Guest post by Hannah Lauber, a second-year MBA student at Fuqua School of Business.
They say that if you can’t apply to business school by Round 2—and you aren’t a unicorn—then wait until next year. While I intended to submit in Round 2, when I went to apply in early January I still didn’t have the GMAT score I wanted. Also, I didn’t feel all the pieces of my application had fallen into place.
I didn’t want to take a chance by submitting an application I felt uneasy about. But I also knew I was ready for business school and committed to joining the Class of 2019. I decided to wait and apply in the third round, when I felt my application would be the strongest.
I knew acceptance in Round 3 could prove more difficult from a numbers perspective. So I tried to show my enthusiasm for my top school – Duke’s Fuqua School of Business – in myriad ways. I visited campus and sat in on a class. I also made a point of connecting with current students. I learned everything I could about Fuqua’s academic offerings, culture, and extracurricular programs. I also gave much thought to how I could contribute to the community. Then, I fit as many of those details as possible into my application essays.
Leaving no doubts about why I waited until the third round
I wanted the Admissions Committee to know I hadn’t procrastinated until the last moment. To convey that, I used the optional essay to explain why applying in the third round made the most sense for me. I knew I wouldn’t have much time to rebound if I didn’t get good news. So, I started to plan out how I could make my application stronger in case I had to re-apply in the fall.
Getting the call from the Admissions Office was incredibly exciting—truly one of the best days of my life. But, reality soon set in when I realized I had only a few months to find an apartment in Durham, finish projects at my job, pack up my life, and get ready to attend classes for the first time in five years. Despite my best efforts, the timeline still felt a little crunched.
My takeaways from this process? First, it’s vital to apply when you have the strongest possible application. You must also show genuine interest in the school through your application essays. I’m so happy I applied when I did. Going to Fuqua is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. My acceptance in Round 3 meant I could go to business school when I was ready.
If you apply in Round 3, it’s important to stay realistic about your chances. Plan for how to move forward if things don’t go your way. Finally, prepare to uproot yourself on short notice. The first year of business school is intense. Make sure you give yourself time to prepare mentally for going back to school.
Once you get to Fuqua, an oft-repeated mantra is that the experience is what you make it. The application process should be the same.
Fuqua’s third round is coming up
The Round 3 application deadline at Fuqua School of Business is March 20. Shari Hubert, director of admissions, wants applicants to know that they still have spots available—and merit-based scholarships, too.
For more thoughts on your third round admissions odds, read 4 Myths About Applying to Fuqua in Round 3 on the Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.