To apply or not to apply in the final round, that is the perennial question. Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, Dee Leopold, recently gave a crystal-clear answer…for college seniors, at least.
“If you are a college senior who has the bandwidth to complete an application, I think that you should,” Leopold says, noting that there’s really no downside risk other than missing out on the last weeks of college life to prep for the GMAT or GRE.
“The worst that can happen is that you get turned down to the very small 2+2 Program. Many current students at HBS found themselves in that situation, went out and joined the work world, and reapplied successfully,” she adds.
As for candidates with a few years of work experience under their belts, Leopold acknowledges the third round is more complicated since most of the seats in the Class of 2018 have already been taken and it may be difficult to get a visa.
Despite those potential challenges, the director clears up a few myths that may be keeping qualified candidates from considering Round 3. Contrary to popular wisdom, needs-based financial aid is just as available for last-round applicants as it is for Round 1 admits.
If you do apply and are not successful, rest assured you can reapply in the future with absolutely no negative repercussions.
One plus of Round Three is the quick turnaround time between interview invitations going out and final decisions coming down. Invites will be sent by April 20th at noon, and your fate will be revealed on May 11th.
As always, we at SBC suggest candidates submit only once they feel their application is as strong as possible. If you apply in the final round, do make use of the optional essay to explain why you waited so that the admissions committee doesn’t come to the conclusion that this is just a last-ditch effort after failing to receive an admit at another MBA program in an earlier round.
“We ALWAYS admit people from Round 3,” Leopold says. “And they are always very wonderful.”