal conditions for them to submit a substantive and glowing letter of support.

View all six tips in our article for Poets&Quants: Countdown To Round 2: Top Tips For Polishing Your MBA App.

Fortuna Admissions Co-Founder and Director Caroline Diarte Edwardsserved as Director of Admissions, Marketing and Financial Aid for the INSEAD MBA program, where she admitted over 7,000 students.

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