The third round of MBA applications is notorious for having a lower acceptance rate. With the third round application deadlines approaching quickly for most business schools, you may be wondering if the stereotype about the third round is fact or fiction. I updated my analysis of MBA acceptance rate by round with the last 2 years of data and I expanded it to include Olin, Georgetown, USC, Arizona State and Vanderbilt.
This analysis was done using self-reported data from GMAT Club. Data from the class of 2014 through the class of 2018 was used because otherwise there would not be enough data for round 3 and 4 to accurately capture the acceptance rate.
MBA Acceptance Rate by Round Key Takeaways
- At almost all top 15 schools applicants have a moderate to significant disadvantage when applying during the 3rd and 4th round
- Applicants to schools ranked 16 to 25 had little to no disadvantage when applying in the 3rd and 4th round
- On average, top 15 schools had a much larger drop in applicant GMAT from round 1 to round 3 (16 points) than the rest of the top 25 (4 points), but GPA decline was identical (.07)
- Schools with the largest drop in acceptance rate from round 1 to 3 also had the largest drop in GMAT (20 points)
- Schools with moderate drop in acceptance rate from round 1 to 3 had a smaller drop in GMAT (10 points)
- Schools that have no disadvantage when applying 3rd round had almost no drop in GMAT (3 points)
Schools where round doesn’t matter
Although 60% of the top 25 schools are noticeably impacted by which round you apply, several schools don’t appear to care when you apply. Stanford GSB and NYU Stern are the only two schools in the top 15 that are not influenced by which round an applicant applies. Cornell, UNC, Tepper, Emory, Kelley, USC, ASU and Vanderbilt all appear to be unaffected by which round a candidate applies.
Schools where round has moderate impact
Many schools in the across the entire top 25 are moderately impacted by application round. This include top 15 schools such as Kellogg, Tuck, CBS (rolling admission), Ross and Duke. McCombs, Georgetown and Olin are all only minimally impacted by application round.
Schools where round has high impact
Only schools in the top 15 seem to be highly impacted by applying 3rd round. HBS, Wharton, Haas and Darden are most impacted by round. Booth, Sloan, Yale and UCLA are also significantly affected by application round.
MBA Acceptance Rate by Round
*Very few data points are available, so confidence on the accuracy is also low.