Ideal Timeline for MBA Application

The ideal timeline for MBA application may depend on the applicant, the program chosen, skills and predespositions etc. However, what we have outlined below is a standard ideal timeline that should work for most MBA applicants, if there are no unusual circumstances, keeping in mind that:

*The programs usually begin in September.

*Some programs (INSEAD, Columbia, etc.) have a January starting date.

*The following timeline refers to studies beginning September 2024.

* It is ideal for an organized and thorough application preparation. The process can be compressed (perhaps affecting admission chances and expenses).

*If you plan to begin in January 2025, add four months to the timeline below.

  • Consider what can be changed in your career in order to strengthen your candidacy (Gaining a management position? Getting in involved in public/political/volunteer activities?)
  • If you haven’t done so already – register for a GMAT course (ideally, you should start your course in 2021 and complete your first (and hopefully last) GMAT exam between October 2022 and April 2023).
    Candidates usually have difficulty advancing on their application during their GMAT course. It is recommended to complete the GMAT exam as early as possible (when you are at your peak academically), even 2-4 year before submitting applications, and to improve later if necessary.
  • Set your sights on future recommenders and forge good working relationships with them.
  • Visit campuses: If you plan to visit a certain area anyway, it is a good idea to visit the business schools that interest you. Over your visit, you can build connections with students, faculty and/or admissions office clerks.
  • Contact consultant services (e.g. ARINGO) to schedule start of application work.
  • Consider applying to one or two programs already in March-June 2023 (to programs starting in January 2023 like Columbia or INSEAD or programs starting in September 2023) in order to get to know the process and receive early answers (perhaps saving you applications to other universities). See applications deadlines here:
  • Visit school websites to learn about programs, registration dates, and the admissions process.
  • Visit candidate information sites.
  • Contact students and alumni.
  • If you haven’t already – take the GMAT (between October 2022 and April 2023).
  • Begin the strategy phase of application preparation (data mining, career plan, choosing topic for primary essays).
  • Focus on three programs and learn about them as much as possible (It is recommended to apply to 4-5 programs in total).
  • Prepare applications (CV, essays, recommendations).
  • Prepare for the TOEFL.
  • Take the TOEFL.
  • Order transcripts.
  • Send transcripts.
  • Submit applications.
    According to data from the last few years, admission chances are strongest between August – October (Round 1). In a few instances, Round 2 (November – Early January) submissions are advantageous. Admission chances for the final round (usually Round 3, sometimes Round 4) are usually significantly lower. At most universities, the final round starts sometime in January and ends in March.Between mid-January and July, however, there are still a number of non-final admissions rounds. See:
  • Prepare for interviews.
  • Confirm recommendations were sent.
  • Interview (at most schools – if you received an invitation).
  • Cross fingers.
  • Take a deep breath and check admissions decisions.
  • Decide where to study and notify school.
  • Submit scholarship applications (if relevant ones are offered).
  • Participate in a Welcome Weekend, if one is conducted on campus.
  • If necessary, apply for a student visa at the relevant embassy.
  • Arrange flight.
  • Research the best place to live and search for an apartment.
  • Celebrate your goodbyes.
  • Get ready for a once in a lifetime experience!