Start now and apply to Round 1- This is your time to begin

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Start now and apply to Round 1- This is your time to begin

International MBA applicants are often left to answer this question: Which round is better to send in the applications? Round1/2/3? Thank God this question doesn’t make it to the standardised test!

The answer to this isn’t like an MCQ where a single answer is correct, neither are a combination of these right. Let’s instead look at some factors that determine your choice of round of application:

Your study schedule/number of hours in GMAT preparation

Your GMAT score/ attempts towards a satisfactory score

Your general work schedules

Your choice of B-Schools

Your profile

The competition/applicant pool that you may land up in

Major happenings in your life- like a work promotion or a personal occurrence

If you are looking for scholarship support

Now keeping these factors in mind let’s look at each round:


The major task of the Admissions Director is to assemble an orchestra. I don’t mean a music one obviously- but I have deliberately chosen this simile. Just like an orchestra is made up of different music instruments that come together to create music, an MBA class is made of diverse profiles that make up the cohort. Why, you may ask? It is this diversity that lends to exciting conversations and challenges in the classroom. If you look at some statistics with reference to International Student ratios or Female applicant ratios, you will see how the mix is varied and exciting. Our very own student mentor Shreyas tells us how his team mate was a linguist. Shreyas was good at programming. And the two of them hit it off and made a great team.

So why and when do you decide to apply to Round 1

If you are happy with your GMAT score, and are well prepared with your essays, have a great set of recommendations and strong leadership showcased on your CV- then just go ahead and apply to R1. Here the advantage that you may have is that the AD has just begun to fill up the classroom (and the size is capped), so your application has just entered the pool. In R1 there are chances that if your overall profile is impressive or non- traditional, despite an average academic score or a just-about met GMAT score, you could still make it. In case you are a highly meritorious student, you could even make it to a scholarship as it is in R1, that a larger chunk of the scholarships are distributed

If you belong to an over represented category- let’s, say of Indian male engineers, then the advice here is to start off early and start off well. The later rounds will just have many more of your profile and that may leave you drowning amongst many.

If your choice of B schools are the more eminent ones- like the top 20, then R1 is a good idea. Your application shows that you are a serious and well-planned individual who wants to make it to the top. Since you are competing only with R1 students, you can look at later rounds in case of rejection.


Round 2 may be for you in the following cases:

Your application just isn’t compelling enough. Let’s say you are unhappy with your GMAT score and you want to give it one more shot. An improvement of even 20 points will place you in a better position to choose more competitive and prestigious programmes.

Round 2 could also be a good idea if you are expecting a big announcement at work. This will only enhance your application and make your CV shine.

You could even be in a situation where you just haven’t researched enough about your target B schools, or your application work is messy. Then we suggest you wait it out and clean up your act. R2 competition is fierce so you really want to out your best foot forward. Remember you are not only in the R2 pool, but you also have unsuccessful candidates of R1 applicants vying for the same spots.

Rejection in R2 gives you some time to look at R3, or better still, gives you the opportunity to assess yourself and strategize for the next year.


In some cases, you will find that colleges also have a Round 4 and 5, but here we are restricting our blog to R3.

Round 3 make sense if you belong to an under represented category or a minority. R3 has very few seats left and you are competing with candidates of the earlier rounds as well. The AD at this point is also reviewing wait-listed candidates. So, unless you have an exceptional profile or an absolutely fabulous GMAT score, don’t wait till R3.

R3 is also fine in case you are looking at Tier 2 schools, which more often than not fill up places in R2 and R3.

R1-R2-R3- EduPeer’s 5 step counselling support will help you to craft a strong application in the following ways:

Country, College, Course Shortlist

Test Prep


CV and LOR’s

Interview Preparation

Reach out to us if an international education is your dream.