Top Schools Announce 2020 MBA Application Deadlines

Top Schools Announce 2020 MBA Application Deadlines

Regardless of the upcoming announcement of the 2020 application deadlines, it is never too early to start the preparation. This can include self-reflection on professional and personal goals, dream business schools to attend, and standardized test prep for the GMAT or GRE. However, with the summer spirit upon us, it feels like time flies even faster. If you’re planning to start your MBA studies next year, now would be the perfect time to start figuring out your full strategy.

Application deadlines of the top 10 MBA programs ranked by the FT

School Country Deadlines

13 Nov 2019 (Round 1)


15 Jan 2020 (Round 2)

25 March 2020 (Round 3)

Columbia Business School US

Jan 2020 entry


4 Oct 2019

Aug 2020 entry

4 Oct 2019 (Early)

3 Jan 2020 (Final)

Harvard Business School US

4 Sep 2019 (Round 1)


6 Jan 2020 (Round 2)


18 Sep 2019 (Round 1)


6 Nov 2019 (Round 2)

15 Jan 2020 (Round 3)

26 Feb 2020 (Round 4)

London Business School UK

13 Sep 2019 (Round 1)


3 Jan 2020 (Round 2)

5 March 2020 (Round 3)

22 April 2020 (Round 4)

MIT: Sloan US

1 Oct 2019 (Round 1)


21 Jan 2020 (Round 2)

9 April 2020 (Round 3)

Stanford Graduate School of Business US

12 Sep 2019 (Round 1)


9 Jan 2020 (Round 2)

8 Apr 2020 (Round 3)

University of California at Berkeley: Haas US

26 Sep 2019 (Round 1)


9 Jan 2020 (Round 2)

2 April 2020 (Round 3)

University of Chicago: Booth US

26 Sep 2019 (Round 1)


7 Jan 2020 (Round 2)

2 April 2020 (Round 3)

University of Pennsylvania: Wharton US

17 Sep 2019 (Round 1)


7 Jan 2020 (Round 2)

1 April 2020 (Round 3)

Shortlist schools

In the best-case scenario, MBA application deadlines should not be your primary decider when it comes to choosing the schools to apply for. Deadlines are very important in determining your strategy but selecting your top MBA programs is about much more than that. Start by asking yourself what your career goals are and whether you would like to take your professional life to another country or region. Does the unique focus of a particular program resonate with your values? If you have checked all the self-reflection boxes, you can move on to checking application deadlines in more detail.

Check out: How to Demonstrate Leadership in Your MBA Application

Decide on your application strategy

Once you have your list of relevant programs—not too many, but preferably more than one—it is time to approach your application strategy in a smart way. Consider your individual strengths and weaknesses. Your career trajectory, aptitude test potential, even past academic performance will play a role in your admission. Applicants need to get to know the specifics about the schools they are targeting but they also should not try to paint an unrealistic picture of themselves to the admissions committee. The strongest points of your profile should come first, especially if they relate to the school’s values in some way. Then, do not be afraid to point out any weak spots, or even failures, because you should be able to show how you have learned from them.

In addition, this would be a good time to familiarize yourself with the different application rounds. Most schools advise to avoid waiting for the final deadline because if something unexpected happens in your preparation (such as low test scores or personal matters that slow you down), you may not have another chance to apply for that intake. For your own peace of mind, make sure your aptitude and language exam scores reach the admissions office as early as possible, well before the deadline.

Contact recommenders

Although applicants do not write letters of recommendation themselves, it is a good idea to prepare for those in advance as well. You should be very selective about your recommenders (usually current or previous employers, direct managers, or mentors) and you should treat their work with respect. Give them the time they need to reflect on your accomplishments so that they can provide you with positive but realistic feedback. If possible, always go for a face-to-face meeting when asking them to write one of your recommendation letters and let them know why their opinion is so important to you. After all, this part of your application has a very long expiration date, so it won’t hurt to get it settled early on.

Check out: 6 Hard Questions on Preparing MBA Recommendations

Brainstorm the basics of your essays

Another task you can start preparing for in advance is the application essay or essays. If the essay topics of your desired schools have already been announced, then the earlier you start brainstorming your answers, the better. Remember that business professionals from all over the world will be competing with your application and many of them will be just as ambitious and talented as you. The MBA application essay is designed to reveal a snapshot of your true character to the admissions committee but it is also an opportunity to be creative and stand out. Do the programs on your shortlist have a word limit for their essays? Is more than one essay required? Will the essay be in written form or in a video format (which has been quickly gaining popularity in recent years)? Take all of these details into account when coming up with your winning content strategy.

Whether you believe it or not, rushing through your application at the last minute will decrease its quality and this will be easily noticed by the admissions committee. Ease into the process by preparing as thoroughly and as early as possible and your chance of success will be much higher.


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