Round 3 MBA apps vs. January Intake

Is the b-school plan a bit off track?

January intake might save the day

Everything went sideways with the GMAT….you broke your leg…or ended up working a ton after changing jobs. Whatever it was, you missed the boat on getting those @#$% MBA applications in by Round 2. But don’t want to sit on your hands for 18 slow-passing months before starting business school in 9/17.  Sometimes Round 3 is worth the risk. Tick tock goes the clock. Maybe you’re unemployed. Been over 30 for a while now. Or working for an evil Disney villain ⇒ I’ve had success with Round 3 clients. Round 3 is there for a reason. In your application, mention why you’re applying in R3. That helps. But the fact is, most of the seats are taken before Round 3. Another option, or perhaps a back-up plan to R3, would be to apply for January intake, or J-term. There are a few caveats: with the exception of INSEAD, you will be skipping the summer internship. For that reason, J-term isn’t ideal for people looking to switch industries. But if you are doing an MBA to advance in your current industry, January intake might be a wise choice, saving you time and money. Most top MBA programs that offer J-term intake are located in Canada and Europe, with a few exceptions.

  • US schools include Columbia and Thunderbird. NYU-Stern offers J-term intake for part-time students.
  • In Canada, Schulich and Ivey offer January intake, while and Queen’s allows students to begin in April and May, respectively.
  • In Europe, INSEAD, HEC, IMD and Erasmus offer January intake; IE has rolling admissions.

You’re probably wondering if applying for January intake gives you an advantage. There are mixed reviews. However, make no mistake about it, Career Services cares about their placement statistics because it factors into rankings. If you don’t need an internship and already have experience in your desired industry, you 1) definitely won’t be dragging down their internship placement stats, and 2) seem more likely to have commanded a full-time job offer by graduation.  If you plan to apply to Columbia – I would recommend submitting for J-term over regular term after round 2. They have rolling admissions, but the fact is, you’re kind of behind the 8-ball if you apply later than November for the following year. Just like any school that has an early action round, most seats have already gone to the highest bidders. For J-term, the Columbia deadline is October 2016 for January of 2017, but submit your application as soon as possible to increase your chances.  One thing remains the same. You want to capture the adcom’s attention with clear and compelling application materials. Set a consultation appointment with me to learn about how you can position yourself for success and set yourself apart from the competition.


– Farrell
I am a MBA admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. I help both full time and EMBA leaders get into top business schools. Schedule a profile review with me to see if we would make a good team. My goal is to help you create your best applications, get into your dream business school and pursue a career that excites you. 

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